August 21st, 2003

Enterprise Bridge

UG-LEE! (Williamsport Day 7)

US Semifinal #2, Saugus, MA (guest) vs. Richmond, TX (home). Going into the top of the 6th inning, Saugus has Richmond down 10-4. Three outs and this is over. Richmond's not hitting particularly well.

Until now. Six runs, tie game. Bottom of the sixth, all Saugus needs is a run, but strikes out three-up-and-down instead. Top of seven, Richmond nabs four runs, including a two-out two-run shot by Cody Robinson that lands 4/5ths of the way up the hill. (The last time anyone hit one that far was Kentucky's Aaron Arvey in last year's series.) Now Richmond's three outs away.

Yeah, it's not that quick this time either. The same pitcher that struck out the middle 3 of that lineup in order proceeds to walk two of the bottom 3 plus the top of the order. Richmond changes pitchers again. A single, one run (13-11 Richmond,) and a lazy fly-out later brings up Saugus pitcher and cleanup hitter Matthew Muldoon (12 years old, 6' 183 lbs.) I figure it's over. Muldoon singled in the first inning, then K'ed three times swinging at shitty pitches and looking on 3-2 when he should've been protecting the plate. He goes down 0-2 in the count in the seventh, and I know it's over.

Surprise, surprise, he remembers what that stick in his hands is for and hits a ground ball deep enough towards second base they can't get him, scoring a run. (13-12 Richmond, still two out.) The second baseman thinks he needs to keep the next runner from scoring, and throws the ball towards a spot a quarter of the way up the line from home to third.

Where nobody is standing. E4, Tie game.

The next hitter gets worked 3-2, takes a full swing, and just nicks the ball into play. It dribbles up the third base line, the third baseman doesn't waste the effort trying to tag the runner going home (who is coming from behind him, and if he misses the guy, he's fucked.) Instead, he tries to retire the batter, which would negate any runners that cross the plate. I thought the throw just got there, but the first base umpire was about a hundred and seventy feet closer than me and disagreed. The batter is safe, so is the runner, game over.

Ugly, ugly, ugly fucking ending. A few credited fielding errors, quite a few more mental errors, inconsistent play all around. But neither team gave up, and they sure as hell made the ending exciting. (Though, Saugus did too much whining for my tastes.)

Saugus plays East Boynton Beach on Saturday for the US championship. I don't really know who I like better out of that matchup either. Tomorrow's an off-day (schedule padding for rain,) so I gotta figure WTF to do in BFE central Pennsylvania for a day...