Having entered the (for me) uncharted waters of winning a game on Tuesday, we kept on plunging forward by embarking on a winning streak - the Twins defeated the Marlins 9-2 last night for the second straight victory and a 2-1 record overall. Even better, Tiffany was there to see it, so now she's experienced the thrill of victory with me. The Twins get a rematch against the Cardinals tomorrow, who beat them easily on Opening Day. They'll have to take them on without me, though, as Tiffany and I will be attending an orientation at the hospital where the baby will be born.
The old saw about pitching being some monumentally large portion of winning baseball is fairly accurate in Little League, especially in a division like ours, where the kids are pitching for the first time. Despite scoring 18 runs in the last two games, we really haven't hit the ball all that much. A lot of our rallies have been based on walks and wild pitches. Conversely, our hurlers have been outstanding this week, with far more strikeouts than walks and good control overall that's kept the opponents' running game in check.
The new field itself is a factor in all this. Our practice field, which is where the games were played last year, had no outfield fences and a backstop that was very close to home plate. The new field has real fences (170 feet down the lines on our field, 175 to dead center) and a much more distant backstop. No one has hit a home run yet, but several balls that were hit between or over the outfield that would have been home runs last year wound up as triples because the fence enabled the defense to get to them in time. Sinilarly, quite a few runners have scored from third on wild pitches where last year they probably wouldn't have tried.
Last night's game could have been even less close, as we had one runner thrown out at home after a wild pitch (I thought he was safe, but it was very close) and another called out due to obstruction, as the batter failed to get out of the batter's box while the catcher was retrieving the ball and throwing it to the pitcher. Actually, as there were two outs in the inning, the umpire correctly ruled that the batter, not the runner, was out. This had no practical effect, since it was what turned out to be our last at-bat, but it gave me confidence in the umpire's abilities. One of the underappreciated pleasures of Little League is the opportunity to visit some of the more obscure areas of the rule book.
We turned another double play, this one to end the game, last night. With a runner on second, the batter hit a soft line drive that was caught by the pitcher. The runner, who clearly didn't fully understand the rule about tagging up, was going on contact and steamed into third while our pitcher tossed the ball to the second baseman for the last out. Overall, our defense was as good this game as the last one, which also helped us a lot.
Two in a row! Break up the Twins!Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 16, 2004 to Just call me Coach | TrackBack