Wednesday, July 05, 2006

One of Those Moments

Joseph has been dying to pitch for his little league team, throwing with Ryan almost every day since the season started.

And the boy is good.

But he'd only stood on the mound in three of thirteen games, and he was rocked in all three-- walking many batters and coming away with his confidence shaken.

Now there are only six innings in each game. And while kids are allowed to pitch a maximum of two innings per game, Joseph has never pitched more than one inning in a game. The head coach has three kids he's gone to all season: two boys who are really good and love to pitch, and his son-- a boy who clearly doesn't want to be there.

As of last Thursday, the team's record was 3 and 11-- the bottom of their league. And the kids were frustrated.

We had just four games left in the season (before tournament time). Because the head coach is on vacation, Ryan was given the task of coaching all of those remaining games.

One by-product of Ryan's temporary position is that Joseph would finally get a real shot on the mound-- not because he's our son, but because Joseph really wants to try, and because he really believes the boy can do it.

And quite frankly, he needs a third pitcher.

So how'd my boys do?

Well, we lost the first game: 9-8 -- against a team that is tied for first place.

Joseph was the closer, facing the meat of the order and striking out four batters in two innings, but letting go three walks and one run in the bottom of the 6th-- on a hit that was just fair that won the game for the other team.

But still his teammates were thrilled. It was close, and they all played well.

Okay, I need to stop a moment here, and share my astonishment at the fact that my son so desperately wants to do this. I understand the whole desire to play baseball-- but wanting to put himself out there, take on so much responsibility (as if he doesn't have enough).

It just boggles my mind.

Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon. The kids faced yet another strong team with a winning record.

But they were ready, making terrific plays in the field, and hitting the ball well-- resulting in a 4-4 tie going into the top of the fifth inning.

When Joseph -- the left-hander -- took the mound.

He threw three balls outside the strike zone, and was poised to walk the first batter he faced.

But then, as I held my breath and watched in amazement, my son stayed composed and threw three beautiful pitches -- striking out that first batter.

The second batter hit the ball sharply to right field for a single.

The third batter -- the top of the order -- stepped up.

Joseph struck him out in four pitches.

Finally, the fourth batter grounded out to the second baseman.

Joseph had hit the strike zone with every pitch.

In the bottom of the fifth we scored a run to take a one-run lead, bringing us to the top of the 6th inning.

Again, throwing nothing but strikes, Joseph got the first batter to hit a ground ball to the short stop (1 out!).

Next was a fly ball that was caught in center field. (2 out!).

And then the third batter hit a single.

The next kid hit a seeing-eye bounder that got by the short stop, second baseman and the center fielder.

They scored the tying run and now had the go-ahead run on third.

This prompted a conference on the mound. Joseph said he was ready to go, but his teammates wanted to first tell him that they were behind him.

That if he got the batter to hit that ball, they would be on it.

The next batter stepped to the plate, hit a ground ball to second base, and was promptly thrown out-- ending the inning.

The kids knew they had a tie in their back pocket (they can only play six innings in this league), but man they wanted that win.

Our lead-off batter, Stephen, legged a single into a double and was now in scoring position.

Joseph stepped to the plate and grounded out-- sacrificing Stephen to third base.

The next kid struck out.

But the last batter-- a sweet kid who is not a big hitter -- with one ball and two strikes, hit a slow rolling single that drove in the winning run.

The team (and their families) went nuts-- you'd have thought it was the last game of the World Series.


On the diabetes front, Joseph's "trainer" (that would be me) worked with the closer to bring down a blood sugar that was 377 at game time (clearly adrenaline was the culprit).

As he stepped on the rubber an hour later, his bg was 261 and falling.

Two hours post game, Joseph was 99 and still on cloud nine.


Nicole P said...

I love baseball. I adore this post. And I'm proud of Joseph!

Congrats, Sandra.


Angie said...

You let him go ahead and play with high BG? I would have been terrified. Cassie can't do anything if her BG is above 250 for fear she will go higher. I may have to rethink that one. Congrats on the game! I got tense and excited reading all the details!

julia said...

Whooohooo! Go Joseph! That was an awesome play-by-play, Sandra. I'm impressed with both of you.

The Red Sox just got a pitcher with Type 1. It's a shame he kind of sucks, because Olivia thought it was very cool.

Taocat said...

Wonderful play by play. I am so thrilled for you and Joseph.

Brings back so many memories of my son and his baseball days!

Now I will be content with my 3 granddaughters and their sports - Shilo who is 10.5 has expressed interest in golf - that's makes Grampa Steve VERY happy and Reese, who is 7 swims like a fish!

And Kylee Ann (dxd type 1 on May 8-06) already has a natural golf swing - but then her Daddy, my son Scott, is a head golf pro - what more could we expect from her!!!

Stay tuned folks, she could be the next Michelle Wie!!!!

You are an awesome mom Sandra! We are blessed to have you here!

ScW said...

Julia... you are of course speaking of Jason Johnson... and while he doesn't have great stats... I'd argue that you don't log ~1300 innings in the major leagues if you totally suck. Jason's numbers are certainly a little underwhelming but when you realize that he's been steadily employed in mlb since 1997... he's still an inspiration. Near as I can tell he was the first type 1 diabetic to have been diagnosed younger than adulthood (he was 11) and make it to the majors (Ron Santo was diagnosed just after signing a contract to play for the Cubs).

Scott K. Johnson said...

What a great play by play of such a fun and encouraging game!!!

We are proud of you Joseph! Way to rock their world!!

Johnboy said...

How awesome is that? :)

Joseph really seems to have a passion for pitching. This accomplishment will no doubt boost his confidence.

The situation that you describe, Sandra, is team sports as its best. When all the players rally together. It's really great experience!

Kerri. said...

Seriously, that kid is something else. I really enjoy the pictures that you post of the kids and the grin that's on Joseph's face almost 100% of the time.

And congrats to Ryan, too, for his foray into coaching!

Vivian said...

Congrats to the team, Joseph, You, hubby, it sounds like it was a winner for all of you. Honestly, is there anything that child cannot do? You should be very proud of him and yourself. Thanks for sharing that great game with us all.

Penny said...

Thanks for sharing this story Sandra. I too love baseball and your play by play had me on the edge of my seat. I'm so proud of Joseph.

Also, congrats on not letting the high sugar stop him from playing. He's really learning some life leasons as well as baseball.

We are toying with the idea of signing Riley up for soccer, since he has shown an interest. (Maybe because World Cup is on our TV a lot lately)But, it scares me every time I think of dealing with sports and diabetes. But, we'll just have to jump in and learn as we go.

Ellen said...


BTW, Sandra, you may want to consider the profession of sports reporter - you have talent. :-)

Beanie Baby said...

Congrats Joseph!

That was an awesome post. I hate baseball, and I still enjoyed it.

terrilynn said...

Hooray for Joseph! This post made me a little weepy.