Before I get to the game, let me just say that pitching is crazy hard. The coaches put all of us on the practice mound to try our hand. It was humbling. I will never again attempt to pitch in front of anybody. I certainly will never attempt it again in front of two ex major league pitchers. Enough said.
Oh, and my catching career ended before it got started. Turns out that we had three catchers who were quiet in the meeting when he asked for catchers, but had each brought their own equipment to camp. Hmmm... Not only were they catchers, they were all really good.
Since the fields were still marginal this morning, we only played one game, but it was a full 9 inning game which we won 9-2. We were behind 1-0 and then 2-1 until the 5th inning when we starting getting hits. It was fun and amazingly hard.
I was playing 2nd base at the start of the game. The first batter hit a hard grounder.... to me!!! I fielded it and threw (carefully) to first for the out. A completely routine play and an easy one. It was also the first time in my life that I made a play in organized baseball. In the 3rd inning I hit a grounder past (not under) the third baseman, for my first hit in my life. I was one for three. I grounded out to shortstop, had a single and reached first on a fielder's choice later in the game.
There is so much to keep track of. When on base, I missed coaching signals and almost got picked off at first. But I did end up stealing second and scoring from there on a nice double by a teammate. Not many of the catchers can make a good throw to second, so there was a lot of stealing.
The level of play is, shall we say, not high. We won today because our team made only 1 error and we had pitchers who could throw strikes. Some of the pitching was at about 20MPH, but they were strikes. Every player made mistakes and nobody got on anyone's case. Our pitcher cut off a throw to home from a position 5 ft in front of home which allowed a run to score. Our ace pitcher walked his first 4 batters (the only pitcher who had trouble). Our first baseman had the wrong foot on the bag multiple times. Tons of those kinds of errors, but not scorekeeper errors. However, any Healdsburg Little League Juniors team would wipe us off the field!
The best part of the game for me was the support from other players. The shortstop who would say to me "you got second if it comes to me right?". A hard line drive to my right was over my head and as I was recovering from my reach, I heard the first baseman yelling "Go! Go! You are the cutoff man!". There was this kind of support for everyone and from everyone.
Early on, I said that I thought I was in the middle of the skills represented here. I actually think that I'm in the lower part of that middle. I am just learning things about playing this game that other players completely take for granted. Things that I've seen happen a million times, but never paid any attention to. Like, what happens after the catcher throws down to second at the start of an inning. I'm proud of myself that I know I'm supposed to be backing up the shortstop who takes the throw. I don't expect the shortstop to toss me the ball. Then I don't know that I'm supposed to throw it to third who then gives it to the pitcher. Instead I leave the third baseman with his hands out to his side with an expression of "What am I chopped liver?!?". At the start of a subsequent inning I went to throw to third and the new third baseman had no idea why I was doing it - I'm not alone!
As promised, here is a link to some of the action photos. I don't have any game pictures yet, but these were taken during clinics. Other than the obvious team and single pictures, they aren't posed. I didn't filter so it is what it is. Also, that is Vida Blue next to me in some of the photos.