Monday, June 20, 2011
It's been a while since I've been to Round Rock to cover the state baseball tournament. Last year when Stamford made it to state the game was covered by one of our sister papers who was also covering the games. And after hearing about the five hour rain delay and blowout following, I didn't feel so bad about missing the game. This year when I went down there I figured Stamford having been there would help, since they hopefully wouldn't have the jitters after many of these kids on the team were there last year. And, seeing the team they were playing was a first timer in the tourney maybe it wouldn't be a quick turnaround like last year.
The problem was, they were playing Johnson City, who was coming out of probably the toughest region in the state in baseball. When they walked out on the field the eye test didn't tell me they were going to be world beaters and watching them take infield they didn't look terribly spectacular either. However, once the game started, they showed why they were in the state tournament. Good pitching, really good fundamentals and some nice hitting gave them a quick lead.
The weather for the game could be best described as hotter than hell. And although it wasn't over 100 like in Abilene, it was only in the 90's, that was easily made up with a nice heave dose of humidity. I spent the first five innings baking in the sun in the photo wells along the first and third base lines, and an inning in the stands shooting behind home plate. However, I had been eyeing the left field home run porch most of the game. So in the sixth inning, I put the 2x teleconverter on the 400mm lens and I went up there to shoot for an inning. When I got up there I pretty much wanted to kick myself in the head for not shooting the whole game up there! It was cool in the shade and had a nice breeze blowing in. Basically the best seat in the house. Plus when I went up there, Stamford's bats woke up.
Stamford got down early and wasn't looking great. It was sad and starting to look like last year's mercy rule loss was going to repeat. Luckily, the defense started to pick up and finally in the sixth inning the bats were starting to wake up. Scoring five runs in the inning and closing it to one run. It was looking like they were setting themselves up for a nice comeback win. Well, then in the top of the seventh inning Johnson City blew things open with a 5-run inning and Stamford's bats couldn't finish it. Well, the good thing for them is most of the team was made up of sophomores and juniors so there's always the chance they could be back next year. Although, given that I've never seen one of the local teams win one of their semifinal games in the state baseball tournament, they may not want me covering the game.