Every Coach’s Dream, Chapter 6

Every Coach’s Dream, A True Story about Dixie Youth Baseball in Three Small Towns, by Harold A Brown

Chapter 6: League Game Three – College Grove

The strength of the individual is team and the strength of the team is the individual.

They had every confidence about their third game. College Grove would come to Nolensville on Monday and Darrell Skinner would be the starting pitcher.

Mike House would start for The Grove. Coach Terry Bennett would use the same formula for almost every game. Each of his three best pitchers would pitch two innings each game. They were at the top of his batting order. With the weaker hitters on the bottom half. The trick was to throw strikes because they didn’t want to swing their bats.

Darrell walked Keith Bennett, their lead off hitter, on five pitches. Toby Pace followed him but Darrell struck him out with his sixth pitch.

Mike House was in the third spot and collected a single on Darryl’s first pitch. He tried to stretch it into a double when Keith tried to convince Lajuane that he was going to run home. Lajuane faked the throw home but went to second base for the second out. Mike House was a good twelve year old player. His father was the assistant coach on College Grove’s team.

John House: John was a Methodist preacher and thought of baseball as a second job. Mike would later play for Coach on his 15-16 year old team.

Lakeith Vaughn, the best athlete on their team, got a home run off of Darrell’s first pitch. Two runs scored. That is how they played. The big sticks were their money players.

J.D. Martin also hit Darrell’s first pitch for a base hit. Darrell was throwing strikes, they were just being hit where the defense couldn’t do anything about it. Their sixth hitter was struck out on three straight pitchesRunners were needed in the bottom of the first. Lajuane walked on six pitched and Marty got another double. Coach was feeling good with runners on second and third. Jimmy Johnson, Rocket, and Darryl struck out in turn. This was not a good sign but it wasn’t because the players didn’t care. Their seventh batter walked but eight and nine struck out. Darrell was small but certainly a gamer. Keith Bennett, the top of College Grove’s order, walked and Toby Pace moved him to second with a base hit. Mike House hit a line drive to Jimmy for the last out.

Owen grounded out to first while Frank and Alex struck out. The score at the top of the third was two to nothing. Pure entertainment unless you are a coach or parent.

Darrell was doing his job on the mound but the baseball seemed to have eyes for College Grove. Lakeith Vaughn led off with a double. He was long and lean, a recipe for speed. The next two batters hit singles and scored Lakeith. Darrell was ready for relief so he switched places at first with Jimmy. He walked the next batter and then struck out the next two. Coach was feeling good about the move. Keith Bennett, with the count one and one, got the bat on Jimmy Johnson’s third pitch. His triple scored the three runners on base but his greed got him thrown out at home with a good throw from the outfield. Luck was not the Red team’s lady tonight.

Teddy Hannah and Lajuane Stewart struck out to start the bottom of the third and Marty Jones hit a liner back to Mike House on the mound.

College Grove scored six more runs in the fourth and fifth innings and nothing in the sixth. Twelve to nothing is not what Coach had expected.

The bottom of the sixth would bring Lakeith Vaughn to the mound. His control was never very good but he threw hard. With the lead that College Grove had, there wasn’t much chance that they would lose their lead. The kids just had to make him work. Marty hit a single and stole second and third. Jimmy struck out and Rocket walked and stole second. Darrell and Owen walked. Brad Alexander struck out and Alex Lankford hit the ball at the shortstop. The shortstop’s error allowed the two base runner to score. Teddy struck out to finish the game.

The strength of the individual is team and the strength of the team is the individual. 

College Grove 12, Nolensville Red 2

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