Well it’s been a while since I updated this,and for good reason. The HSL did not end well for me. Snowed out games andhorrific stomach bugs led to some serious frustration at the lack of baseball Iwas playing.
However, opening day finally arrived andwith it the chance to, not only play baseball for the first time in almostthree weeks, but help start a new team, in it’s first season, off on the rightnote, as well as prove myself as a player.
Nothing really went the Raptor’s way on theday though…
After arriving at the field and meeting upwith our skipper, I was warned straight away that the infield was not in thebest condition. Erm… a huge under statement. When the infield gravel has more weeds and flowersgrowing on it than the outfield… you have to wonder exactly how old these ‘OldTimers’ are. But, as I later learned, youth is no substitute for experience(and metal bats).
Down by four in the second inning, the gamewas still in the balance, as I stepped up for my first at bat in the season.When I was batting last year I just couldn’t connect with the ball for somereason, it’s not like I don’t have an eye for a ball so I guess it was a mentalissue. Maybe I was thinking about it too much. At spring training I tried a fewthings out and was connecting with the ball but hitting them right at fielders,so I had decided before the game to just go up and not try to do too much. Iled of the inning off with an infield single which was a huge relief to kickthe season off in the right way.
However, in my mind, I wasn’t done yet. Iwanted to get us a run ASAP, so I proceeded to steal second and then third, butwasn’t greeted by Jake with the praise I was hoping for, and rightly so. It’svery important to remember this on the base paths, do not steal unless you’retold do so. I hadn’t really thought about it at the time, I’d just wanted toget us a run and get back in the game, but if you steal when the batter doesn’tknow you are going to then there is a very good chance they could get a pop upand then you’re both out. I could’ve actually hurt the team more, but luckilyit worked out and we sent on to score two in the inning. I won’t be doing thatagain though.
The game progressed and we had kept the scorecloser than in any game we’d played so far at 5-3. However, it was the fourthinning where we collapsed. I refuse to accept that it was Jake’s pitching thatlet us down. I respect umpires; their call is the final one. But, I’m sorry,when you are being so obviously biased and it results in 12 runs then I kind ofput my respect for you on the shelf. For starters the Old Timers had been usingmetal bats all game and Jake had done well to keep them in check, but then hisstrike zone seemed to get smaller and smaller until he was basically forced tothrow down the middle of the plate and of course metal bats turn little hits inbig ones. The defence messed up completely as well with bad throws to first,but that was the single most frustrating inning I have ever played in my life.
I went up to my next at bat (I’d been 2-2 onthe day so far with a wooden bat) and was determined to use a metal bat, notcaring what the other team or anybody thought. I was convinced that since I hadtwo singles with a wooden bat, I’d smoke the ball with a metal one. I popped upin the infield. And after that I just wasn’t angry anymore. We had played welland the official had let us down, though I’m not saying that is the only reasonwe lost- though I think I remember him calling a ball that bounced before the plate a strike…
So much more happened in this game that I could talk about. My first doubles, an awesome hit by Paul that could have been a home run if they'd bothered to set a fence up, another dozen bad calls… but there would be too much to write about to keep you interested, if you're even still reading that is.
Despite the scoreline, I felt there were lots of positives to takeaway from the game such as our sudden ability to score runs (something we'd struggled to consistently through a game in the past). So, hopefullytomorrow if we’re able to stop the other team scoring as many runs as last week(can it happen two weeks in a row? Surely not…) we can walk away with the firstwin in Raptor’s history.