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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Igor's Home Run

For me, Holy Week started on Wednesday, with a little baseball game. My 8-year-old son plays in a coach-pitch pee wee league. I was leading a small group at church, and arrived a little late to the game. Keep in mind as I describe this that last summer, Igor played in a coach-pitch YMCA league and they didn't really do much teaching. In one game, he just couldn't hit the ball. After about a dozen pitches, they made him hit from the tee. I was coaching third base, and the third baseman from the other team said, "Ah, the tee of shame!!" And I thought, "Do I want to put my son through this?"

I decided he needed another shot, so we put him in the spring Carrboro league, which is excellent. Here, they do teach skills. With that backdrop, here's my recounting last night's adventure.

I arrived late to Igor's game. When I arrived, he was up to bat. There were runners on 2nd & 3rd. He ripped the first pitch to the right side of the infield, a real, solid, hard hit grounder. The second baseman had no chance. It would be a clean hit in any league. Both runners scored. I thought "Wow, a 2-run single! Great!"

Then, in his next at-bat, he came up. He missed or fouled the first four pitches. In this coach-pitch league, there are no walks. If you don't hit it fair in five pitches, you get a strike-out. On the fifth pitch, he hit a grounder that sort of went between the pitcher and second baseman. I think there was a runner on first. In futile attempt to get the force at second, the kid who fielded the ball threw to second base and he threw it really hard. It got past the second baseman, went into the outfield, and went quickly rolling past the outfielders. The coaches started screaming to run, and Igor never stopped. Second, Third, and a (unnecessary) slide into home plate. Someone on the bench yelled, "It's a home run." Someone else said, "Who hit that?" "Igor!!"

Of course there's a denouement.

Igor played catcher most of the game, but in the last inning, he was moved to left field. We were up 19-18 and they were up to bat. We had to get them out 1-2-3 to win. They had a couple of guys on base. Igor was in left field, throwing dirt in the air to entertain himself, wholly unaware of what was going on. The kid up to bat ripped a line drive that whizzed past the third baseman. Igor was surprised that a baseball rolled past him, interrupting his thoughts. He couldn't figure ouot why his father, back behind the bench, was madly yelling his name. The runners easily scored and we lost 20-19. We called our team into the bench area. As Igor blissfully skipped off the field, he said, "Who won?"

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