Michael Sullivan Online


Week 26: Mike Breaks Out

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 1 November 2000 - This was another good week for Mike. On Saturday morning, Mike's junior team had another great game. The high talent on the team allows Mike to show the players the finer points of the game although playing a team of similar ability would be good too. A training for coaches this week and a bye the following week means that Mike's junior team doesn't have a game for two weeks.

On late in the afternoon on Saturday, Mike went with Steve and Stacey to Oktoberfest. While there, Mike and others had some German beer, which wasn't the best he'd had, and a couple brats. Even though the beer wasn't the greatest, Mike took his stein up for a refill often enough. The event took place in a big shed/hall at the local equivalent of a fairgrounds. They had a polka band that was pretty average by Mike's standards but a pretty good yodeller. Mike, Steve, and Stacey met Andrew, one of Steve and Stacey's housemates, there and got to know some of his co-workers who were there. Andrew's boss's kids were the cutest though. They ran around with a buzzer that rattled when shaking someone's hand. They came up to Mike and asked to shake his hand. He didn't know what was going on but quickly obliged. When the hand buzzed, Mike was a bit startled and now understood the joke. Later in the evening, the kids got water guns and went around chasing adults that had guns as well and only a few unarmed people. They called it a night at about 10pm and Mike headed straight for bed.

The next moring, Mike had a baseball game. There was only the slight tinge in the head that dissipated after being up for a while. In the morning, the temperature was just above freezing so Mike packed a couple warmer clothes but once he went outside, he realized it was going to be a great day. After loosening up, Mike went in the batting cage and took some cuts. He was doing pretty well but was especially relaxed. Once the game started, he was in his zone. Because the normal coach was out of town, the substitute coach put Mike fifth in the batting order. Mike was surprised but he's not the one that decides these things. In addition, Mike started at catcher in a real game. he was pretty excited. Things went pretty smoothly behind the plate; a couple of balls got by Mike but with a curve ball pitcher there was a lot of balls in the dirt and way out of the strike zone. While some got away, Mike was able to make a handfull of good stops as well. Even though he gave up a stolen base or two, Mike did throw out a runner going to second.

At the plate, though, Mike broke out. He had been 0-5 in the three previous games; he went 2-3 with 2 RBI's and a walk in this game. In the first time through the order, he was only one of two people NOT to strike out and he got a hit off a 85-90 MPH pitcher. It was a slap that went to right field but it was a hit. His second hit was a ball that fell behind the short stop that the outfielder couldn't quite get to (a Texas leaguer). However, Ainslie was down by seven runs. They'd given up most of the runs in the early innings when people were a bit out of position. In the last inning, Mike came up to the plate with the bases loaded. He had a count of 3 balls and 1 strike and took a strike to work the count full. He proceed to foul off about three pitches that almost over his head. In his previous at bats, he'd made the pitchers go deep in the count as well but now he needed to get on anyway he could. On the next pitch, Mike hit a routine ball to the outfielder that allowed the runner at third to tag up and score. Unfortunately, Mike wasn't the hero this week but he did earn a lot of respect between his break out batting performance and his impressive catching. Ainslie ended up losing by a run or two. The A-grade team had a good game and Mike had a great time as Ainslie hit four home runs and won relatively easily.

Here ends Mike's sixth month in Australia.

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