Spring and Summer have hit Iowa and it’s the time of year when little league games dominate parents schedules. My boy this year is in his first year of Bam Bam (think TBall with a big bouncy ball and big red bat). My daughter plays with us in the back yard and next year will be looking for softball for her. But all the playing reminded me of my little league days and a vivid memory.
In Garwin after 5th grade, we had enough kids go out in 4-5-6 grade to have 2 minors teams, Garwin-Orange and Garwin-Black. My teams first game was against Green Mountain, the school district we are consolidated with, and vs. friends we went to school with. The Green Mountain team hadn’t won a game in like 2 years.
My coach put me in the leadoff spot. Green Mountain started the tallest kid in class, and then it seemed like he could chuck it pretty good, but there isn’t a lot of control. I got drilled in the hip in one of my at-bats. The rest of the details of the game, outside of the last inning are fuzzy but the last inning I remember clear as day. We were going into the top of the 5th (we only played 5 innings) and we were down by 1. My buddy Bryan was on the mound for Green Mountain. With a couple singles and a walk we had bases loaded, top of the lineup. I’m up to bat, my buddy Pete was on third base, the tying run.
I step into the batter’s box and did my “Nomar” of getting ready for the pitch. Made eye contact with Bryan…it was on. A hit or a walk we at least tie the game, and maybe even get the game winning run around from second. So the scene is set and as can be expected I swing at the first pitch. As soon as I swung and felt the contact I knew the result….got under it too much. DAMN! It was a perfect pop fly straight up to the pitcher’s mound and Bryan. Can still see him waving off the 1b and 3b as I was running to first. Ball hit his glove, game over. An L, 0-1. Green Mountain had their first win in 2 years. I felt like I lost the game for us.
We went like 8-8 that year, going into the playoffs. In the first game in Gilman, we were up going into the bottom of the 5th…gave up a couple runs and my 5th grade year of minors was over. This may not be the fondest memory of my little league life but it’s the one that sticks out the most! The next year though would be a lot better!