For those who don't know, my hobby is coaching softball and baseball. Unfortunately, last year, my daughter's softball abilities finally outgrew my coaching abilities and I had to turn her over to a 'real' team. Now I coach my 11 year old's travel baseball team (Crush Baseball Club). This past weekend they were one of 68 teams playing in the Nation's Baseball Ohio State Championship in Bowling Green, Ohio.
After going 3-0 in pool play and earning the 5th overall seed for single-elimination bracket play, we found ourselves in a pitcher's duel against the 28th seed in a win-or-go-home elimination game. Tied 1-1 after the regulation 6 innings, we stayed tied until the bottom of the 8th. With a runner on third, 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter, I'm coaching third, I manned up and signaled our runner for a straight steal of home. Worst case, the pitch is strike 3 and we go on to play the 9th, best case, we catch everyone off-guard and win the game and save arms.
When the lefty on the mound came set, my runner took off for home. No one saw it coming...not the pitcher, not my assistant coaches, not the batter, not the opposing coaches, not the catcher, and most importantly not the umpire. Our runner gets to the plate just as the pitch gets there. Luckily our batter didn't swing (he might've taken the runners head off). The catcher dove forward to try to make the tag, but was late. Umpire looked down the line at me for a second with a 'What the hell just happened?' look on his face, then looked back down and signalled SAFE. Game over. We advance. I'm pretty sure my celebration included a girly squeal.
The other team argued that the pitch was strike three and the inning should be over. The umpire claimed that my runner beat the pitch to the plate so the pitch was irrelevant (run scored before the pitch). Really I think in the confusion he forgot to look at the pitch.
We ended up losing our next game 3-2 (another 8 inning thriller that we lost on a bad fair/foul call down the third base line--in my opinion of course). Knocked out in the round of 16, we finished somewhere between 9th and 16th. Based on the tie-breaker rules they use (runs allowed, run differential,...) we officially finished 10th place in the state of Ohio.
I'm ready for the bigs.