Saturday at the Florida Tournament is a very interesting time; especially if you are in contention for the Final.
You have your personal issues (I am red hot!, I suck!, Gotta have a good game here, we need to tighten up the D!) but mostly you get yourself ready to play the game. We have a tired Grass on the mound, and we need a fresh Ricky Bobby for tomorrow. We need Supe at short so Buck and Pickle will have Grass's back when he's done.
Grass made short work of the Stallions in the top of the first. The bottom of the first had a bizarre and troubling twist.
Papi walked on 4 pitches, none were close to the strike zone. Ricky Bobby swung at the first pitch he saw (we still love you Ricky Bobby) and grounded out. Ski K'd But the pitcher was looking mighty shaky. Pickle, Buck and Nails walked on 12 pitches, most of which bounced in. Ricky, who reached by forcing Papi was forced home for a run. The Stallions manager visited the mound. The manager made a pitching change, but there was something wrong with the pitcher. He went to the dugout, and sat very very still. We didn't know it yet, but he had a stroke, and later went to the hospital.
Grass is a popular teammate because he has big coconuts and is a great teammate, old-school style. Grass blew thru their lineup in 3 innings of perfect pitching while we built ba 4-0 lead. The Nor'easter 3rd was a typical inning for us, and like Ski said, this Nor'easter team had some 'special'. Ricky, Ski and Pickle opened the inning with singles, and after two FC's by Buck and Nails, "Mike" came thru with an absolutely humongous base knock, and the Nor'easters built a 4-0 lead after 3.
Grass was getting low on fuel and after striking out the leadoff batter, walked the next two guys an yielded a hit to their pain-in-the-ass cleanup hitter. Another K, a muff an a walk, the Rebels were back in the game after 4, down 4-2. And there it remained till the 7th.
Once again, Ski and Pickle, who would strike again in the deciding 8th, opened with base hits. Buck and Nails chipped in with get'em over get'em in FCs as the Nor'easters opened a 5-2 edge going into the bottom of the 7th. Grass was now out of fuel, and after an opening walk, the next 3 hitters stroked base hits. In an act of Managerial courage, Supe summoned Buck from the bullpen. Buck got the first batter to pop up to Pap at first, but was touched for a base hit by the next hitter and induced a pop up to second by the 2-hole hitter. After hitting and missing with 5 or so slutters to the 3-hole hitter, he walked. This umpire wanted nothing to do with marginal strike breaking balls. Buck got behind the 4-hole guy who was the most damaging batter their lineup, and came in with a fastball. He drilled it to left center for a double, knocking in runs 4 and 5 of the inning, with a trailing runner being thrown out on a nice relay from "Mike" to Supe to Nails. Meanwhile the Stallions move out to a 7-4 lead after 6 1/2.
Every big moment in this game where something great happened for the Nor'easters, Ski and Pickle were involved. They opened the 7th with base hits and were moved along with some small ball to tighten the game 7-5.
Buck shut the door on the Stallions in the 8th. In the bottom, Grass led off and lined out to left. Supe singled and was then forced at second; 2 outs. Ricky Bobby lined a clutch single and...Ski...launched a classic Ski bomb to right center plating Papi and Ricky Bobby, tying the game up. Are you kidding me!!!?! Then...Pickle...blasted another double scoring Ski for the lead. That's all the damage we could do, but we were 3-outs away from a big big win. Supe then made another move that took guts. He brought Pickel in to close the game. Like Buck, he didn't have a big "game on the line" resume.
Pickle would be facing the bottom of the order, then into the 4 guys who hurt us with their bats. Pic pumped a strike right in there to the first hitter and quickly got him on a Supe to Pap infield out. Pic walked the next guy; tying run on. Four pitches later we were heaing to the dugout to celebrate our 8-7 win as Pic K'd the next batter and got the 2-hole guy on a 6 unassisted.
This game had everything it you could ask for in a baseball game. If you play baseball, this is why you do.