Michael Sullivan Online


Week 46: Baseball Playoffs

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 19 March 2001 - Baseball dominated this week for Mike. On Thursday, Ainslie trained at the main baseball diamond in Canberra in preparation for the semi-final games over the weekend. On Friday, Mike, Steve and Stacey played pool after work then went and saw the movie Almost Famous. It was a good movie and everyone should see it if they get a chance.

On Saturday morning, Mike turned up at Narrabundah to get ready for the first game against the Indians, the third place team and the team Ainslie had played the week before. The infield was a bit wet so the game started a half hour late. Once things got underway, Ainslie surprised some by starting Rebert Kelly on the mound. He hadn't pitched for a couple of years and was able to use that to his advantage. He did a great job of mixing pitches and keeping the Indians guessing. The indians went with their best pitcher. In the end, Ainslie had a great game and won 8-5. They still had their ace pitcher and needed to win one game on Sunday to advance to the Championship game.

Sunday started early as he mentally prepared for his B-grade semi-final game. Unlike the A-grade, the B-grade only played one game to decide who advances. Mike had a pretty good game. He got on a couple of times and played well at second base and catcher. Unfortunately, the Bears didn't have their best game and lost 8-3.

In the A-grade game, Ainslie started their ace pitcher, Cameron Hardy. He pitched a whale of a game and gave up a total of four runs in his complete game in addition to some great hitting. However unlike Saturday, Ainslie didn't get the clutch hits. The game turned in the middle innings when they loaded the bases with noone out. The Indians struck out Grant Matsuda, the number three batter, and got the clean up batter out as well. This brought up Hardy but he wasn't able to deliver the hit. Ainslie ended up losing the game by a run and had to play the deciding game. During the course of the game, emotions were high and the benches cleared once when a runner hit the Ainslie catcher hard. Not much happened but a couple bench players were ejected for no apparent reason.

In the third game, Ainslie started their knuckleballer, Robert Amos. He didn't have his best stuff and had given up a couple of runs. Ainslie cam back with Hardy and he still had his good stuff even after pitching all of the first game. In the middle innings, there was a bit of a fracas again and the Ainslie catcher was thrown out for swearing and in another incident, Ainslie's relief pitcher, Steve "Hoss" Vickers, was thrown out. He had been ready if needed for the B-grade game but was to be used only in an emergency since he would be needed for the A-grade game. In the first game, he was tossed when he tried restraining one of his teamates. In the second game, he was sitting on the bench not doing anything and the umpire threw him out for no apparent reason. He surely would have gotten some work if he'd been available. When the catcher was tossed, Ainslie brought in the left fielder and wanted to bring in a player, but that player had gone home not thinking that he'd ever get in. Around the time of the ejection, Ainslie filed a protest as to the eligbility of the young Indians pitcher. He had to obey the under 16 pitching restrictions which state that he can't pitch again for 5 days if he pitched more than 30 pitches. In the first game, he pitched 32 pitches. The rule states that after his first pitch, the opposition must protest at that time and the penalty for breaking that rule is forfeiture of the game. The game was delayed for about a half hour as a committee of league officials considered the motion. In the end, they ruled that while he was ineligible, it had no effect on the game since it was just one pitch. In the end, Ainslie lost 12-9. Hardy displayed more heart that day than anyone had ever seen before. He had a great day hitting but his pitching was unbelievable. Between the two games, he had 274 pitches and was nearly able to carry the entire team on his shoulders. After the game finished at about 9:30pm, everyone stuck around the field and had a drink and a talk about the day. It was an incredible day of baseball. Both teams had dug deep and were very evenly matched. Mike had never seen such close and exciting games in his life. It had been a long day as Mike showed up at the ball park at 10am and left at about midnight. Even though Ainslie had lost in both grades, Mike was proud to be a Bear.

Here ends Mike's forty sixth week in Australia.

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