Well is a long three days of baseball but somehow I managed to stay healthy for a while. Thursday night was our last game of the season. Since we only lost the previous game we didn’t really have a lot of motivation to win this game, and since we had only eight players are game-play wasn’t all that good. In the end we lost by a few runs, but that didn’t matter much because we were guaranteed to be in first place for the season anyway.

Our first game of the playoffs started on Friday night, and this time we actually did have nine players, so who are able to field as much as we needed. Our game-play wasn’t all that great, I made a few mistakes in the field, and are batting was below what we’d normally expect from ourselves. In the end though we managed to win by about three runs, so we had a decent start in the round-robin portion of the playoffs.

Given that we were first in the league, we were placed in the best group in the round-robin portion of the playoffs. As far as I can tell the groups were placed as follows: (1, 6, 9, 12), (2, 5, 8, 11), (3, 4, 7, 10). It sounds as though our first game was played against the ninth placed team. Our next game was against the sixth placed team, at 9:30 in the morning the next day.

Saturday morning we all got there at around 9:15, or so. Thankfully, we had nine people show up, so started out well enough – at least we had enough people to play. In the end though or game-play was not that great. My hitting was so-so, the teams’ hitting in general was not that great. We got 22 runs in the end, but since  our defense wasn’t that great we let in about 25. None of us was very happy about how the game turned out, least of all how we played, but we still had a good chance to get into the playoffs, and our next game would be against the worst team in the league, so we weren’t about to count ourselves out just yet.

The next game is at 12 o’clock. At first we thought that we had to be within the top four, which meant  probably obtaining a wild-card spot, but then we found out that the top eight teams were going to move on, so we were pretty much guaranteed a spot. In the end, though, it didn’t matter much, because we roundly defeated our opponents by about 30 runs or so, putting us in fourth place after the round robin. all of the playoff games would be played in Bradford, rather than in our normal diamonds, so it would be a bit of a challenge to adjust, but we had a break until 3:30.

The quarterfinal game was played on a large baseball diamond that was 320 feet to the right field, and 350 feet to the midfield. That’s about 50 to 60 feet further than our diamonds. More importantly, the gravel portion of the infield was about 50 feet longer in both directions than they are in our softball diamonds. This isn’t a problem for general play, but when you use visual cues it can mess you up a bit. Given the size of the diamond, there was a lot of room to hit in, so the score was a bit higher than usual. All of the playoff games were played up to either nine innings, or one and a half hours, and after the end of the seventh inning they were debating whether they should play the next inning, or just call the game. We were up by eight runs at that point, and the mercy rule is eight runs, so the best the other team could do was tie it up and then wait and see whether we could get one more run or not. They decided to play the last inning anyway, but we ended it pretty quickly with three up and three down.

The semifinal game was played against my brother Matt’s team. We were pretty happy their bats were starting to get moving and we seemed to be getting better as the day progressed. Matt’s team was ranked first after round-robin play, so we knew we’d be in for a good game. It seemed pretty close until the seventh inning or so but then when we checked the score, we found that we were up by a bit. In the next couple of things we scored a few runs and didn’t let in much, so in the end, we won by ten runs. We were feeling pretty good about that, but we were also pretty tired. It would have been nice if we could have had a little break, then, but it was after 8:00 pm, so the final game started about ten minutes later.

Both of the remaining teams were a bit tired for the final, but both were still in decent enough shape to play. The final game would be played against us, and the team that beat us in the first round by three runs. It was time to see if we had lost to a team who was clearly better than us, or whether we had just had a bad game.

The game went back and fourth for the first five innings. They were up by a few, then we were, then they were. We were all playing fairly well, but clearly everyone was exhausted. I had joked a bit about Alana throwing a pack of graham crackers in my lunch the night before, but they came in handy. No one had eaten much during the day, and we were all losing energy, so when I cracked them open, everyone else wanted some, so we all had some, and it helped. After that inning, the other team fell apart, unable to maintain the energy required to hustle to the ball in the field, or even hit as hard as before. We mercied them for three innings in a row and held them to one or two runs total. In the eighth inning, we didn’t score any runs, but neither did they, so it was down to the bottom of the ninth with us up by around 20 runs. We ended up scoring another 5 or six runs at the top of the ninth, so we were up by a large margin for the bottom. The first two batters popped out, so it looked pretty good for us. Then they rallied a bit with three runs, but it wasn’t enough, as the next batter grounded out with a throw to first from the short-stop.

Handshakes all around both teams for a good game, and we were done. We didn’t get any trophies, but we did get a little certificate from the league for 50% off for next season (as we expected). We took a few team photos, and then most people left at around 10:00 at night. A couple of the guys and I went over to Shoeless Joe’s for a little bite to eat, since we were extremely hungry by then, and then left after eating a half an hour later. Down to bed, but no sleep until after 1:00 in the morning. I was exhausted, but my body had to clear out the adrenaline and slow down before it could fall asleep. Apparently my brothers couldn’t sleep until 1:00 either. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see someone hitting a ball towards me…

Yesterday I was in rough shape. My body had decided that it didn’t like playing baseball in the outfield for five straight games in twelve hours. Every muscle ached, and still aches today. I got about three hours sleep in the afternoon, and got enough sleep last night, but two days of pain is pretty normal after an intense workout, so I’m not too bothered by it right now.

I don’t know what our exact stats are for the season or the playoffs, but Doug will do all the calculations soon enough, so maybe I’ll post them when I get them. It was a fun season though, and we were happy that we pulled it back together for a strong finish after we had been slowly fading near the end of the regular season, and after the bad start to the round robin. That’s two years of winning it in a row for Doug as coach, and one for me. Until next year…