Our last of four matchups this year with Miller, our last night game of the season — and our last run-in with the Tuesday night frisbee players. Once they’d finished their practice in the outfield (plus several minutes of stretching that they could have done anywhere, but they wanted to milk every last second from their permit, apparently just to be annoying), we took the field at 6 pm sharp, anticipating a short game as we’d been told to expect the field lights to go out at 7:30.
Miller ace Silas was back on the mound, looking to replicate his 16-strikeout performance from a couple of weeks back. Jordan G led off for the Red Scare with a massive clout that the right fielder was able to run down for an out. An error and a pitch that Silas bounced off Yates’ left elbow put two runners on; cleanup hitter Max then hit a grounder to short that the Miller second baseman turned the pivot on, relaying to first for the double play just in time to get the out call from umpire John Ottavino. (From my vantage point in the first-base coaching box, it looked like he was safe by a foot or so.) Still, our hitters were making contact, which was a good sign against Silas.
Fortunately, Yates’ injured elbow was his left (non-pitching) one, because he was tabbed to start the game on the mound after Dylan and Ben M had both thrown on Sunday. In the bottom of the 1st, Miller’s leadoff hitter, Hugo, smacked a hard shot to left field, but Taylor ran it down and grabbed it for the out. Emmett then beat out an infield hit, stole second, and advanced to third when the throw went into the outfield; Jordan N’s throw to third might have been barely in time, but it skipped past Max. After a popup, lefty swinger Samuel lined a single to right, and Miller’s squad was up 1-0.
The Red Scare didn’t score in the top of the 2nd, as Shiloh’s walk provided out only baserunner amidst a trio of strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning, Yates struck out two of the first three hitters he faced but was undermined by some poor defense: a grounder that was misplayed and then thrown away, and finally a wild throw that Yates himself made on the erstwhile third out, allowing a run to score. Roan backpedaled to catch a popup for the third out, but we were now facing a two-run deficit.
The top of the 3rd began with Taylor getting plunked in the tuchus with a pitch, putting the leadoff runner on. Jordan N then followed with our first hit of the game — and his first hit in three weeks — pulling a hard grounder through the left side of the infield for a single. Jordan G next looped a single to left that the Miller fielder couldn’t corral, loading the bases with none out. That brought up Sam, who lined a pitch to left field for a single, both Taylor and Jordan N motoring home to tie the score at 2 apiece.
Silas, either rattled or tired or maybe both, next threw a pair of wild pitches; on the second one, Jordan G just barely slid in under the tag at the plate for the go-ahead run. (Miller’s side argued, but got nowhere with Ottavino. He was extra-salty this game, at one point telling a batter who complained about a strike on the inside corner, “It’s called a slider!”) Max then hit a grounder back to Silas, who threw home, catching Sam in a rundown, but the Miller third baseman flubbed a throw, and Sam scored as Max advanced to second. Silas then tried to pick Max off second, but threw wild, and the Miller center fielder let it skip past him as well, allowing Max to score our 5th run of the game.
Yates made quick work of Miller’s hitters in the bottom of the 3rd, getting a strikeout and three groundouts (one went for an error) and holding the score at 5-2. And then it was time for the bullpens: Samuel set down our hitters 1-2-3 in both the 4th and 5th (erasing Jordan N on a pickoff at second after a walk and stolen base), while Dylan entered the game in the 4th to close things out for the Red Scare and struck out five of six batters without allowing a baserunner.
On we went to the top of the 6th, which Yates led off with a single, Max following with a walk. Two strikeouts and a bizarre fielder’s choice where Max was called safe on obstruction by the Miller second baseman — the right call by Ottavino, but one I’ve seldom seen made in this league — brought Dylan to the plate as the clock hit 7:30… and nothing happened. I mean, Dylan batted (and struck out), so things happened. But the lights unexpectedly stayed on.
With a reprieve for our game to keep going, Dylan headed back out to the mound for the bottom of the 6th, and started to show some signs of fatigue, walking one batter and hitting another. He struck out the other three, though, sending us to the top of the really truly final inning, the 7th. Jordan N stepped to the plate, took a ball outside — and then the lights went off, at 7:45, and we had secured our second come-from-behind win of the season against Miller. Red Scare 5, Miller 2
This was a really satisfying game — great weather, great play and spirit by our team, great outcome — and made me all the more sad that we only have one game left before packing it up for the season. (At least it will be a short offseason — we should be right back out on the field in about four months, Covid positivity rates willing.) Our final game should be a doozy: a rematch against Shiffman this Sunday, 11/15, at 9 am. (I’ll be on Field 3 for practice starting at 8 am.) So far I think everyone will be there for our season finale; if anyone can’t make it, please let me know.