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With a dramatic steal to home on a passed ball, we watched Aaron chase down the pitch that got by him and run towards the plate to arrive first, and with a two handed tag he put out the runner for the third out and stopping the tieing run from scoring. And with that realization Garrett met him in a traditional embrace and joyful smiles as they had won the game. Within moments all 9 of our players bounded towards our dugout for the final cheer of victory.

Baseball CardI have yet to really evaluate the scorebook, but my overall impression was that our team hit very well and dominated on the base paths.

HYATT - Hyatt took the mound for the first time this season and did very well. I was able to work with him at our last practice and he did very well. I also knew how disappointed he was to not have pitched in our last game since we only went 3 innings. Hyatt was able to get the first batter to ground out on the second pitch. The next batter went to a full count and struck out. The third batter hit to Garrett at short stop who threw over to Brad at first and we ended our very first 1, 2, 3 inning of the season. Hyatt couldn’t have been happier as he ran to the dugout.

Hyatt took the mound in the second inning and he threw two balls and then tossed the biggest and fattest watermelon that sailed off the clean-up batters bat and sailed over the left field fence and hit the roof of the brown building 30 feet beyond the fence. It was quite a shot and the great news is that it only gave them one run. The next batter hit hard to right center. Shaken up a bit the next batter hit right back to him and he threw it over to Brad for an out... Whew, finally an out like the first inning. This was followed by a walk and a hit between third and shortstop. The confidence of the Cubs was high as they had scored 3 runs already and there was only 1 out. This is the place where many young pitchers would lose their composure, but Hyatt came right back and struck out the next two batters to end the inning. They scored three on us, but we walked off the field feeling great about our team.

Baseball CardGARRETT - Our second pitcher of the game was Garrett. I don’t know a lot about this young man yet, but I know that he has quick reflexes, a big smile, and a lot of skills are contained in his smaller torso. In the top of the third inning he struck out the first batter on four pitches. The second batter grounded out to Hyatt playing first base. Hyatt’s new first baseman’s glove was put to the test and succeeded in scooping up the ball. The third batter struck out to end the inning to end our second 1, 2, 3 inning of the season. So with cheers of success out team left the filed in the top of the third leading 4-3.

The fourth inning was going to be key because it would start off with their number 2 batter and the heart of their power hitting lineup. So with everything going against us Garrett railed back and struck out the first batter and then walked the second batter. With a runner on, the number 4 batter who hit the home run now struck out on just four pitches. With two outs Garrett walked the next batter and his first walk scored in the midst of wild pitches. Then came a wild play with a hit and an error by Tommy at shortstop and scored a run. With two outs and a ball on the next batter, a wild pitch sent what would be the go ahead run home and Aaron found himself in a huge dust cloud at home plate with the umpire yelling with a clenched fist, “Heeee’s OUT!!!” It was both dramatic and fun to watch our team bound off the field with us leading 6-5 and knowing that we were the home team.

We added one more in the bottom of the fourth and Garrett once again took the mound knowing that our team was up by 2 and that if we could just hold the Cubs to one score that we would win the game and not even have to bat in the bottom half of the game.

And with that added pressure Garrett walked the first batter. The next batter hit to left field and the initial walk scored. The third batter struck out on just 4 pitches followed by another strike out and the tension was building. Then came the bizarre scenario that had a steal home on a passed ball found the batter standing in the batters box during the entire play and prevented our catcher and pitcher from making a play for the final out. After a few minutes and the umpires getting together they sent the tieing run back to third and we walked the interfering batter. With two men on and much confusion there was a passed ball on the second pitch and Aaron was able to chase it down and come back to the plate and clearly make the two handed dust bowl filled tag at home to end the inning and win the game. It was great watching his realization of what he had done and that the outcome was our first win.


So how did we do it on the offensive end? We started off the game with Garrett grounding out to the shortstop, followed by Tommy striking out. Aaron made a strong hit to right field. He then immediately stole second and then stole third. Confidently bounding off third with each pitch he stole home as brady stretched out the count full before striking out.

Baseball CardThe second inning Emma drew a walk and then stole second. Daniel hit strong to left field and this brought Emma home. Brad went down on strikes while allowing Daniel to steal second. Hyatt hit strong to left center scoring Daniel. Hyatt then stole second and Tim hit a great hit to left center scoring Hyatt. Then both Zach and Garrett went down on strikes to end the inning with us scoring 3 more.

Tommy started off the bottom of the third with a strong hit to left. He stole bases while Aaron came up with a single to right field. Brady struck out while Aaron stole his way around and eventually stole home. Daniel got on with a hit and an error and then stole his way to third. Our rally ended with Brad going down on strikes, but having scored 2 more to increase our score to 6 runs.

Hyatt led off the fourth and stretched the count full before going down on strikes. Tim hit again, but was put out. Zach had to leave early so it left Garrett to walk and then steal his way to third while Tommy walked and stole second. Aaron came to bat and hit a grounder to second that was then tossed to first for the put out and the end of our rally, thus stranding two runners in scoring position.

NOTE: I have looked over the scorebook at least a dozen times and I shows us ending the game after 4 ½ innings with the score tied 6-6 and not the 6-5 or 7-6 we thought it was. We really should have come up to bat again in the bottom of the fifth and scored a run to finalize the win... Instead, the umpire called the game and gave us the win... Oops!!! But I could be wrong... It has been known to happen... But I doubt it was today that I made an error.... Oh well, the game was called by the umpire as a win for the Nationals, so a win it is!

Baseball CardHINDSIGHT: As one of the coaches I wish that today’s game had played out differently. We saw the not so pleasant side of several people. The league is partly to blame because they insufficiently staffed our field with only one umpire. Also at fault was the over zealous desire for winning on both sides of the ball as displayed by the adults. If I were to die tomorrow, I would wish for those over 12 years of age to be reminded of the fact that this is a Triple A developmental league and that winning and losing are far from the most important events happening on our field. Instead, the most important events occur when we, as coaches, place confidence in a young player and they raise their game play and gain confidence. This includes playing out in the field, batting, and running the bases. The heavy competition pressures should be left to the Major and Super Leagues. We have got to remember that it is about giving each of these young men the opportunity to play new positions and better learn the game of baseball and not winning at all costs. And if we can’t keep that as our main focus, then I will step aside while shaking my head wondering where the league lost its priorities... I’ll step down from my soapbox now, but you can bet that I will not quit fighting for these boys to get the chances they deserve.

What a great game! Sure I wish that we had won the game, but the time limit took us by surprise and we allowed the go ahead run immediately after the time limit was called. This is when it is hard to be the visiting team instead of the home team.

When I say it was a great game, I really mean it. Our team showed so much promise. The other team’s coach commented twice to me privately that he had never had a team score so many runs without getting a hit. We were extremely aggressive once we got on base. Our game plan was to hit and draw walks and then steal like crazy. Almost every player was sent to second on the first pitch and there was absolutely nothing their catcher could do about it. Were we too fast? Were we too prepared for run? Or were we just all that and a bag of chips? I believe that it was all of the above. We have that part of the game under control.

To continue that thought, we were teaching our runners to take off the moment the ball crossed home plate. They were to run at least 4 steps as though they were stealing and then stop to see what was happening. This aggressive nature obviously affected their pitcher (Jackson Finch) and he would walk the next batter and the same thing would happen all over again. We scored 2 runs in the first inning after the first two batters struck out. That is a good rally. To be fair, the strike zone was huge and inconsistent at the start of the game. The next three walked with Emma and Daniel stealing all the way around to home, while Aaron was left stranded after stealing his way to third.

In our second at bat we once again started with two strike outs and then 4 more straight walks scored 3 more runs with Brady, Garrett, and Tommy scoring with Emma being left stranded at 3rd base.

In the third inning Aaron popped up foul near our dugout and the first baseman caught it for the out. Our next batter went down swinging and then Hyatt drilled a good single through the shortstop, followed by a great hit by Alex to right center field that brought Hyatt in to score. Brady then also got a hit and scored Alex. Garrett then hit to left field and scored Brady. Tommy’s pop-up out ended the inning.

Looking at our production, the first two innings we manufactured 5 runs off of nothing but walks. The third inning saw our bats come alive with no walks and 5 hits, with just one strike out and one pop-up out. I can’t wait until our bats come alive and every inning is filled with hits like our third inning today. See you at the same time tomorrow.

GARRETT - SO, Walk, Single - 5 stolen bases.
TOMMY - SO, Walk, Pop Fly Out, 3 stolen bases
EMMA - 2 Walks - 4 stolen bases
DANIEL - Walk, SO - 3 stolen bases
AARON - Walk, Pop Fly Out - 2 stolen bases
BRAD - 2 SO’s
HYATT - SO, Single - 3 stolen bases
ALEX - SO, Single - 3 stolen bases
BRADY - Walk, Single - 6 stolen bases
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  • April 28 - Wednesday - 7:15 PM - National vs. Mariners * 14-11 LOSS
  • April 30 - Friday - 7:15 PM -  Rays vs. Nationals * RAINED OUT
  • May 6 - Thursday - 4:30 PM - Nationals vs. Angels * 8-9 LOSS
  • May 7 - Friday - 4:30 PM - Cubs vs. Nationals * 6-6 WIN
  • May 11 - Tuesday - 5:00 PM - Yankees vs. Nationals * RAINED OUT
  • May 13 - Thursday - 7:15 PM - Nationals vs. Royals
  • May 19 - Wednesday - 5:00 PM - Cardinals vs. Nationals
  • May 21 - Friday - 7:15 PM - Mariners vs. Nationals
  • May 25 - Tuesday - 7:15 PM - Nationals vs. Cubs
  • May 27 - Thursday - 5:00 PM - Angels vs. Nationals
  • June 1 - Tuesday - 7:15 PM - Nationals vs. Cubs
  • June 3 - Thursday - 5:00 PM - Nationals vs. Yankees
  • June 7 - Monday - 7:15 PM - Royals vs. Nationals
  • June 15 - Tuesday - 5:00 PM - Nationals vs. Cardinals


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Aaron Leavitt