The Angels played the third game of the Laguna Youth Baseball Major Tournament of Champions. They played the Blue Jays. The Angels had beaten the Blue Jays by the score of 9 to 2 on May 8 and lost to them by the score of 9 to 8 in seven innings in the last regular season game on May 26. As I have noted before, there are lots and lots of connections between the coaches and players on these two teams; it makes the game an interesting dance.
In the field, Jack played five innings at third base. He made a number of very nice plays. In the top of the first, the Angels scored two runs on two hits and an error. In the bottom of the first, the lead off batter Cooper hit a hard one hopper to Jack's left. Jack initially caught it, but it popped out of his glove. When Jack bobbled the ball, I was sure that Cooper was going to be safe. Cooper is the fastest player on the Outlaws and was batting from the left side of the plate. Jack maintained his composure, regained control of the ball and threw a strike to get Cooper at first. I believe that play was significant to the game. I honestly believe that if Cooper gets on base with no outs that he ends up scoring. Additionally, I think that Niko [the Angel's pitcher] gets a little rattled by the play and having to work to hold Cooper. Potentially, the game plays out much different if Jack does not make that play. When Cooper walked to lead off the fourth, he scored the Blue Jay's only run.
Jack has also figured out in the last part of the rec season that as he has gotten bigger he can range farther to his left at third base than he thought. He has started to go aggressively after grounders hit between third base and shortstop. In the fifth inning, he ranged far to his left and fielded two infield grounders and threw strikes to first for the out.
There are probably a number of contributing factors, but this was Jack's worst game of the year at the plate. He struck out on three pitches from Josh in his first at-bat. Jack ran the count to 3 and 2 in this second at-bat. He was stealing the pitching signs from Scott [the other team's coach] and forced them to change signs. He eventually struck out on a pitch that looked like ball four from Josh. Josh struck out 7 batters over the first four innings. In his last at-bat against Jordan, he hit a rocket right at Josh at third for the out.
Leading 2 to 1 in the top of the fifth, the Angels finally got to Josh; Josh ended up throwing 99 pitches. After a single and a fielder's choice scored one run, two walks loaded the bases. The Angels 12th hitter then blooped one into right center for two RBIs. Niko followed with his second triple of the year driving in two more runs.
The Angels won the game by the score of 7 to 1. The box score is here and the game log is here.
By the end of the day on Saturday, there were only four teams left in the Major Tournament of Champions: the Angels, Marlins, Giants and D-Backs. The Angels will play the Marlins on Monday night, while the Giants will play the D-Backs. Given the Angels have not lost a game yet and the tournament is double elimination, they will play at least two more games in the coming week. There is a scenario that the Angels could end up playing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night!
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