Sunday, July 31, 2016

Softball Weekend

This is the third of the three softball tournaments that Sabrina is participating in this summer. And she is continuing to play well. She's caught every inning of every game and has turned into a lethal weapon behind the plate; she is giving her team an inning or more of outs per game by taking down baserunners, and she is so accomplished at tagging on plays at the plate that those also have been turning into outs invariably. She is even been fielding bunts spectacularly well, much better than she has in the past.
At the plate, she has been very effective. Today she fanned twice in the second game, the one I was able to get to, but she also hit a long double and an RBI single, and her slugging percentage has to be near 1.000, as she has hit  three homers, two triples, and at least five doubles in the twelve games she's played over the last three weeks. She looks confident and poised; even the strikeouts have not been because she has been overmatched, but rather wrong guesses or questionable calls by the umpires.
Her prowess is partially because of being 17, the oldest age allowed in these tourneys; as we have been telling each other this year, she is now reminiscent of the catcher she backed up a few years ago, who, when she was 17, towered over the competition like Babe Ruth in a Babe Ruth league. But more importantly, her team this year is not as loaded with talent as past editions; this team loses sometimes, and is never guaranteed  a victory. Her bat, skills, and handling of the team's three disparate pitchers have all greatly contributed to what success the team has enjoyed.
If this is the swan song of her career, and it's possible it is, what a way to go out. And I have to say that I am very, very glad for the coaches of this all-star team, who have been an immense support to her over the past four summers. I respected them as colleagues when coaching City League, they know what they are doing as coaches, and they are good men besides. I have no qualms, for about the only time in her career other than when she was on the JV team, about the direction she has been getting.
Tomorrow they are likely going to win at least one game, and have as good a chance as any of the others to win the championship, if the weather permits (it's rained for several hours tonight). And karma would dictate that we win. I'm sorry, but this has been consistently true since they were all in 12U leagues. People in he 'burbs here tend to quite vocal with the opinion that Binghamton kids are barely human, a bunch of Future Inmates of America, and in general treated like a cross between lepers and paroled rapists by players and coaches from other teams. But no Binghamton team she has been on, whether on this level, scholastic, or travel team, has conducted themselves with anything other than decorum. They are respectful, they do not trash talk, they don't bait umpires, they don't showboat.
If only the same could be said about the competition. Endicott and Endwell's teams generally aren't bad-mannered, although some of the players are. But teams from places like Chenango Forks, Windsor, Kirkwood, Harpursville, Vestal--invariably, invariably , the kids are poor-sport loudmouths that act like little jackasses each and every game. And the noise coming from the adults in the dugouts and the stands is worse. It's enough to make you want to gag them with Sanders bumper stickers and run up the score during games.

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