Game 12: Late season tryout

We didn't have it today. We got beat -- rocked, you might say -- fair and square. 16-3.

We were playing the top team in the league. They're 12-0, after all, and even if we had played as well today as we did last week, it would have been a monumental task for us to knock them off.

They put us down 3-0 in the first inning, and then scored eight runs in the third inning, with the help of a three-run home run, to make the score 11-0. Their hits and runs were more scattered in the remaining innings ... After the fourth inning, we pulled our starting pitcher and sort of threw in the towel, deciding instead to use the rest of the game to play with our defense.

That meant I got a turn on the mound. Yep, I was called on to pitch an inning in the sixth ... I hadn't pitched in a game situation in probably 15 years, but it's something I'd been itching to do the last couple years since I've started playing again. I was ready and willing; I knew the biggest hurdle was going to be actually getting out there and building my confidence back up ... And those of us who were called to pitch figured the blowout we were enduring was the best place to try it.

I felt good during my warm-ups and I was hitting the strike zone. Then it came time for the inning to start and our catcher met me on the mound. "What have you got for pitches? Fastball? Slow curve?" he asked.

"I got nothing," I answered. "It's going to be nothing but straight pitches and strikes. Hopefully the fielders are behind me." And that was that.

My first two pitches were called for balls, but I soon found a groove and got the first batter to shoot a fly ball straight up over the first base line. I called for it and made the catch for the first out ...After that, the inning was sort of a blur of me trying to limit the damage and hold my own. I walked a couple guys, our third baseman made an error on a routine ground ball and a couple batters got away with some bloop fly balls to center field. I think I gave up one or two runs ... I got out of it when a batter hit a slow roller toward the first base side, I came off the mound and tossed the ball to the first baseman for the third out.

After that, I was sent back to right field, where I'd been prior to my pitching stint, for the ensuing innings. Other players took their shots at pitching, and I took shortstop for the final inning.

Offensively, I guess I had a couple things I could be proud of today ... I was in the lead-off spot again, and worked a 3-2 count during my first at-bat before swinging and missing a letters-high pitch for strike three. ... In the fourth inning, I knocked in our first run with a sacrifice fly to right field ... In the seventh, I worked another 3-2 count and drew a walk, my first of the season (Good thing, usually my walk numbers are high. Lately, I've been scrutinizing why I had yet to get a walk this season ...). Then I took second on a passed ball, moved to third on a ground ball and scored our second run on a single ...

Our best effort just wasn't good enough today.

Last game of the regular season is next week. Playoffs start after that, and we're sitting as the fourth seed.

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