Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 USTSA World Series Day 6

Up early, the Outlaws played the second elimination game against the #1 seeded So Cal Cavs at 9 a.m. They had lost to the Cavs on Tuesday in the first game of the tournament.

Every once and while, the Outlaws play a game where absolutely nothing goes right. There are games when even the positives are quickly wiped away by a negative. This was one of those games. Fuel was poured on the fire by what I would characterize as poor quality umpires, including a home plate umpire with an inconsistent strike zone. It was the same home plate umpire that Jack got so flummoxed with on Friday.

After harping on the coaches about being positive, I had planned to bark at them when they started to spin up. Given the course of the game, I ended up just letting them go off.

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 1 with two walks. The top of the first inning highlighted the problems of the day. Cooper reached on an error. After Trevor struck out, Jeremy singled to right to score Cooper and draw first blood. With Jeremy on second, Jack walked on five pitches. Jeremy stole third. On the second pitch to Josh, the coaches called for a suicide squeeze. Josh missed the pitch completely and Jeremy was out in a run down for the second out. Jack advanced all the way to third on the play. Josh then struck out looking to end the inning.

In the top of the third with one out, Jeremy singled to drive in Cooper and Trevor and tie the score at 3 to 3. The Cavs pitcher who had not made a move to first in the first three innings caught Jeremy leaning the wrong way and picked Jeremy off for the second out as he stumbled and fell. Jack then hit a 1 and 2 pitch into the hole. The shortstop made a nice stop and a solid throw to first. Jack had been getting out of the box and up the line extremely well all tournament. Jack was called out at first and the coaches and parents erupted. I honestly can't remember as loud a negative reactive from the parents on a call at first base in three years. From my angle, he was clearly safe. It just seemed like the Outlaws couldn't catch a break.

In the top of the sixth with no outs, Jack walked on five pitches. Josh singled to move Jack to second. Breyton popped up for the first out. The shortstop snuck in behind Jack and he was picked off in a close play for the second out. Jordan walked to put runners at first and second. After struggling all tournament, Bailey crushed a 1 and 0 pitched into right center for a triple. Jordan hesitated coming around third and caught in a run down to end the game. The Outlaws should have scored two more runs and still only had one out...

To add insult to injury, the Outlaws gave up four unearned runs on errors by the shortstop and right fielder. Finally, it seemed like the home plate umpire's inconsistent strike zone burned Josh at the worst possible point in the game. The Outlaws lost the game by the score of 9 to 4 and were eliminated from the tournament. The box score is here.

In spite of the last game, I left feeling good about the week. The Outlaws won 3 games and lost 3 games. They made it into the AAA bracket rather falling into the AA bracket. They won their first elimination game in an epic game and made it to the final day of the tournament. Add to this the boys playing in the pool on Wednesday night and on the beach Friday afternoon, the team dinners on Thursday and Saturday nights and the Padre game on Friday night with Alan and Patty, it was a very enjoyable trip.

One side note, the So Cal Cavs lost their next game to the Cal Bears from Chula Vista. The Cal Bears were the eventual tournament winner on Sunday afternoon. Trevor's dad and I walked by the Cal Bears on Saturday. Brian started to talking to them. He thought that they were a 14U team; they were huge.

After Sunday's game came the hard part: the drive home. Leaving the hotel about 12:20 p.m., it took us 4 1/2 hours to get through Los Angeles to Newhall. Including a 20 minute slow down for construction on I-5, it was 9:00 p.m. before we reached Elk Grove. We called ahead and picked up some food at Original Pete's and crashed at home. It is going to be a long time before I sign up for a 1,000 mile drive through Southern California to San Diego and back.

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