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Nearing the halfway point

We are now five games into our 12-game schedule, and we are still looking for our first win. I think this is going to be harder on me than it will on the kids, who seem for the most part to be having fun. According to my assistant coach, we lost a game while I was in California that we should have won. We blew a large lead, and one of the opponents actually hit a ball over the fence to help his team win. The good news is that the kids weren’t crushed by this – they had played well and accepted the coach’s words of encouragement.

If anyone took that loss hard, it was one of the team moms, who has helped out in the dugout by keeping track of whose turn it is to bat. Unfortunately, late in the game the batter who made the last out in the previous inning led off. The error was discovered during that at-bat with the count one ball and two strikes, at which time the umpire ruled Batter 1 out. Batter 2 was then told to take his place, inheriting the count of 1-2. He struck out on the next pitch. Team Mom was pretty upset about this, but we’ve assured her that these things happen, and I think she’s feeling better now.

I should note that I was pretty sure when I heard this from my assistant coach that the ruling was incorrect, and having looked it up, I’m quite certain of it:


(a) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place. (1) The proper batter may take his place in the batter’s box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter’s time at bat.


To illustrate various situations arising from batting out of turn, assume a first inning batting order as follows: Abel Baker Charles Daniel Edward Frank George Hooker Irwin.
PLAY (1). Baker bats. With the count 2 balls and 1 strike, (a) the offensive team discovers the error or (b) the defensive team appeals. RULING: In either case, Abel replaces Baker, with the count on him 2 balls and 1 strike.

So, we had one fewer out that inning than we should have, and this helped keep enough time on the clock for one more inning to be played. What rotten luck. Too late to do anything about it now, too.

Everyone was glad to see me at Friday’s game, my first game back. We had a bigger than usual crowd among the players’ families as well. Alas, we didn’t play our best game. The pitching was off, the defense was off, and we couldn’t buy a run until late in the game. Our batters are still too tentative at the plate. They are good at laying off bad pitches and drawing walks, but we’ve been called out on strikes on hittable pitches too many times. I’ve pulled guys aside when this happens to talk to them about it, but it’s still sinking in.

Once again, we got the short end of a bad umpire’s ruling. With the bases loaded and one out, our batter struck out and the catcher failed to hold strike three. The runners danced off the bases, everybody started yelling, and the next thing you knew, the batter was running to first even though he was automatically out (since first base was occupied with less than two outs). The catcher threw the ball anyway, and it got away from the first baseman as two runners scored. The umpire then announced that the batter was out (correct) and all runners had to return to their bases (incorrect, since league rules say they can advance at their jeopardy once the ball passes the batter). We argued to no avail, but at least this time the league president was there and he had some words for the ump after the inning. It didn’t affect the outcome, but it was still annoying.

Next game is tonight. We’ll see how it goes.

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