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Archive for July 3rd, 2018

Reese had two goals this Little League seasons: (1) win the D8 championship; and (2) make the All-Star team.  Thanks to an epic collapse our Laurelhurst Lionettes came up short on the first one, but she easily achieved the second.  So far, however, her All-Star experience has been solid if unmemorable.  Some play in the outfield, a few hits, lots of walks and some wins against some less-than-stellar opposition.

That all changed last night, when her Northeast Seattle Little League All Stars took on Magnolia’s 10U team in a loser-out tournament game.

The game started off well enough and through four innings NESLL had an 8-3 lead.  But things got going a little sideways in the fifth.  NESLL starter (and Reese’s good buddy) Sammie Wright started losing control on the mound and Magnolia closed the gap to 8-4.  Then, with runners on second and third and only one out, coach Damien King gave the ball to Reese.

When the coach brought Reese in to pitch with the game on the line …

I had visions of red meat and a pack of wolves.

Uh, what?

Reese hadn’t pitched much (if at all) over the last month because of a broken finger and she had a dirty little secret — her delivery, during which time her back foot leaves the ground, was illegal.  I had visions of red meat and wolves in my head.  So did some other parents, one of whom was heard to lament “this isn’t fair to Reese.  It’s going to destroy her confidence.”   Nevertheless she gave it a go (as if she had a choice).

It didn’t go too well at first.

Both the inherited runners scored on singles to left field.  And when those hitters scored, the score was tied at 8-8.  Reese struck out two to end the inning, but when Magnolia’s Bella Klinner (Reese’s Spice teammate) struck out the side in the top of the sixth, I thought we were toast.  So did the Magnolia fans.  When Coach King sent Reese out to start the sixth, they actually cheered.

A bit premature, it turned out.

NESLL 10U came up with a dramatic 9-8 win.

Reese walked the first batter and, I’m told, Damien almost pulled her.  But she struck out the next two batters.   She then walked the next batter, threw a few wild pitches, and it was second and third, two outs, score tied.

Season on the line.  All the parents were there as well as several of Reese’s Spice teammates and three of her non-NESLL coaches.

You could cut the tension with a knife.  But Reese came up as big as she ever has.

Next batter: K’ed on three solid pitches.

After that the result seemed a fait accompli.  And when Sammie singled in the winning run with the bases loaded and no outs, a 9-8 victory was ours.

We celebrated afterwards with a nutritious dinner at Richard’s.

The only person more relieved than me was Rhonda, who almost had to leave the game she was so stressed.   Reese’s final line: 1 2/3 innings pitched, two hits, two earned runs, four walks and five K’s.  About average for an eleven-year old Little League pitcher, but good enough to get the W.

Afterwards, the NESLL families celebrated with burgers and shakes at Dick’s Drive In.  I mowed down two Deluxes and an order of fries — after that stress-fest, I thought I’d earned it.

Up next: Woodinville.  The odds are against us: they beat us last week 18-0 and we have to beat them twice to advance to State.  I’m not confident we have that kind of miracle up our collective sleeves.  But for this dad, anyway, it really doesn’t matter.   Last night’s game — and Reese’s clutch performance — will be with me for the rest of my days.

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