Nats Fall to Sheboygan in 11 innings 7-6
It has been said in baseball that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes its a draw. Or something like that.
Wednesday night the Nationals traveled to Sheboygan for a State League matchup against the A's and the two teams traded body blows and roundhouses until the paid, but impartial, arbiter of the contest determined that enough was enough. Invoking a little known and unwritten rule of baseball, he helped expedite a speedy end to otherwise enjoyable contest between the two rivals that weren't interested in going home without a W.
That unwritten rule states that all weeknight games played by players without half days at work the following day must be decided by the 12th inning or before the witching hour/local curfew. If neither team agrees to succomb by their own volition, then he (the paid arbiter) is authorized to use the powers vested in him by the Umpires Association to bring a swift and merciful end to the contest by issuing intentional walks on behalf of the road pitcher until the winning run scores. Well done, sir. You get an "A" for effort and execution. Someone somewhere is proud.
Before the final outcome, it was a well played, enjoyable and competitive back and forth battle between two teams with high expectations for the 2017 season. The A's scored first with two runs in the second, but the Nats responded with three of their own in the top of the third. Not to be outdone, the A's matched those three to grab a 5-3 lead after three innings. A hustle run in the fifth brought the Nationals closer at 5-4, but the A's matched with a run in the bottom half of the inning to recapture a 2 runs lead at 6-4. Dan Scallon's two out RBI triple in the sixth scored Shey Smith to bring the Nats back to within a run leading to an exciting eighth inning, two out rally started by pinch runner Adam Karas' stolen base, followed by Kyle Kalkopf's pinch hit single, and finished by Scallon's second two out RBI of the contest to knot the score at 6.
At this point all hitters with day jobs began to fatigue and impressive pitching on both sides took center stage. Fast forward to the 11th and a story already told.
Once of the nice things about baseball is that there's always another game tomorrow, or in the case of the Nationals, two State League games this Saturday vs Oshkosh. It'll be the home opener for the locals and tickets are still available down the line near the bullpens...er, the areas where pitchers warm up.