Team TP played in their second tournament this weekend and it was a doozy! I'll warn in advance that this post may be on the long side. But I promise it will be interesting reading.
Saturday, Team TP started out the day with an 8:00 am game. They poured it on and emerged victorious with a final score of 7-0. J was the designated hitter in that game and unfortunately appeared to be experiencing a slight batting slump. Coach C gave him a pep talk, telling him to keep his head up and he'd be fine. The talk must have worked, because in the second game, he hit a rocket over the center fielder's head. The other team managed to recover and tag him out at second just as he slid into the bag. He did get an RBI though. The second game was progressing along nicely(J was on first base for this one), and Team TP was up 16-4 going into the 6th inning. At that point, I'm not sure if they ran out of gas, got lazy, or what. But things got dicey as they appeared to fall apart defensively and let 6 runs score. Fortunately Coach C got them refocused and they won, with a final score of 16-10. That was it for Saturday games. Late in the day we received word that they were the 1 seed going into today.
Our game time today was not until 3:45, and as the top seeded team we had our choice of being home or visitor. Coach C chose home and the game began. J was again the designated hitter and got another beautiful hit to center field. The game was progressing nicely and Team TP was up 9-1. Again, they started dinking around, making some dumb errors, and allowed four runs in. Still, not so bad. Until a kid hit a grand slam at the top of the 6th and tied the game up. After the completion of the 6th inning, due to approaching darkness and no lights on the field we were on, the umps decided to do something called a Texas tie breaker. The last runner to be thrown out was sent to second base and the defensive team had to try to get three outs. Team TP managed this and then it was our turn. The other coach decided to intentionally walk our first two batters, loading the bases. The third batter got up and slammed the ball deep into the outfield, breaking the tie and giving Team TP the win. Then the fun began. We moved to a lighted field for the championship game. We were again home team. From the start of the game, the coach of the other team behaved badly. Protested every call the ump made regarding balls and strikes, and just generally kept flapping his mouth. One of his players bull rushed our catcher in the third inning and was ejected from the game. He protested that. But it gets better. Our kids were hitting like mad and he didn't like it. Got into a screaming match with the ump, claiming a fair ball was foul and got himself ejected. Took his team off the field. He kept up a steady dialogue of screaming and cursing as he was escorted from the complex. Along the way he screamed in the face of a mother who asked that he kindly refrain from cursing in front of the younger children who were present. about this time, the team came back on the field and play resumed. Our kids were still hitting well. A man from the other team took issue with this and proceeded to heave a full water bottle over the fence. I'm not sure if he was trying to hit our player, the ump, or our coach. He was ejected. The game continued and Team TP was up 5-0. Our hitting was rock solid and our defense as excellent. That's when the tide turned for the worse. The other team apparently decided the only way to get on base was to get walked. And what's a surefire way to get a walk. To get hit. The first batter hit was an "okay, it happens." Second one in a row was a little weird. Coach C changed pitchers. And oddly enough, he hit a batter. Hmm, could that be because they were leaning into the strike zone? Coach C changes pitchers again, and two more batters are hit. They have now managed to walk in 6 runs. From there, our boys were so discouraged. The ump allowed this to continue, made several questionable calls and in the end they lost 9-6. It was a tough one to swallow. I honestly feel like they were cheated out of first place. To rub salt in the wound, the ejected coach was allowed back in to hand out trophies to his team.
We're new to tournament play, so this kind of drama was also somewhat new to us. What saddens me is that people would go to these kinds of lengths to win a game, and the umps allowed it. They had to see what was going on, based on the skill with which our boys played the entire game. It also saddens me that there are young men out there being coached by people who do not truly have their best interests at heart. They are being taught to cheat, throw fits, and bully their way to a win. What saddens me even more is the parents who are apparently okay with this. Had my son been on that team, I would have removed him and we would not be back after the behavior I witnessed tonight.
I would like to commend Coach C for being the kind of coach our boys are lucky to have. Throughout the entire debacle, he kept his cool, never raised his voice, or engaged in the bad behavior that was rampant on the other team. As a result, our boys conducted themselves with class and sportsmanship. Coach C is quite young. Not much older than the players really. He's just completed his first year of college. Sadly, men twice his age could not conduct themselves with class and sportsmanship and be good role models for the young men on their team.
So there you have it. The long, sad story of the Summer Slam Tournament. Team TP took 2nd officially, but unofficially, they are the true champs. At least in this mama's score book.