Friday, April 06, 2012

Little League Baseball

My son's Little League Baseball team is doing terrific this year. They currently have the best record in the Machine Pitch division of North Side Little League.
Until last night they were undefeated after 8 games, but they finally had an off-night. The first run through the batting order everyone struck out and the team fell behind 4-0. And yet, they still managed to nearly come back in the last inning and ended up only losing by one run.
Nathan got a hit his second time up that scored a runner from third, however he got sloppy running the bases and ended up getting picked off at second.
But tonight's game was completely different. Tonight they played the second best team in the league and walked away with it. The final score was 17-8, but only because we gave away 4 runs in the last inning.
Nathan got a hit every time up to bat, but only scored once. In his last at bat he hit a clear double - not a single where he advances to second on a throwing error which is very common at this age - but a solid hit that went all the way into the outfield and allowed him to run to second before they got it back in. I only hit one double the entire time I played Little League and I played all through junior high school. Nathan is only in the third grade.
Nathan's team is the Nationals, which ironically is one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. The second best team is the Cubs.
Machine Pitch ball can be rough. The machine pitches the ball hard and fast every time. You have five chances to hit the ball and there are no walks. The only way to get on base is to hit the ball. But tonight, everyone was hitting the ball. We had a small team - 8 kids, just enough to field a team without being disqualified - because three kids were gone for Easter Break. That meant that they went through the batting order quicker. I think Nathan got to bat four or five times, whereas the night before he only batted twice.
The first time up, Nathan was able to drive in a run even though they got him out at first. Later on in the game, however, he kept coming up to bat with the bases empty because the kid in front of him kept hitting home runs. That was Andrew, the team slugger and the coach's son. Andrew had a fantastic night hitting three back-to-back-to-back home runs over the fence.
Isabel has been having a good time playing baseball too. She is in her third year of T-Ball and is enjoying it. In T-Ball they don't keep score and everyone gets to bat and play in the field each inning. Isabel can hit the ball pretty solidly every time off the tee and get on base. I've been pitching to her in the batting cages lately and am impressed with how well she can swing the bat and hit the ball. I think she will do fine moving up to machine pitch next year if she wants to keep going.