Game 15: Green Blueberries 13, SFX Mezzo-Lui 9

I didn’t forget the recap of last night’s game, which was a wild one:

Eleven batters into the rubber match of our three-game regular-season series vs. SFX Mezzo-Lui, the game seemed to be over before it had started: The Mets led the Green Blueberries 8-0, thanks to three walks, two hit batters, an error on a ball that our center fielder lost in the setting sun, and a pair of two-RBI line drive hits. We got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Marco was hit by a pitch, Luke reached on a 50-foot grounder that the Mets pitcher failed to pick up off the ground, and Isaac scored Marco on an infield single, but that still left a seven-run deficit to make up.

Luke, working in relief of Yates, turned in a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 2nd, and our bats went to work in the bottom of the frame. Jordan N started things off with a line shot over the third-base bag, stretching it to a double when he noticed that second base had been left unguarded. (The Mets were playing with only eight players, which they managed via the unconventional tactic of playing three outfielders but leaving the second base spot empty against righties.) After Emmett drew a walk, Jeremy pasted a drive to deep left field for his second triple of the season, driving in two runs; moments later, Marco hit the ball to almost the exact same spot, but the Mets left fielder was playing deep by now, so it ended up a sacrifice fly to make the score 8-4.

At about this point, Luke told me in the dugout, “My arm’s sore, but I can go one more inning,” and I replied, “Okay, see how it feels,” thus proving that even after watching Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, I still haven’t learned my lesson that it’s better to pull a pitcher too soon than too late. A single and three walks followed, at which point I called in Nathan from out of the bullpen.

And yet, the Mets only ended up with one run in the inning, thanks almost single-handedly to Marco, who was making his Green Blueberries debut behind the plate. The three outs we turned that inning: 1) Leadoff runner caught stealing third on a perfect peg from Marco to third baseman Emmett; 2) runner nailed at home by perfect tag by Marco after shortstop Jeremy threw home on a grounder with runners on second and third; 3) runner picked off third on another perfect peg from Marco to Emmett. Easy-peasey.

The bottom of the 3rd began with Isaac hitting another tough-luck flyout to that deep-positioned Mets left fielder, but then Mets starter Liam began to tire, walking Nathan, Yates, and Ben R in quick succession. Reliever Jamil entered the game, and Roan met him with a ringing two-run single to right. Jordan N then smacked a grounder to third that he hustled down the line to just beat out, and Emmett followed with a grounder through the middle to re-load the bases. A walk to Jeremy and another plunking of Marco tied things up, then Luke promptly untied things with a looping single to left that the hardworking Mets left fielder couldn’t quite track down. Marco raced home from third when a throw by the Mets catcher back to the mound went awry, and though Isaac’s line shot up the middle was snared by the Mets shortstop for a tough-luck double play — if the defense had had eight fielders the shortstop never would have been playing in that position — the Berries now enjoyed a 12-9 lead.

That was all we would need, as Nathan, holding on to his 0.00 ERA on the season, worked around an infield error, a hit batsman, and a walk to hold the Mets scoreless in the top of the 4th, and when we sent six batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning (scoring one on an RBI single by Yates following a single and stolen base by Nathan), it was too late to complete another inning, so the umps said to line it up. 78 deMause 13, SFX Mezzo-Lui 9

This was a really fun, satisfying game, as despite the awful start — mostly due to the sun, which made it impossible for either starting pitcher Yates or our fielders to see much of anything — our team was never shaken, and worked to claw back one run at a time until breaking things open in the third inning. I’d noted before the game that all the teams in the league are talented this year, and that games were being won by whichever team made the fewest mistakes; and this one proved it, as we made a relatively scant three fielding errors (one due to the sun) and didn’t make any outs on the basepaths, while our opponents ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the third. We are currently both the only team in the league to beat HN Meehan and the only one to lose to 78 Lieber, which just goes to show that anyone can win any game in baseball, especially this season, and bodes well for our tournament chances if we keep playing with confidence and joy like we have the last two games.

Our next game is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6 pm vs. 78 Lieber. I currently have nine players (Ben M, Dylan, Isaac, Jeremy, Jordan N, Luke, Nathan, Roan, Yates) down as being able to make it; please confirm with me in the next 24 hours so I know whether to ask Emmett to join us as well. This will be our final low-stakes game and final tuneup for the tournament that starts Saturday evening, so let’s make it a fun one.