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Juniors drop first game to late-rallying Twin Cities

By Coach Todd, 06/24/19, 8:30PM PDT


For five and one half innings, SF was in control. And then the home half of the 6th happened, and everything changed.

It was a beautiful evening for baseball, but lack of umpires forced the game to start about 10 minutes late. Eventually an umpire volunteer was solicited and they had to work solo behind the plate for the game.

City was the visiting team and had two on with one out after back to back walks to Miles Mac and Sumner. Unfortunately, we were unable to bring anybody in during our half of the first. In the bottom of the first, Jaheim got his first all star pitching experience going with three strikeouts.

SF started again with back to back walks to Miles H and Aidan M. After Beckett moved the runners over to 2nd & 3rd, Jaheim walked to load the bases. Miles Mac drilled a line drive to score two runs. After a Sumner walk, the bases were loaded for Santino who crushed a double - and flattened one side of the baseball (see photo below) -  scoring two more to make the game 4-0 City. We kept Twin Cities scoreless in their half of the second despite a walk and a single, with Sumner catching a pop fly for the third out.

In the top of the 3rd Beckett singled and made his way to second, where he got doubled off after Jaheim hit a lineout to center. Twin Cities had runners on 2nd & 3rd with two outs when their batter ripped a line drive down the left field line, to score two and make the game 4-2 after three innings. We definitely had a ballgame on our hands.

In our half of the 4th, Sumner singled with two outs, followed by a single by Santino, but Sumner took a long turn for third and got hung out, with Twin Cities successfully executing a rundown. Travis took the hill for City in the bottom of the 4th and held them scoreless with some defensive help from Miles Mac, who made two putouts in the inning. The 5th was also a quiet inning for both sides.

Aubrey started the top of the 6th with a single, advancing to second on a fielder's choice by Caiden. After Miles Mac walked, we had two on and one out. Sumner hit a liner to right field that looked like it might drop, but the fielder made the catch and got the ball to second to double off Aubrey to end the half inning.

Twin Cities started off their half of the 6th with back to back singles. The next batter flied out to center, but after the catch the umpire came onto the field and announced that he would be calling an illegal pitch on Travis, claiming that he did not come set with his hands together. It was a first for many of us to learn that a balk could be called after completion of a pitch and play. Unfortunately with no field umpire, there was nobody else to appeal to other than my gopro...guess we'll have to wait for instant replay reviews to come to Little League (please no!). With another chance to hit, the batter grounded to Miles Mac at third who fired to Aubrey at the plate, and a rundown was on. An overthrow at third base during the rundown allowed both runners to score, and we had a tie game 4-4. Two singles and a walk later Twin Cities had the lead 6-4, still with zero outs. Travis buckled down and got the next three batters on two strikeouts and a lineout to end the inning and send us up for our last chance.

Unfortunately, Twin Cities pitcher was up for the task, allowing a walk but striking out our final two batters to end the game. It was the type of result that makes a team feel like they got robbed by one bad umpire call, but this loss was not about that one call. We had our opportunities, running into a few outs on the bases, and leaving 9 runners on base. Our players' focus had been lost, then rocked with that strange sequence in the 6th, and we were unable to recover. We will choose to be a learner, not a loser from this experience and move on to our next game (Wednesday at Paul Goode) with a renewed sense of focus.

Jaheim making pitches

Miles Mac hunting barrels

This baseball used to be perfectly round, until it met Santino