Monday, June 25, 2012

Baseball - What a Season

I have been putting off writing this blog post.  Not because baseball went bad this year but because 1) my camera went out and it was in the hospital (and still is) all season.  It kills me that I didn't have it.  And 2) this season was so stressful that I needed to unwind before being able to put my thoughts together here. 

Where to start...well Coach Joel planned on coaching and with the draft we weren't sure if we'd be on his team.  Other parents have their kids "throw" tryouts but we couldn't ask Matt to do poorly and even if we would have, it's not in his nature.  So when Coach Joel told us he got Matt we were excited.  He was also able to get the boy's friend Cole too.  So we were off to a great start with Joel, Doug and Dan coaching together again. 

The first practice was...interesting.  Some of our kids had never even played t-ball and here they were playing coach pitch!  I would have bet that 3-4 of the 11 kids might not have hit the ball all year.  The coaches worked hard!  We lost the first game but never lost again!  We were the league champions and even won the end-of-the-season tournament with Coach Joel and Caden out on vacation.  These boys were amazing.  Every one of them. 

Our infield was unbelievable.  Matt played first base and did an excellent job.  Boy did that make me nervous all season!  Just check out this picture...he's in the dirt, with his foot on the bag and throwing the ball!
Cole played 2nd, Caden at short and a new teammate Jason on third.  Line drive to third, field it and out at first.  I don't think I have ever seen a play made from 3rd base in 6U baseball.  Play at short? Caden grabs it and slings it perfectly into Matt's glove.  Pop ups hit down the first or third base line? Caught - out.  It was unreal. 

This season I have so many wonderful moments to remember.  First one is this...Matt barely catches the ball at first.  He's reaching and grabs it and just as it hits his glove he takes off to make the play at home.  He gets the runner out at home and the team goes crazy.  This video is not great as I got too excited but you can see most of the play...
I wish I would have kept the video running because Caden runs over to celebrate and his teammates are all giving him high fives.  It was awesome. 

The other moment...big game against the Giants who were undefeated at the time.  Our boys played almost perfect the entire game.  It ends with Caden catching a pop fly and then tagging the runner who had already left the base.  Matt runs to him and lifts him in the air.  They knew this was a big game and they celebrated like they won the world series. 

Towards the end of the season the boys were exhausted.  Not to mention the stress of keeping up their winning streak.  No stress by the coaches but by the boys themselves.  They were determined.  Our pitcher (he doesn't actually pitch - just plays the position) struggled a bit at the end of the season.  At one point during the game Matt goes out to the mound.  No one knows what he's saying but he talks to Julian for about 30 seconds.  His arms are moving and he's dead serious.  After the game I asked him what he was saying and he said, "I was just telling him that he has to pick the ball up with his hand, not his glove and get it to first."  I have to say that I'm impressed that he knew that was the problem and took the initiative to do some coaching on his own!

And lastly, the last 2 games of the tournament we were behind going into the last inning.  Matt was the winning run in both games.  What are the odds?  He was not afraid or nervous.  He wanted to be up to bat, he wanted to whack that ball and he wanted to haul...bum around the bases to score.  He knew his Dad was going to send him around no matter what and he loved it.  He went crazy in both games when he slid home.  That was pretty awesome to witness. 

A few other cool things about this season...Matt hit lefty for the first time in a game.  He actually went 4 for 5 from the left side.  Once he hit it right to the first baseman and got out.  The first few tries were just little dribblers to the shortstop but he got on base.  By the last time he hit a decent ball in the outfield and got a double.  Very exciting for him.  Here's his first hit...
And here's his 5th try...
Towards the end of the season Matt was cranking it out right-handed.  Here are a few triples...
What was also great about this season is that it seemed like our entire elementary school was playing.  Matt almost knew someone on each team we played.  So the boys talked a lot of baseball in the classroom and Matt was pumped to talk about how well they did.  Another very special moment was when his teacher, Mrs. Grady, came to watch the last game of the season.  Matt was so excited she was there. 
Of course we're always excited to have family there too and Uncle Jay being there is always a big deal to Matt and Caden too!
Thanks Coaches for a great year!  It was awesome but I'm happy to lose a few games next year to relieve the stress!  I must have aged 5 years during this season!  Thanks to Dad for coaching and for taking Matt to hit balls on Saturday mornings.  Matt can't seem to get enough.  There are a few more pictures in the slide show!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Marlie's 5th Birthday!

Marlie was so excited about her birthday this year.  She had her "school" birthday the last week of school and she loved being the center of attention.  The kids sang to her and at one point she shouted "sing it louder"!  They also had a birthday parade.  Thank you Mrs. Lisa & Mrs. Alex for making her day so special!
We had our real birthday party this weekend and the girls had so much fun!  We got all dressed up in pink...
and headed in town to see the musical Pinkalicious!  I was so proud of Daddy and Matt wearing PINK too! The girls were all adorable and they even got autographs from all the cast members at the end of the show.  Marlie told them right away that it was her birthday so they sang Happy Birthday to her and she loved it!
Then we came home and the girls got to open the pinata.  It was so funny how they all very carefully selected their goodies from the pile without a hurry in the world. 
Mrs. Jackie made us a wonderful cake and cupcakes.  I actually saved a cupcake for myself to eat later and it was so good! 
 I love these pictures of Marlie while we're singing.  You can see the excitement all over her face.  She added cha-cha-cha to the song along the way.  She insisted on wearing her crown from school and on wearing this ribbon she spotted at Walmart...too funny!
The fun didn't stop there.  Once everyone left Matt played Happy Birthday to Marlie on the guitar.  She loved it!
We opened gifts and she was complete smiles.  She got the best gifts from all her friends.  She was completely excited about each one! Matt was by her side the entire time reading the cards for her and helping get the gifts so she could open them.  Then they got silly!
 Marlie started making funny faces so I decided I would try to capture all of her expressions. 
This girl is full of personality!  Matt thank you for being so helpful all day and making your sister's birthday special.  Matt had several jobs throughout the day from handing out tickets and goodie bags to making sure the balloons didn't all fly out of my car! He scored a perfect 10 on each!

There are a few more pictures in the slide show.  Marlie I hope you had a wonderful birthday!  We love you so much!