On a night that began with Jeff, the 9th arriving man on our roster, crowhopping towards the diamond while donning his cleats at 6:59:59 for a 7:00 PM start, it was a night where you found yourself holding your breath a lot.
Our Abby host were most gracious and s/b commended for the sportsmanship they displayed towards our team all night...and can they play ball. This is a long summary as it was a long two and half hours before a winner came out of this one.
Top of first Isaac gets the coaches apple for doing what we beseetched in pregame - work the count. He hit the 6th pitch hard to SS who got him at 1b, 1 down. Rory takes a ball then offers up a hard grounder right at 2B who makes the quick throw to 1B, 2 down. Jase can't refuse the first pitch and loops a fly ball to right, 3 down, 9 pitches, coaches are shaking their heads.
Jason got the nod on the bump in this key game and started off their leadoff man with a Nuke Lalush special then induced a grounder to Robert at 2B that was a smooth out to 1B. The #2 hitter had nine lives and worked a 6 pitch BB despite Isaac's catchers glove resembling a statue as two curves hit it w/o a movement with 2 strikes on the hitter followed by a just miss fastball. The curves had the coaches moaning like nothing since Howard the Turtle's groaner jokes. No problem - Jason uses an uber quick move to first with the runner going but gets caught watching w/o covering first and the runner gets back safely. Doh! Back to their 3 hitter who's at 2-1. Have you ever made the perfect golf swing and it just goes - click? They had to send a hunting party with dogs to find the ball that cleared the 10 foot centrefield fence to give it back to their hitter. When that heater gets met it goes a long way. Couple things can happen when a pitcher has been squeezed, makes a mental error then gives up a 2 run bomb. You can fold up like a cheap tent or strike out the #4 and #5 hitters swinging on 6 pitches, each a notch faster than the last one. Jason took door #2 and we were down 2-0 after 1 complete.
Top of 2, Jeff leads off the inning and still caught up with his nick of time arrival takes his first actual swing of the night at the first offered pitch and pops up to 1B, 1 down. Espy follows by taking a pitch for a ball then getting all of the next pitch to send a screaming liner right into the 1B man's glove, 2 down. Obviously a good student, Tom A. follows with a 7 pitch battle that ends up with him hitting a standup gapper for a double. Robert followed by taking ball 1 and then hitting the next pitch to RF to score Tom A from second. Nick ended the inning swinging over a gut busting curve ball in a good AB to end the inning with us back in the game down 2-1 Abby after 1 1/2.
Jason made quick work of the 6,7, and 8 hitters in the bottom of the 2nd by inducing two infield ground outs and whiffing the last guy on a full count swinging with a wicked pitch. Coming off the field he lets the coaches know that his tricep is feeling dicey but he can go one more. 2-1 Abby after two
Bottom of two JK leads off striking out swinging with a swing that would make the mighty Casey jealous, 1 down. Isaac works the count again but hits it down the RF line right to 1B, 2 down. Rory's 2nd AB was a mirror of his first but this time he made the 3Bman make the long throw to just nip him, 3 down. 2-1 Abby after 2 1/2.
Jason is sore but game so top of the 3rd he gets the grounder to SS for the first out on 4 pitches, 1 down. He battles the next hitter for 7 pitches then gets the kid looking at the same curveball that he didn't get called in the first, 2 down. The next hitter worked it to 3-2 and then watches the same dark side pitch for strike 3, walking off shaking his head. Abby 2-1 after 3 full innings.
Top of the 4th, Jason leads off with a hard single up the middle and then has Rory pinch run for him as his bad knee has affected his groin when sprinting. Jeff follows with the count at 2-0 with a combacker to the pitcher that moves Rory to 2nd with 1 down. Espy follows with another grounder right at their 2bman moving Rory to 3rd with two out. Tom A. jumps on the first pitch and hits a hard liner - right at their 2bman for the 3rd out. Abby 2-1 after 3 1/2. There was a theme early of hitting "right at 'ems".
The gamer comes out to start the 4th and quickly gets ahead of the 12 hitter 0-2 but several groans later the hitter got on with the BB. Jason then hits the next batter with his first pitch so quickly two on none out. The Abby coaches aren't blind and they have the next hitter lay a fine bunt down the thrid baseline which had Jason hobble towards the ball, dive for it and just miss the toss play to 3rd for the out. Bases loaded none out and a despondent pitcher moves to 3rd after 58 pitches in a hope that we can have him ready for Saturday as Jeff moves to catch while Isaac takes the bump in a thankless task. What followed was all 3 runs coming in to score on the back of 3 errors from a pick off attempt at 2B, a ball that just flopped out of Jeff's hand half way to third as he attempted the throw to third and Nick's first dropped fly of the year in LF. Isaac got us out of the inning w/o further damage but the Voodoo now trailed 5-1 after 5 complete and it was a quiet dugout on the changeover.
There are many definitions of character but the top of the 6th brought out the battling spirit the Voodi have shown all year. Robert led off with a long fly ball - right at the CFer, 1 down. Nick then induced an error on a grounder to 3rd and turned on the jets to beat the throw, one on, one out. Jackson Key then works out from a 1-2 count to get the BB, two on, one out. Isaac takes a ball then jumps on the next pitch taking it to RF to knock in Nick and move JK to 3rd, one out 5-2. That hit takes their starter out of the game at 58 pitches and they brought in a hard throwing 3Bman to pitch. Rory follows with what Rory does - a clutch double on a 3-0 green light that knocks in Key and Greer, one out 5-4. Jason followed with a line out to the CF, 5-4 two down. Jeff has by now tied his shoes, tucked in his jersey and is pretty much ready to play so he delivers a smash to the RF gap plating Rory to tie the game at 5-5 with two out. Espy ended the inning on a swingiing K but the Voodi had fought back to tie 5-5 after 5 1/2.
With new life, Isaac got the lead off hitter, winning the full count battle with Tom A making a great throw from SS to get the rabbit runner. The next hitter drove a single up the middle on another full count, so one on, one out. Isaac got behind the next hitter and gave up the BB, two on, one out. The next hitter works from a 1-2 count to hit another single up the middle but the runner held up at 3rd with no attempt to score leaving the bases loaded, one out. Isaac reaches back with a 2-2 count on the next hitter to get him swinging, bases loaded two out. The next hitter popped the first pitch into the sure hands of Jason at 3rd and we escape with the score tied 5-5 after 5 complete.
Turns out the first 5 innings just set the stage for the final two. Tom A. works a 3-2 BB to lead off the top of the 6th. Hemer follows with a drive that handcuffs the 3Bman allowing Tom to move to 2nd and Robert to reach first safely. Two on, none out. Nick follows with 3 of the hardest swings in history but just misses on each to make it 2 on one out. After his last AB where JK worked the 3-2 count for the walk, he now faced another 3-2 count. This time his mighty cut was just underneath the ball and it was now 2 on 2 out with score at 5-5. As for the next hitter, I will name my next dog Isaac in tribute to the tenacity of that young man. He just gives you everything he's got, all the time. This time he rips a 2 out double to the RF gap that cashes in Tom and Robert for the Voodoo to take the 7-5 lead! Rory follows with a single that moves Isaac to 3rd and with Rory's obligatory steal of second, we have men at 2nd and third with 2 out. Jason's at bat saw him work a full count BB but Isaac scored from third on a PB during the AB, making it 8-5. Jason's BB had Abby bring in a diminutive but battling pitcher to get them out of the inning. Jeff laid off two pitches but topped a grounder to short who made the play at first to end the top of the 6th with the Voodoo on top 8-5.
Given the 3 run lead that he had helped create at the plate, Isaac attacked the bottom of the 6th which brought Abby's top of the order up. First pitch to the leadoff hitter was driven to RCF for a single. Then ensued a 7 pitch battle that their #2 hitter won with another single up the middle. 2 on, none out the mouths start to get a little dry. Their #3 hitter, he of the ICBM off Jason in the first, drives a 1-1 pitch DEEP to the gap for a double to plate their #1 hitter with the #2 holding up at 3rd. Voodoo 8 Abby 6, tow on, none out. Again a test of character. Isaac responds by striking out the 4 hitter looking and the getting the 5 hitter swinging, both on 1-2 counts. All heart. The w/o warning a guy who had grounded out on the second pitch he saw, then flied out deep on the first pitch he saw earlier in the game, banged the frist pitch he saw to the RCF gap to plate the tying runs. Isaac got the next hitter to gorund to Jase who put the tag on the lead runner and back to a quiet dugout. Tied at 8 after 6 1/2.
Top of the 7th with the diminutive one still onn the mound Espy takes a ball and then drives the next pitch high to the deepest part of the park. Sure of having got all of it Espy got a bit of a slow start out of the gate and after it hit the fence we only got the double out of that beautiful hit instead of what might well have been a triple. It's now about 9:30 at night the lights have been on for awhile and the go ahead run is at 2nd with none out. Tom A. is drooling on deck waiting for his chance at this hurler but Abby pull him after his 5 total pitches and bring in a kid who could bring it. Tom A. swings over his first fastball then lays the bunt down to move Espy over but not quite in time to get the basehit. Runner ofn third, one out. Robert steps to the plate and sees nothig but gas from their guy. I'll question myself whether I should have put another bunt down but Robert had made good hard contact all day so he got the green light. He fell behind 1-2 but worked the count full. The next pitch was hellfire fast and Robert just missed to go down swinging, 2 out. Nick was next and worked the count to 2-2 before watching an outside heater for the K. "If ifs and buts were candies and nuts..." bottom of the 7th, still tied at 8.
Their bottom half of the 7th had the leadoff hitter making a triple out of a double when we missed a cut off man on the very first pitch. Infield was pulled in and the next hitter plopped a can of corn between Nick and our Tom A. and it was in the books. You don't feel hurt like that too often playing sports but we tip our hats to a gutsy Abby squad who represent.
Now we need to regroup and bring it to Hillcrest for Saturday's game at 3:00 against the visiting Chillwack Cougars.