For Love of the Game
We haven't been getting a lot of run support the past couple of days so I switched up the lineup. Instead of batting DJ in the 2nd spot, I had him hit in the three hole and it immediately paid off. In DJ's first at bat, he connected with a single and drove in our first run and we never trailed from that point. His next at bat, he hit a bases loaded single and drove in two more runs. Finally, in his third at bat he was hit with a decent fastball in the ribs which he just shook off.
We managed to squeeze out a 10-7 victory behind the right arm of DJ. He had a very solid game. It was not a perfect game by any means, but he really battled and he hung in there through some tough stretches. At times he had some great stuff and other times he didn't which is why he struck out eight, yet he walked six. Although he allowed 7 runs, all but two were unearned. The defense behind him let him down in some spots, but all of the kids played hard and I was really proud of everyone's effort.
After throwing 80 pitches, I had to make that dreaded walk to the pitchers mound and ask for the baseball. He only needed one out, but his pitch count was high and bases were loaded. Dad wanted to leave him in, but coach had to make the tough decision to remove him. He was so angry and upset with me when I replaced him and told him to go to third base. I pulled him to the side and I asked him if he was upset and he emphatically said yes. But the funny thing is, I want him to be upset and mad about coming out of the game. That tells me he wants to win; that he wants to play. At that moment, I think he went from liking baseball to having a true love for playing the game.
The next pitcher came in and got the final out so it was the right decision by the coach, but my son will never think so and neither will his dad.