Monday, 28 November 2011

ABL Week 4 - vs Adelaide Bite

So after my poor performance last week against Perth I was quite excited to redeem myself on the trip to Adelaide. Just like the last road trip we went on, Tyler Collins and me had to catch the train to the airport and luckily this time there were no delays so we got to the airport with no worries. The only problem was that we had to catch a 5:49am train to make it to the airport before 7:00am. We checked in and went to our gate and then had to sit and wait because our flight was delayed. We were suppose to leave at 9:00am but didn't start boarding until 9:15. It wasn't a long delay but is a delay long enough to annoy everyone. Just like the last road trip I loaded my iPad up with some movies. I watched the movie Hook on the flight which is one of my all time favourites.

Once we landed in Adelaide we had to walk about 400 metres to get to our vans. You may not think it's a long walk, but when you have to carry a 30 kg bag of baseballs with you, as well as carrying your own luggage, the walk becomes quite a pain. We loaded the vans and headed off to the hotel and once we arrived I could see why some people were so excited to get there. The hotel in a prime location since it is right next to a Woolworths supermarket which meant it shouldn't be too hard to buy some dinner and there was also a few fast food places nearby. I bought some tortilla wraps, a roast chicken, some cheese, lettuce and some noodles. As you can tell by my shopping purchases I was planning on making a few chicken wraps, and then some noodles. After I made lunch we had to leave for the field to play our first game.

Game 1
Now if you haven't had your heartbroken before, this game would have done it. We lost the game 8-6 on a walk off 3 run home run. We played good fundamental baseball for 8 1/2 innings but in the 9th the wheels fell off and Adelaide mounted a very improbable comeback as they scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to steal the game. We sent Dae-Sung Koo out to save the game like we always do but just like the greats do, he had a rough day. After saving his first 14 games in his ABL career he blew his first save in this game. Just because he had one bad day that doesn't mean he won't get the ball again when another save opportunity comes around again. Just like the greats do they bounce back after a rough outing. The reason this game was so hard to take in is because it was our 8th loss in a row and being so close to winning and having it stolen from you is like when you're a kid and a bully steals your favourite toy. It definitely was one of the hardest losses I have ever been apart of.

When we got back to the hotel we found out that we wouldn't be able to wash our uniforms since the laundry room at the hotel closed at 10:00pm and the maids had left so we had to play in smelly, dirty uniforms for the 2nd game. Luckily I'm a pitcher and when we're not pitching in the game we don't really sweat that much, but I feel sorry for the position players who were running around all game. I just hung my training uniform and playing cloths up to try and air them out.

On our second day in Adelaide I woke up just in time to get down to breakfast and get something to eat. There wasn't much variety, just cereals, toast and fruit but I'm not going to complain as long as I don't pay for it. After breakfast I just went back to my room and played games and watched Happy Gilmore on the iPad. It's definitely one of the best purchases I have made in a while. So many hours of entertainment can be stored on it.

It had also been quite wet all morning and afternoon with some rainfall. Everyone got ready, loaded their bags and team equipment into the vans and as soon as we were ready to go our manager got a call saying that batting practise has been cancelled due to the field being too wet. So we all got out of the vans and headed back to our rooms since we had another 90 minutes to kill. So like I always do, I got back into bed and continued to play on the iPad. We finally left for the field at 4:30pm and by then the rain had stopped but we were all preparing ourselves for a cold night.

Game 2
Once again we played good fundamental baseball, but this time it was for only 6 innings as an error lead to a 5 run 6th inning, and another error lead to a 6 run 7th inning for Adelaide and they put the game out of reach at 11-3. I was able to pitch this game and pitched a lot better than last week but it was still a bitter sweet feeling since we still lost. I came into the game in the 7th inning with loaded bases and none out. I struck out the first hitter and then induced a ground ball. We were able to get the out at 2nd base but an off target throw to 1st base to turn the double play pulled Boss Moanaroa off first base which allowed 2 runs to score. I then struck out the next batter to end the inning. When I came out for my first inning I had the top of the lineup to face. In the middle of my innings Matt Williams gave me small scouting reports on each of the hitters I was facing since he faced the bulk of the Adelaide lineup in the first game. I felt more prepared facing these hitters and felt like I had an advantage going out there. I walked the first hitter on 6 pitches but then got the next 3 hitters out and no further damage was done.

After the game we were able to wash our uniforms since we spoke to the hotel about letting us use the laundry room. So I chucked my uniform in with a couple of other players and while I waited for it to wash and dry I had dinner which was a cold roast chicken that I picked at to the bone. I was about to go to sleep and then someone started knocking on the door. When I got up to see who it was no one was there but my laundry was there on the floor. I was too tired to notice that my clothes were still wet so I just picked it up and threw it inside.

When I woke up in the morning I went to breakfast again then like I do, played on my iPad for a while. When it was time to get ready my clothes were still wet. So I tried to hang them up and blow dry them but it was very unsuccesful. The blow dryer in the hotel had the strength of a elderly relative breathing on you. Once it was time to leave my training clothes were still a bit damp but not as bad as before.

Game 3
Well, we did it. We broke our 9 game losing streak thanks to a great outing by Aiden Francis. I think great is an understatement. It was outstanding. He only allowed 3 hits, which he gave up in the first 2 innings and then went on to throw 6 no hit innings after that. His day finished off with 8 innings pitched, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 8 strike outs. We were helped by home runs from Tyler Collins and Alex Johnson and Dae-Sung Koo came into the game in the 9th inning to close it out and preserve the shutout.

We had to wait a little under 2 hours before the next game so we all went back to the clubhouse, and relaxed, ate some food, played a couple of ball games outside. I'm convinced that baseball players never grow up because we can make a game out of nothing. Just give us a baseball, and a an empty bottle and we'll figure something to do with it.

Game 4
The celebration was short lived as we went down 4-2 in the last game of the series. We played well again but just not enough to win it. Adelaide scored 3 of their runs on home runs and only scored in the middle innings. Collings, Johnson and Boss Moanaroa combined to go 7 for 15 while the rest of the lineup went 2 for 21. So some players are starting to heat up while some of the bats are still a bit cold. We still have a lot of the season to go so hopefully the entire lineup will hit form at the same time.

If you look back on last weekends results and how we played, we have made many improvements to our game. The team's spirit is still high and we are all behind each other.

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