I haven’t kvetched about coaching T-ball (that really should be “tee-ball”, but…) as much in the blog as I have in person. (What do you know? “Kvetched” passes the spellchecker. But “spellchecker” doesn’t.)
My team officially finished with two wins on the year, but all four teams make the playoffs, which run in double-elimination format.
Our first playoff game saw us facing the first-place As, who were missing some of their better players. Our boys (we have all boys) played well, and we pulled off an upset 21-15.
(In T-ball, each inning is once through the line-up. If one team has fewer players, some of the kids bat twice to make an equal number of at-bats for each team. In the last at-bat of an inning, the kids keep running until they score or are out at home. The last batter is the only real clean-up hitter and each out you make prevents a run.)
While the As did play short-handed, we played well to limit them to 15 runs in four innings (36 batters total). Two kids in particular have improved immensely. Denis is so good with he glove now, he plays shortstop despite throwing left-handed. Michail was always fast, but now he can catch pop flies and even sorta, kinda throw. He’s our centerfielder. Those two couldn’t touch a ball two months ago.
After that first playoff game, we lost unquestionably our best player and first baseman (because he was one of the few kids who could catch a ball) because he left town. Another kid who was close to if not our second-best player also left town.
The third-place Orioles won their first playoff game against the second-place Pirates by forfeit. They won only three games in the season, and we’d beaten them twice. Unfortunately, we turned in a lousy effort, falling behind 30-18 in three and a quarter innings (the ump called the game).
That meant we had to face the Pirates, who most of the league’s coaches felt was the most talented team. They had six all-stars; we had two, and both were missing.
Many weekend plans changed as our kids played their most fundamentally sound game of the year. In one inning, they allowed only two runs(!) as we took it 22-18. It sure helped that the Pirates’ last hitter dribbled out to the pitcher three out of four at-bats, leaving six men on base, nine including himself. The score is closer than the game was – the Pirates started batting in the bottom of the last inning down by 11 runs with ten players, meaning that we had already sealed the victory.
So now we play Saturday against the Orioles in the championship. In the double-elimination format, we need to win two games in a row to take the crown. Wish us luck.
Bonus morning musing:
Instead of calling the hobby “amateur photography”, they should call it “shutterbuggery”.