Every Coach’s Dream, A True Story about Dixie Youth Baseball in Three Small Towns, by Harold A Brown
Chapter 15: League Game Twelve – Nolensville Blue
Life isn’t about saving, it’s about scattering.
Game twelve, against Nolensville Blue, was the final game of the regular season. Teddy would get his first start on the mound. Bryan Cummings would walk but decided to use his speed to steal second base. Owen made a perfect throw to Lajuane at second for the tag and out number one.
Sam Mosley would walk. Oh, those base on balls. Teddy was not giving his team the chance they needed to play defense. Lou Ray Grimes was hitting in the number three spot and didn’t want anything to do with a base on balls. Lou Ray and Teddy were buddies and each wanted to out do the other. On this particular occasion Lou Ray got the better of Teddy with a base hit that scored Sam. Nunn Arledge was batting in the clean up position but was satisfied with a walk. Coach had seen enough and made a pitching change.
Rocket took the rock but walked the first batter he faced. He then struck out Benjamin Holt for the second out. The bases were loaded for Adam Cook. His bat was struggling but he was more than capable of putting the ball out of the park. The story had gotten around about the towering homer he hit at College Grove. Rocket pitched Adam very carefully but the walk he gave up forced the runner at third home. Rocket struck out their eighth batter to end the top of the first. Three runners were left on base.
Bobby Stephenson, the Blue team coach, had a knack for getting the best out of his players. The Red team had won all four meetings between them and Bobby would love to get at least one win before the season was over. This would be his last chance.
Adam Cook would be facing the Red team tonight. Lajuane out waited Adam and drew a walk. Getting that lead off batter on base is always a boost. Owen was more aggressive at the plate and was looking for something that he could hit. Adam was throwing the ball around the plate but Owen was not able to straighten one out for a hit. After fouling two off, Adam won the battle with his first strike out of the inning. Marty hit the second pitch he saw for a base hit. The Red team had runners on the corners. Rocket was batting in the number four spot and he ripped the second pitch he saw into the outfield for a double that scored the speedy Marty Jones. They had tied the score. Jimmy Johnson was a bit more selective about the pitch he chased. He tagged a shot to right field for a single but thought he could get one more base out of it. Benjamin was playing right field and used his accurate arm to throw Jimmy out at second. His single did score Rocket from second and the Red team had the lead.
Darrell walked and Teddy flied out to center field. Coach Stephenson did a masterful job of placing his outfielders.
Rocket would face Michael Howell first at the top of the second. He accepted the challenge by striking him out and then striking out Bryan. Rocket celebrated by giving Sam a free pass. Lou Ray was hitting everything he saw. His single encouraged the third base coach to sent Sam home. Jimmy sent the ball home and Owen tagged a surprise Sam as he slid toward home plate. Three outs with one left on base.
Adam returned to the mound to face Derek Pack and Frank Ogilvie. He hit Derek and then walked Frank on four straight pitches. At this age it sometimes upsets the pitcher if he hit another player. That is especially true if they know each other. Coach Stephenson chose to put Bryan on the mound. Lajuane tripled in Derek and Frank, Owen doubled in Lajuane, Marty doubled in Owen, Rocket doubled in Marty and Jimmy singled in Rocket.
Bryan was throwing strikes but everyone was getting the bat on the ball. Darrell nailed a single, Jimmy singled, Teddy singled loading the bases. Derek hit into a fielder’s choice. The shortstop, Nunn Arledge, forced Jimmy out at home. Frank also hit into a fielder’s that forced Darrell out at home with a throw from the pitcher to the plate. The bases were still loaded when Lajuane made his second appearance to the plate. He popped his first pitch to Lou Ray at first base for the final out of the inning.
Coach was sure that Rocket was playing to his competition. Nunn got on base with an error and Vest walked on six pitches. Benjamin struck out and Adam walked. Rocket struck out the next batter on three pitches. Rocket was proving Coach’s suspicion. Michael walked and forced in a run. The bases were loaded for Bryan. He doubled to right field and scored all three runners on base. Bryan had speed and felt sure about turning that double into a triple. Teddy was covering right field and brought the ball home to prevent a run. Owen took advantage of the strong throw from Teddy with a throw to Jimmy on third for the tag on Bryan and the final out of the inning. The Blue team had pulled within three runs of the Red team.
Nunn would move to the mound for the bottom of the third. He got Owen on three pitches but Marty would single to center. Rocket would double to center and Jimmy would single to right and score Marty. Nunn would get Darrell on three strikes. Teddy got his second single of the game and scored Rocket. Derek flied out to first, finishing the inning.
Rocket would face Chris Wence to start the fourth. One strikeout. Lou Ray singled for the third time in the game. Nunn doubled but Lou Ray was held at third. Vest struck out and Benjamin walked. Adam was up with bases loaded. He could bring the game into reach with one swing of the bat. Rocket was more than up for the challenge and recorded the third strikeout of the inning, leaving all three base runners standing on the bags.
Nunn would come back for the bottom of the fourth. Brad Alexander would work a walk out of Nunn and steal second. Lajuane would walk and Owen would hit into a fielder’s choice that would force Brad out at third. Lajuane got picked off trying to steal second. Marty tripled Owen home and Rocket singled but get tagged going to second before Marty could score.
Jimmy needed defensive help to get through the fifth. He walked batter number eight and struck out Michael, batter number nine. Bryan’s single scored batter number eight, Jeremy Johnson. Chris walked. Lou Ray hit into a fielder’s choice to third that forced Bryan out. With two outs Nunn hit to second for the force out of Lou Ray.
Nolensville Blue 7, Nolensville Red 12
Bobby Stephenson: Coach Stephenson may have lost the battle but not the war. He would take advantage of many more seasons in which he would out score the Red team’s coach. If the victories were all counted between these two coaches you could almost count on Coach Stephenson leading in victories. Bobby had a heart attack several years ago that took his life. Even when death is expected it is unexpected. His leaving left a hole that will never be filled.
Life isn’t about saving, it’s about scattering.