It was a beautiful morning, the pre-game warmups were crisp and the kids were eager to get this tournament underway. Perhaps too eager. A coin toss was used to determine which team would have home or away priveleges, BYC which actually lost the coin toss, chose to be the visitng team. It was the first sign that this was going to be an odd day. Brookline faced this same BYC team in the Diamond Classic and each side pounded the ball with 16 hits and 5 strikeouts for each team and increadible defensive play. So what transpired in this game was not expected.
When you hit agianst a pitching machine, you can take out a very important aspect of a baseball game, and that is “their pitcher was better than ours this day”. The playing field is level when using a pitching machine, there are no excuses when it comes to hitting the ball. On this day though, weather it was the early wake up call on a summer morning, the nerves, or perhaps the pitching machine…the result was 11 strikeouts and 11 hits for each side.
It was not until the top of the 3rd, that BYC was able to crack to scoreboard when they were able to string 3 singles together to push across 1 run. Brookline started off great in the bottom of the first with 3 straight singles, but two quick strikeouts and a ground out ended their threat. After that, it would not be until the 6th innning, that they were able to get more than 2 hits in any inning.
In the 5th, BYC heated up again and pushed across two more to make the score 3-0 heading into the bottom of the 5th, but Brookline was again unable to get anything going in their half of the inning. Brookline held the fort defensively in the top of the 6th, and they head into the final frame down 3-0. This was Brookline’s last chance to make a comeback, and after the way this game had unfolded, you could tell the kids were down and frustrated, and it would have been very easy on themselves for them to turtle and turn their attention on the next game.
They didn’t! They were all chanting and cheering and refused to go down without a fight…and they almost made and very improbable comeback…ALMOST! Colin Reynolds started it off (who didn’t seem to mind the pitching machine went 3-3) with a single. After another line drive catch by BYC’s first baseman, Will Shallow singled to left to make it first and second and one out. Tommy Caruso steps in and lines one back up the middle to get Brookline their first run, and it is now first and second, one out…down by 2! The kids were alive, the fans were alive, they were digging down deep and doing whatever they can! It was fun to be a part of.
After a force out at second, Brookline was down to their final out. And a play that 9 times out of 10 gets through…the BYC shortstop made an awesome defensive stop, composed himself and threw out the runner to put an end to Brookline’s comeback.
After a loss like this, it is a coaches toughest job…to talk to the team after the game. They were very down and dejected. All game long you can tell how frustrated they were getting and for this group to put together a comeback like that when they could have easily folded, is what they need to take out of this. These kids made their temmates, their families, their coaches, the whole Brookline organization, and most of all themselves very proud of their effort!