This morning didn’t really feel like Opening Day: It wasn’t snowing, or even raining, and it wasn’t so cold and windy that you couldn’t feel your fingers. Instead it was a beautiful day for baseball, which meant our as-yet-unnamed green team was all set to play its twin bill against Holy Name Meehan, the team that knocked us out of the playoffs the last time we faced them two years ago, and which according to legend has won its division tournament every year it’s been in the league.
Game 1 started with new acquisition Dylan on the mound, and he picked up two quick outs on a flyout to Nathan in center and a grounder to Roan at first. An infield error followed, though, and the next Meehan batter, Henry, clubbed a hit deep to right field that went for a two-run homer. Dylan got the next batter swinging, but our side went up to the plate for the first time this year with a 2-0 deficit.
We got one run back when leadoff hitter Jeremy walked, stole second and third, and scored on an overthrow by the catcher, but despite picking up a hit by pitch and another walk as well, we didn’t score again in the frame. Dylan was bit by an error and a line drive the next inning as well — this time an Adrian double to right, followed by another infield error — then a hit batsman to load the bases. He got the next batter looking for the first out, then induced a groundball to second, where it was again misplayed, allowing one run to score. Another run scored on a wild pitch — starting catcher Jordan N had jammed his thumb in the first inning, forcing Yates to hurriedly don the catcher’s gear, including our only available glove, which I believe was a Fisher-Price My First Catcher’s Mitt — but Dylan fanned the top two batters of the Meehan order to hold the score at 4-1.
In the bottom of the 2nd our bats came alive, though first it was our eyes: Dylan, Ganden, Jordan N, and Jeremy all worked walks to open the inning. We needed a big hit next, and we got two of them: a double to left by Nathan to plate two runs (Jordan N right on the heels of Ganden), and a single to left by Isaac to drive home two more, for a 6-4 lead.
Meehan got one back in the top of the 3rd when leadoff hitter Brian reached on a dropped third strike, then replicated Jeremy’s feat from the first by stealing second and third and scoring on an overthrow. Another double down the right field line by Adrian tied things up, before a groundout to second baseman Ganden and a flyball corralled by left fielder Jeremy finished off the inning.
Ganden, Jordan N, and Jeremy all walked for the second straight inning to start things off in the bottom of the third, and Nathan smacked a grounder to second that pushed home the go-ahead run. That was all we’d get, though, as a pop fly back to the mound and a swinging strikeout ended the nascent rally.
Needing to hold a one-run lead, we turned the game over to last year’s ace, Isaac, who was victimized by poor control and poor fielding decisions: three walks, two grounders where the infielders threw fruitlessly home instead of to first for the easy out, and yet another infield error, and Meehan had a 10-7 lead. The Greens loaded the bases in the bottom of the 4th with two outs, but couldn’t push a run across, and with the time limit coming up, there was no time for a 5th inning. HN Meehan 10, 78 deMause 7
Game 2 saw Meehan hurler Tom set our side down in order in the top of the 1st, despite hard-hit balls by Jordan N and Nathan that ended up in the gloves of the Meehan shortstop and centerfielder, respectively. Isaac returned to the mound to start Game 2, and got two quick outs, but Brian smacked a single up the middle, and cleanup hitter Henry clubbed a ball to deep left-center for a run-scoring double — then tried to stretch it to three, where he was cut down by center fielder Jordan N’s throw to relay man Nathan, who hit third baseman Dylan to make the tag for the third out.
The top of the 2nd started auspiciously for the Greens, as Luke (who’d missed the first game but arrived in time for the second) led off with a line-drive single to center, and Jeremy followed with a one-out walk. Roan then hit a hard groundball to the Meehan third baseman, who bobbled it — only to have base ump (and head league umpire) Joe Maldonado call Luke out for obstructing the play. (Which he did do, but it was still a tough call.) Dylan singled in Jeremy to tie the score, but that was all, in what had seemed like it was shaping up to be a big inning.
Meehan picked up another run in the bottom of the inning on a walk, two stolen bases, and an RBI grounder, and two more the next inning off reliever Ganden on a flurry of singles and another RBI grounder from the middle of their order. Meanwhile, our side was mostly going down on strikes — five strikeouts in the 3rd and 4th combined, four of them of the called variety, most of those on pitches that would be generously described as on the outside corner. (They would less generously be described as “in Coney Island.”) Ganden used that same wide strike zone to work a 1-2-3 4th, striking out two, sending the game to the top of the 4th with Meehan up 4-1.
The top of the 4th started auspiciously again, as Roan reached on a fielding error and Dylan followed with a mighty clout to right that went for a double, putting two runners in scoring position. After Ganden walked to load the bases, Jordan N smacked a long fly to left that was deep enough to score Ganden — and deep enough that Dylan tried advancing to third on the throw home. It didn’t work: The Meehan catcher took the throw and pegged it down to third, where the slow-moving Dylan was tagged for the second out. A popup later, and another chance at a big inning was by the boards.
Ganden gave up one more run in the 5th to make it 5-2, we got one back on a couple of third-base errors sandwiched around another Luke single, and then … well, the bottom of the 5th started off with a triple to right, and went downhill from there. Several runs later, the time limit was hit, and Meehan had taken both halves of the doubleheader. HN Meehan 11, 78 deMause 3
Losing two games in one day was a frustrating start to the season, as was our shaky fielding and our failure to capitalize on several chances for rallies. But there were definitely bright spots: All three of our pitchers (Dylan, Isaac, and Ganden) looked sharp, we made several excellent defensive plays, and our offense was both patient and dangerous despite being missing Ben M (out with an ankle injury), Jordan G, and Ben R, as well as Luke for the first game. We’ll try to turn in a more consistent performance next Sunday at 9:30 am at Parade Grounds, where we’ll take on the combined 78 Lieber/Hartman club. Be there by 8:30 am if you want some early batting practice!