Game 15: Legal Weed 13, 78 France 2

Yes, we were supposed to have two games today, but the storms on Thursday and Friday had left the fields “a disaster,” according to another coach who saw them, so anyone who could help was asked to show up as early as possible to rake and shovel. For me “as early as possible” turned out to be about 7:15 am, pulling up by the park just as my phone buzzed with a text from 78’s Adam Fisher: Both morning games were canceled.

Since Jordan N and I were already at the park, we figured we would go check out the field, just to see how bad it was. It was bad:

However, Ryan’s dad Bruce Williams, who had a game on Field 3 later in the day, was busy raking. And both he and his opponent Kathryn Krase said they thought we could get the field in shape in time for our 10:45 am game. I called Adam back, he said if we could make the fields playable he would get us umpires, and we set to work.

I will skip the description of the next three hours, because play-by-play of raking and spreading Diamond Dust and more raking would be stultifyingly boring. Suffice to say that by 10:45, thanks to parents and players and some heroic Parks workers with tractors, Field 3 was almost dry, and we had first pitch for a single game against 78 France.

Dylan was on the mound for the Legal Weed, and was dealing from the start, striking out the side in the first inning, all looking. He set France down 1-2-3 in the 2nd as well — with the help of Ryan, who ran down a long flyball to center, and Taylor, who coolly collected a popup to short — and then struck out the side again in the 3rd, this time all swinging, for variety’s sake.

On the batting side, we picked up a run in the first after Jordan N worked a walk, stole second, and raced to third when the throw from the catcher got loose in the outfield; Jordan G was, incredibly, hit by yet another pitch (his ninth in nine games this year); and Max hit an RBI groundout. In the second, Yates picked up our first hit, a one-out rocket to left — then got to first and immediately leaped five feet back when he saw the enormous carpenter bee that had decided to take up permanent residence on the back of the France first baseman’s right shoulder. (France’s team wears yellow uniforms, going by the Pineapples. Note to Adam Fisher: Maybe pick uniform colors that don’t look like flowers to bees.) Dylan was hit by a pitch, then after a second out, Ryan worked a walk to load the bases, then Jordan N worked his second walk of the game to make it 2-0.

Our picket fence of scoring — 1 1 1 — continued in the 3rd, as Max dropped a looper into center field for a one-out single, Ben M pulled a liner to left for another single, and Yates looped another ball to shallow center to load the bases. Dylan grounded back to the mound, Pineapples pitcher Haig throwing home to force Max for the second out. But Shiloh worked a walk, driving in another run for a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the 4th, France finally got their first baserunner when #10 hitter (and player/manager) Jed led off with a grounder to second that Shiloh couldn’t handle. After Jed moved to second on a grounder back to the mound, #2 hitter Max dinked a single in front of Yates in right field, though Jed stayed put at second thinking the ball might be caught. (Nice Lou Piniella move by Yates.) The next batter hit a slow grounder to Taylor at short: everyone safe. Dylan struck out the next better for the second out, then got a groundball right to Taylor at short — until the ball hit a clump of dirt (maybe left over from all our pregame groundskeeping work) and bounced well over her head for a single. Jordan N raced over from left to collect the ball and fired it home, though too late to get the runner from second; catcher Jordan G grabbed the throw and fired immediately to Max at third, who tagged the runner out — no, not out, as the runner slashed Max’s leg with his spikes and the ball came loose. (Max getting spiked is almost as much a theme of this season as Jordan G getting hit by pitches.) Dylan sent the next batter down looking, but our lead was now down to a mere 3-2.

But not for long. Pineapples reliever Julian replaced starter Haig and immediately issued six straight walks, followed by a single through the left side by Dylan. Julian was then replaced by Will, who walked Shiloh to force in another run, then gave up a looping single to Ryan. Jordan N then crushed a line single to center, driving in two runs, and advancing to second on the throw home; and Jordan G smacked a double to right-center, driving in two more. Taylor finished off the scoring with an RBI groundout, and we were now up 13-2, with only enough time for France to make one last attempt to catch up.

It will come as no spoiler to learn that they did not. With Yates now behind the plate — giving him playing time at every position on the field this year, our own Bert Campaneris — Dylan struck out the first two hitters, then went to his submarine delivery to get the final out. He got a grounder to the left side, where Jordan G, displaced to shortstop for the inning, grabbed it and made a perfect throw to Ben M at first for the final out. Legal Weed 13, 78 France 2

That was a really fun game, and made all the work it took to make it happen worthwhile. We finish the season 9-5-1, which depending on what happens with other teams this weekend should get us either the 3rd or 4th seed in the postseason tournament: If the 4th, we would play our first playoff game next Saturday at 12:50 pm, while if the 3rd we would play it at 10:40 am. We won’t know for sure until Monday night; I will alert everyone as soon as I get the final word.

For now, let’s celebrate a terrific regular season, one where we took several steps forward from our terrific season in the fall. (Stats for both seasons, and prior ones as well, have been updated at Enjoy the week off, and see you all next Saturday, time TBD.