Sunday, June 12, 2011
Division Rivalry... In the Finals...
Stamford and Hamlin are less than 20 miles apart, are district rivals and having been battling each other pretty in much every sport this year. However, both their baseball teams were about as evenly matched as you could get. They tied for the district championship splitting the regular season games (here are the photos from their first game of the season that I had shot), then Hamlin took the one-game playoff. So it was only fitting that they would end up playing each other for the regional championship and the right to go to the state tournament.
At the start of the game, both teams were playing really sloppy. Hamlin's pitcher couldn't throw strikes and Stamford couldn't field the ball, committing five errors in the first three innings. I'm guessing it may have had something to do with nerves. They played at McMurry University's Driggers Field in Abilene (probably one of the nicest D3 baseball fields in the country), in front of the biggest crowd I've ever seen at that stadium. The stands were packed and there were fans 2-3 deep along the fences on both sides of the fields.
It had all the feel of a huge game and after the teams calmed down they started playing like they deserved to be there, but Hamlin had already had the lead. Stamford clawed back to within a run, but just couldn't get back ahead. Stamford was the home team and had the last at bat, but just couldn't finish it off and Hamlin won it it 6-5. Despite really bad play at the start of the game, it turned out to be really fun to watch, and a good start to the three-game series.