Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thanks to Rick for the sports reports. Here's the one from Tuesday night:

WooHoo!!!! We're still playing good ball and still winning games. We beat a very good Temple Terrace LL team last night 11-8. Tonight we outslugged the Dade City LL team and won 15-10 for our third win in a row. Cooper will be back on the mound again tomorrow night - not sure if a starter or closer at this point. We'll be playing against the "other" New Tampa Team (#1) because they lost to Land O'Lakes tonight. Being in the losers bracket means the next loss and their (or our) tournament is over. The winner of tomorrow's game will have to beat Land O'Lakes twice to win the championship.

Say a prayer for Cooper to do his best and for the rest of the team to play good defense and continue to hit the ball well, because it's going to be our toughest challenge yet against New Tampa #1.

This is Rick's report from Sunday night:

Whew! The final was 11-8, and Cooper got the WIN!.......but it was a close game most of the way.

The Manager of our team decided that he would rather have Cooper come in and close the game out the last 3 innings, which Cooper really enjoys as much if not more than starting. North Seminole won the coin toss and chose to be the home team. As it turned out, the gameplan didn't go as expected.

I don't have the scorebook in front of me, so I'll describe the game based on my "tired" memory.........We scored one run in the top of the first inning and none in the 2nd inning. Our starter wasn't very sharp from the beginning, and after 1 and 1/3 innings, Cooper was called upon to get the team out of trouble. North Seminole was ahead 3 to 1 and the bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the second inning. Cooper struck out the first batter on 3 pitches and the last strike was a beautiful changeup that the batter was way out in front of. Cooper got the next batter to pop up to the third baseman for the third out in the inning.....No more damage done that inning.

Our team scored 5 in the top of the third inning and we were up 6 to 3. Cooper went 3 up - 3 down in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

We scored 3 more runs in the top of the 4th inning to go ahead 9 to 3. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Cooper started off the inning with a quick strikeout. North Seminole was able to load the bases via a couple of walks (Cooper declares the umpire missed some really good inside pitches that were DEFINITELY strikes!......sounds just like a pitcher doesn't it? :-)) and a fielding error by the SS which was a really tough short-hop play to begin with. The next batter hit a bases-clearing triple down the right field line -he later scored on a sacrifice to the 2nd baseman who went to first for the 2nd out. Coach Dad went out to the mound to settle him down and to ask the catcher what he was seeing. We decided to have Cooper go exclusively with his 2-seam fastball since it was really dropping "off the table" (about 10-12 inches) in pre-game warm-ups. Cooper was able to compose himself and strike the next batter out. Score is now 9-7, AND we're still ahead.

North Seminole brought in a hard thrower in relief to begin the top of the 5th inning and he was a bit erratic. We got a couple of baserunners, but couldn't score them. Cooper came back out in the bottom of the 5th inning and got a real nice play from his catcher (Joey) as the first batter popped up a bunt attempt and Joey running toward our dugout dove and made the catch and held on as he flipped over on the ground. The next two batters got on base via a hit and a walk. Cooper's pitch count is in the mid-60's at this point. Little League has a 75 pitch limit per game for 10 year olds, so Cooper is almost done whether he likes it or not. With the TIEING RUNS IN SCORING POSITION at 3rd and 2nd bases (they advanced on a delayed steal), Cooper struck out the next 2 batters to end the inning and the scoring threat. He was out of pitches and we had one more inning to go.

We scored 2 more runs in the top of the 6th inning to take an 11-7 lead (and a litlle bit of breathing room). Our third pitcher (Jimmy) of the game started the 6th inning and gave up 2 quick hits. North Seminole had a sacrifice hit to second who went to first for the out, but a run scored. Score now 11-8, and another runner at 3rd base. The next batter popped up to the pitcher. 2 outs. Jimmy struck out the next batter to end the game. Whew!

Everybody played great, but the manager decided that Cooper came in, took control of the game and helped the momentum swing to our side and pitched out of several tough situations and so awarded Cooper with the game ball.

Cooper will not be eligible pitch again until Wednesday due to his pitch count, so that means we have to beat Temple Terrace tomorrow night and then win again Tuesday night. Temple Terrace is a strong team and could be a challenge to our team, but in Little League baseball anything can happen! (So, who you going to cheer for now Walt and Staci? :-))

I'll also take this opportunity to wish my other son CLAY a very happy 13th birthday! (Yes, our oldest son will be a TEENAGER tomorrow.) What a great kid he is and hopefully being a teenager won't change that. :-)

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