In a horribly dispiriting showing, the Stars were shut out and lost by the 10-run mercy rule to the Sluggers. The five innings lasted approximately 45 minutes late this morning in Indianapolis.
The Stars started off well, allowing just one run in the first inning, but suffered several misplayed balls in left field in the second to allow eight runs. In defense of the left fielders, the Stars get very little practice fielding fly balls, as most practices consist of scrimmage games against the other teams in the same county, who don't provide a lot in the way of practice for our outfielders. The Sluggers tacked on their tenth run in the top of the fifth when a ball rolled to the fence, allowing an inside-the-park homerun.
The Stars have vowed that fly-ball practice will be a top priority going into next season. As will practice at hitting, the lack of which was the single biggest hindrance to the Stars today. The Stars stranded six, with only on runner even reaching third base.
The Stars only real threat came in the bottom of the fifth when Jon led off with a hit past the shortstop. Wally walked, and Little Robert singled on a liner to center field. Then the wheels fell off when Robert popped up to the pitcher, enacting the infield fly rule. Bobbi also popped up in the infield, advancing the runners, including bringing in Jon from third. However, the umpire made all the runners return to their bases despite the fact that we have recorded proof that our runners have advanced on a ruled infield fly in a previous game. Second baseman Matt fouled out to end the threat.
There were a few bright spots. Bobbi pitched spectacularly with five strikeouts, four of which to end innings. The infield defense was stellar, even in spite of the fact that the infield (but not the outfield) was artificial turf.
The degree of disappointment and disgust felt by the Stars was indicative of how much we wanted and expected to win this year. We've been the victims of much worse games at state, but we've always been able to bounce out of the game with a cheerful “at least we got some good exercise!” kind of attitude. I think the mood of the team was summed up nicely by this conversation that occurred as the team lined up to receive our medals:
SO Official: (painfully chirpy) So, did you guys have fun?!
RF Jerry: (deadpan) No.
SO Official: (still ridiculously perky) Oh no! Did you win?!
RF Jerry: (still deadpan) No.
SO Official: (clearly sugared up or something) Well, as long as you had fun, that's all that matters!
RHM: (mumbling) Did we not already establish that we did not have fun?
So for now I'm just reminding myself that we're building team character and should function as a more cohesive unit for it. And I'm reminding myself that we're actually much better at volleyball, which should be starting next month.