This year’s Moorfield tournament was a bit unusual. Two of our players were unable to make it, so we replaced them with a couple of other players. One of the two was our coach, who’s wife is due any day now. Looking at our schedule, it seemed that we might have a pretty quick day, depending on how well we did. Our first game was at 7:15, followed by 9:45, and then 12:15, so if we lost two of the three, we would be going home at around 1:00 or so. All of our games were in Moorfield (none of them was in Drayton this year).

Our first game was in the smaller diamond against a team that I don’t recall playing against before. Our hitting was on the mark, and so was our fielding. After five innings of play, we were up 18-1, so the game was called on the mercy rule, giving us our first win, and a +14 rating.

The second game didn’t end up being a mercy game, and probably would have been closer if it weren’t for what happened in the third inning. I was up to bat and attempted to hit the ball opposite-field (which would be right field for me). However, I didn’t get much on the ball and ended up hitting it near the top of the ball, creating quite a bit of spin and causing the ball to ground straight toward the pitcher. After hitting the ball, I knew I didn’t have much of a chance, but I booked it as fast as I could to first, on the off chance that the ball would be misplayed. Before I could get to first base, however, the umpire called time. At that point, I looked over toward the pitcher, who had keeled forward with his head in his hands. Everybody gathered around and all I could see was blood dripping liberally to the ground.

I was obviously quite concerned, but there wasn’t much I could do but stand by first base and hope he was alright. Apparently the ball skimmed along the ground with a lot of spin, then hit the pitcher’s rubber and deflected straight into the pitcher’s face. The pitcher was alright, but he had a decent-sized cut on his upper-right lip. He sat out the rest of the inning and came back to pitch the rest of the game. The next time I was up against him, he walked me. In the end, our team won the game with a +10, giving us two wins, and a +24 total.

I wanted to apologize when we shook hands at the end of the game, but the pitcher turned away, so I let him be for a while. I did talk to him after our third game though and apologized and let him know that I didn’t intend to hit the ball at him. He told me not to worry about it, since it’s just one of those things that can happen in baseball and said I had nothing to apologize for. Of course, even though that’s true, I still felt bad, since I was the one who hit the ball. Apparently he’s getting married in three weeks, so hopefully everything will heal up before then (lip injuries tend to heal pretty quickly, so it will probably be okay by then). It was good to be able to apologize to him, though, because otherwise I would have felt worse without having resolved the issue with him.

Our third game of the day didn’t go quite as well for our team in terms of our overall play than the first two. We kept the other team from mercying us (we made it to the final inning), but in the end we lost by more than 14 runs, so we ended up with two wins and a +10 rating. We could have done better, I’m sure, but we got frustrated (partly due to the fact that we had won the first two games handily) and we were unable to cope with the excellent pitching of the other team. If it weren’t for one inning which went pretty poorly (we let in nine runs), the game would have been more respectable, but as it stood, the game pretty much wiped out our first game’s achievements.

At this point, we weren’t sure whether we would make it to the quarter-finals or not. A +10 rating is decent for a second wild card spot, but it by no means allows you a lock on it. With the results on the board, we knew that we had a lock on our division (B) and on division D. The second-place team in division D also had a +10, but the tie breaker was the +/- without the division leader, which locked us as the winner for any tie on that count (+24 is the most you could have). We had to wait until the games for division C were done to know whether we had a good chance. That division saw three teams win two games, with a +27, +14, and +10 in the end. That meant that the +14 team (our other Holland Marsh team) had a lock on one of the two wild card spots, but still kept us ahead of the +10 team for the second spot. The only game left was the Smithville team, vs. some other team. Smithville had a +28 rating with 2 wins and the other had a +11 with two wins. A win by Smithville would guarantee us a spot in the next round. And Smithville didn’t disappoint, winning by a decent margin, and leaving the other team with a negligable +/-.

We were happy to play in the quarter-finals for the second time in three years. Once again, we had no difficulty in defeating the third-placed team, with a final score of 11-4. Our bats were moving again, and our fielding was good. The other Marsh team did not fair quite as well in the quarter-finals, losing to the best team in our division (the one we lost with a -14 to. Our semi-final game was to be against the top team – Smithville.

Smithville came out pounding the runs in during the third and fourth innings, but we kept them to a managable run count for the rest of the game. After falling significantly behind, we managed to pick it up in the final three innings to bring the game to a not-so-embarassing 25-13 final. It was good to see that we didn’t fall apart this time, like we did two years ago, and in our third game. We had fun and felt good about the game in the end, and were happy to congratulate Smithville after the game for their excellent play. We managed to tie our best-ever tournament record and return home to finally get some sleep at midnight after having dinner with the team at East Side Mario’s in Orangeville.

Epilogue: On Sunday morning I woke up and discovered that Alana had to bring Niamh to the hospital when I was in Moorfield. William had recieved a 7-iron golf club for his birthday from his uncle Greg. Niamh was a bit too interested in what William was doing when he swung the club, and ended up in its path. She had to get three stiches in her forehead due to the gash from the club head. Niamh didn’t cry when she got the stiches, but William felt horrible about it. At another time I might have reacted more harshly to William about it, but after having hit the ball that smacked the pitcher in the face it was hard not to feel sympathy for him instead. I told him what happened to me the same day, and let him know that he shouldn’t feel too bad about it, since it was an accident, and just to be more careful when she is around. She’s doing fine, we’ll just have to follow these instructions to help her heal well…