Games 9 and 10: 78 Lieber 12, Green Blueberries 8 and 78 Steckel 15, Green Blueberries 7

First the good news: We have another (provisional) team name! We are, for the moment, the Green Blueberries, by the acclaim of at least more players and coaches than have agreed on anything else to date.

And now, to the recaps:
Ganden started game one of our doubleheader, facing 78 Lieber, and it was remarkably similar to the start of Saturday’s game one, this time with five runs crossing the plate in a single frame. Aside from a mammoth triple by Lieber #2 hitter Jason (who hadn’t been at Saturday’s game) and a pair of bloop singles, most of the damage was done by three infield errors, continuing the Green Blueberries’ trend of yielding big innings with the help of defensive miscues.
We got two back in the bottom of the 1st, as a leadoff walk by Ben R was followed by three straight singles off the bats of Ben M, Nathan, and Luke, but Lieber hurler Jason worked out of the jam from there. Ganden kept Lieber off the scoreboard for the next two innings despite two more infield errors, with the help of a phenomenal play in center field by Jordan G, who made a diving, sliding catch of a flyball in the left-center gap, then got up and whipped the ball to Jeremy at second base to double off the Lieber runner there. Meanwhile, the Green Blueberries clawed back to within a run on an RBI single by Ben M in the 2nd and an opposite-field RBI double to deep left by Roan in the 3rd.
The score didn’t stay that close for long. Ganden ran out of steam in the top of the 4th, departing after two walks and an RBI single in favor of Saturday’s relief hero Nathan, who walked the next batter to load the bases, induced a grounder back to the mound that let him throw home to Emmett to force the runner there, then — stop me if you’ve heard this one — got a groundball on which we committed an infield error. By the end of the top of the 4th, four runs had scored on only one hit, and the deficit was 9-4 again.
We got two runs back in the bottom of the inning on a bases loaded two-run single by Luke, though it could have been more if Ben R hadn’t been thrown out trying to steal third at the start of the rally. We gave three back in the 5th, all unearned thanks to — say it with me — a pair of infield errors. The Green-Berries rallied again in the bottom of the 5th, but scored only twice before Ben R was cut down at the plate on an incredible throw by Lieber left fielder Jesse to end the game. 78 Lieber 12, 78 deMause 8
The second game … after two innings, Green Blueberries starting pitcher Dylan had given up eight runs — on two hits. If you’re guessing that infield errors played a role here, you’ve caught on quickly: We committed five (three throwing, two fielding) in the first two innings, plus two throwing errors by our catcher, leading to seven unearned runs. Dylan made it through one more inning, giving up another unearned run on two more infield errors while creating all three outs himself (one strikeout, one line drive back to the mound that he snared, and one groundout back to the mound). Jordan G took over from there, and was victimized by walks (eight in two innings), yielding six more runs.
Even against Shiffman’s pitching, though, our hitters still kept on hitting. Ben M, after having his record of reaching base in consecutive plate appearances snapped at 16 when he grounded out to first on a check swing in the 1st inning, pounded RBI doubles in his next two at-bats. Yates, Luke and Dylan all crushed long doubles as well, Dylan’s a bases-loaded three-run shot in the 5th that brought us to within 15-7. That was as close as we would get, though, as we ended up losing both games of our two-team doubleheader. 78 Steckel 15, 78 deMause 7
Our two-game totals on the day: 15 hits (against our opponents’ 13), 15 runs (against our opponents’ 27), 16 unearned runs allowed, and 17 errors (six on muffed grounders by infielders, five on throws by infielders, two on dropped throws by infielders, two on throws by catchers, and one each on a dropped popup by an infielder and a single that skipped past an outfielder to let the batter reach third), plus two baserunners thrown out stealing third in situations where advancing to third wouldn’t have helped much, but making an out hurt a whole lot. This was our team’s worst defensive performances of the year — and it wasn’t particularly close, which may have had something to do with having to play four games in two days. But coupled with continued decent pitching and well-better-than-decent hitting, it marks a clear trend: When we mostly make the simple plays in the field and keep from making outs on the basepaths, we win; when we don’t, we don’t.
Our first opportunity to right the ship will be tomorrow (Monday) night at 6 pm vs. 78 Steckel. Let’s all come ready to try to play not mistake-free baseball because that’s nearly impossible, but baseball where we at least give ourselves the best possible chance to win. Go Green Blueberries!