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  • My Team Recap from last night’s Diamond Flame contests – a real classic “Barn-burner” doubleheader for the annals of team history:

    We came in with 4 to play, tied with the team we were playing, with the tie-breaker in hand. The team one game behind us, the Mavs, was playing the games before ours. We watched the 0-16 “Lucky If We Can Get 8” team rise to the occasion and beat the Mavs in Game 2 of their contests. If we could have swept tonight, we would have clinched the division.

    In the opener, we had great outfield defense, shakey infield defense, but fairly consistent hitting. We entered the top of the last inning down, 13-10. As we lumbered into the dugout, I asked you all to step up and play like champions, and you all responded, like champions do. We batted around the lineup, scored 7 runs, the highlights being an Eric Z. 2-RBI, bases-loaded hit, and Nash, the writer-warrior, hitting what would eventually be an inside-the-park homerun with 2 runners on, for 3 RBIs including what would eventually be the game-winner!

    So we entered the bottom of the last inning up 17-13, and we held them to 2 runs to take the opener home, 17-15. In addition to Nash's 3 RBI performance, Eric, Kyle and I also each had 3 RBIs, while Jon had a pair. Jon, Kyle and I also each scored 3 runs. Solid offensive performance in this one, especially when it counted.

    The nightcap just wasn't our game from the start. We fell behind early, and struggled at the plate. We never got enough going on to get back into it, although we did have a 5 run innning in which we batted around in the 4th. We kept fighting. Kept battling. We wanted it. We just got a bit outplayed in this battle.

    The most remarkable thing about this game was Rick's gutty performance. He wasn't having the best night, for him, but his determination and willingness to gut it out no matter what…truly inspiring!

    First, he'd come down wrong trying to catch a flyball in left-center, banging the shit out of his head as he crashed to the ground, which seemed to make him a bit whoozy. He insisted on staying in the game, staying in left-center, but finally agreed to play shortstop the next inning. He promptly went out and tracked down a pop fly to short left, making an incredible grab, bare-handed, of the ball after it popped out of his glove as he fell to the ground. He stayed in there. Then he made another attempt at a ball hit into shallow left center, and pulled something that you oughtn't pull in his abdominal section. He was one hurtin' turkey.

    He should have come out of the game right there. But he just wouldn't. I tried every which way to convince him to come out, but he stayed. “You’ll only have 9 without me – I can’t come out!” “Rick, we can do it with 9 – it’s just a game!” He shot me a look that said, “Maybe for you it is – for me, the chips are on the line, and here I stay!”

    He played an inning at second, then finished out the game in right. His first time up to bat after the abdominal injury, I was hoping he'd draw a walk so we could run for him once he got on. He walked up to the plate, barely able to walk (visions of Kirk Gibson in the ’88 World Series), obviously in a great deal of pain - What does he do? Oh, just ropes a triple deep into the right center gap, pushing himself around those bases, through the pain, just unbelievable. For those of you who weren't there, I am not making this shit up.

    So, we used to have a guy on this team nick-named “Dirt”. We now have a guy who I am dubbing ""Gut" - that would be Rick "Gut" T.. This was a "Gut" performance if I've ever seen one.

    We lost the game, 17-9, but we still control our own destiny, boys. We win next week, we win the division, plain and simple. Let's take the determination that Rick "Gut" showed tonight, and go out there and play with a singular focus to nail down the championship next week.

    It's in our hands. It's Gut-Check time guys. Let's do this thing. I'll send out the stats update tomorrow evening. Thanks for giving it your best tonight. Let's nail it down next week.
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