As the season went on, however, the competition learned how to field the stealing of bases but it seemed for many games the Dodgers did not. Bear struggled through many games, it’s hard to stay focused when you’re down by double digits. It prompted his father to say over and over, “that boy’s got a lot of quit in him.”
One game, late in the season, the boys found something they had been lacking. They started an inning up…WAY up on the score. They found confidence and they found drive….and they WON. Then there was no stopping them, they’d figured it out. They’d seen themselves make plays, smash the ball, and yes, even steal home again. They became a team and IT. WAS. AWESOME. The games were heart stopping at times. They won 5 in a row, many times only by one run…but it was enough. They were WINNERS. Teams were now talking about them. Coaches were saying, “Don’t underestimate the Dodgers, they came here to win!” The season was saved.
Then…it was tournament time, the Dodgers have played together for a couple of years so historically, for them, the tournament meant one and done. But this year, they found the love of the game. They had heart. They won the first game in the tournament. Then came the second game, THE ANGELS. The second toughest team in the league. The Dodgers played hard. They made plays. They lost a pitcher, due to a “lack of protection” injury, their catcher tried to make a play at home plate and got his fingers stepped on (I thought he beat the runner, but I’m, unfortunately, not the ump.) and they nearly lost a first baseman to a midair collision with the runner. They played their hearts out and in the last inning, they tied it up.
The Angels were up to bat and the first batter up was thrown out at first. We were screaming. My heart was pounding. It was a game for all time. And then the next two batters annihilated the ball and the Angels, score two runs…the score was TIED again. Would the pitcher throw the perfect strikes? Would the outfielders make the perfect play?
No…not this year…the Angels won. The Dodgers were heartbroken. Truly, there were more teary 10 year old leaving that dugout than I’ve ever seen…EVER . But I couldn’t have been more proud. The played their hearts out. They challenged the Angels to the toughest game of the season. The Angels were scared…and lucky.