The games are coming fast and furious now. Our opponents, Holy Name Carmody, turned out to have a large contingent of players from Holy Name Meehan, the longtime dynasty that we knocked out in the semifinals two years ago behind a 138-pitch masterpiece from Dylan. Dylan wasn’t available to start yesterday after having pitched the day before against 78 Miller, and Ben M missed the game entirely, so it was on Sam’s shoulders to start the game on the mound for the Legal Weed.
Sam got two quick groundouts that Taylor and Dylan fielded smoothly for putouts, bringing up the hulking #3 hitter Jack O. He cracked a long line drive to left-center, rounding second and heading for third — which turned out to be a bad idea, as Jordan N ran the ball down and hit cutoff man Dylan with his throw, then Dylan threw to Max at third, who made a nifty tag of the runner for the third out. (The runner also tagged Max’s knee and shin with his metal cleats; hope you’re feeling better today, Max.)
The Weed put baserunners on to start the bottom of the 1st, Jordan N drawing a four-pitch walk (I don’t keep stats for four-pitch walks, but this has to be at least his 5th or 6th) and Jordan G getting hit in the back (his fifth of the year in just 20 plate appearances). A grounder by Sam forced out Jordan N, but Max worked a walk off shaky Carmody starter Jack O to load the bases with one out. At that point, though, Jack O regained his command just enough to throw strikes, punching out the next two hitters to keep the game scoreless.
Sam got another groundout to open the top of the 2nd, and then the BABIP gods began to gain their vengeance: a bloop single to center, a grounder that just snuck through the left side of the infield, a grounder to first baseman Roan that no one was able to cover the bag on. Add in a couple of stolen bases and a throwing error, plus a line single to right with two outs, and we were down 3-0.
Dylan drew a walk to open the bottom of the second, then Yates cracked a line drive to left … straight at the left fielder. Two strikeouts later, it was the top of the 3rd, and the top of the Carmody order in the form of leadoff hitter Franky, who cracked an opposite-field homer over Ben C’s head in right to start off the inning. After that, Sam began equally missing bats and the strike zone (which was a bit of a moving target this game), mixing two Ks and three walks before getting a popup back to the mound to end the inning.
We needed to start hitting the ball to chip away at the 4-0 deficit, but though we did so, the ball kept ending up in someone’s glove: Jordan G hit a long flyout to right and Max hit a flyball that the shortstop was able to track down, and it was on to the 4th.
For the 4th, the Weed went to Jordan G to make his mound debut for this season, and he immediately got a groundball … which went for a fielding error, putting the leadoff runner on. A wild pitch and a balk sent the runner to third, but Jordan G wheeled and threw to Dylan at third to pick the runner off. And so the inning went from there, Jordan G walking a knife’s edge: strikeout looking, walk, walk, and finally a swinging strikeout to strand two runners and send it to the bottom half of the 4th.
Roan started things off with a looping liner over the shortstop’s head — which of course the shortstop was able to race back and barely pick off before it hit the ground. A walk and two outs later, it was back to the top of the inning.
Jordan G started off the 5th with a walk and a pitch that just clipped catcher Derek, putting two runners on for #5 hitter Andy, who worked the count full (I think? maybe 2-2) and then absolutely crushed a pitch to deepest center, circling the bases for a three-run homer and a 7-0 Carmody lead.
We needed to start getting some hits — any hits — to stage a comeback, and in the bottom of the 5th we finally did. Ben C led off with a walk, then Jordan N hit a slow roller to the right side that he was able to beat out when the second baseman couldn’t play it cleanly. Jordan G then pulled a single between third and short — our first hit ball that managed not to find a glove — to load the bases. Sam hit yet another at-‘em ball with a long drive that the left fielder tracked down for the first out. Up next was Max, who hit a hard smash to short that took a crazy bounce right over the shortstop’s head, as Ben C and Jordan N both scored. Roan followed that up with a no-doubt line single to center to score Jordan G, and we had pulled to within 7-3.
The top of the 6th may have been the craziest sequence of all: walk, pickoff by Jordan G, walk, throwing error on a pickoff throw and throwing error on the subsequent throw that allowed the runner to reach third, grounder to third that Dylan threw home to Max for the tag out at the plate, stolen base, wild pitch, walk, hit batter (poor Derek again) to load the bases, and finally a strikeout looking of Andy to end the inning with, somehow, no more runs allowed.
The Weed went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 6th (despite another hard-hit ball, this one by Jordan N, that went straight to the center fielder — the way our hitting went this game, you would have thought the outfield was wall-to-wall fielders), sending us to the top of the 7th. With the game within reach, we went to Saturday’s Game 2 starter Dylan for one inning of relief, and he turned in a 15-pitch, three-swinging-strikeout gem. We would have one last chance in the bottom of the 7th, and Sam led things off with a popup to the right side that the second baseman couldn’t corral, keeping his hitting streak alive at ten games. Two strikeouts later, Taylor pulled a line drive down the left field line for a double, scoring Sam and bringing up Dylan, with the tying run on deck. Dylan smoked a long fly ball to center — where, for some inexplicable reason, the Carmody center fielder was already standing, and he made the grab for the final out. HN Carmody 7, Legal Weed 4
We just ran into some bad luck in this one, mostly because our many hard-hit balls found gloves whereas two of our opponents’ went for homers that led to four runs, more than their margin of victory. We also had a pitching staff running on fumes after Saturday’s doubleheader, whereas Carmody’s was rested after their scheduled game immediately previous to ours was canceled (apparently Sam Miller forgot to put it on his calendar, and so had to cancel, leaving Jack O to face us). Hopefully we’ll have better luck next weekend, when we again have three games scheduled: Saturday at 2:45 pm on Field 7 vs 78 Lieber, and a doubleheader Sunday morning at 8:45 am and 10:45 am vs. SFX Wilson. Please keep in touch with me about player availability, especially for Saturday, when we have only eight sure attendees at present.