My just-turned 10 year old son has developed into quite the pitcher this year. Tonight he pitched 2 and 2/3rds innings and had 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 1 out when he caught a pop-fly to the mound. He threw a total of 44 pitches.
He doesn’t have much smoke yet, but we are working on his off-speed pitch and working on keeping the batters off-balance. The big boy (is he really in 5th grade?) got up to bat and my son started him off inside at belt level for a swing and a miss. I yelled out to him, “Keep him off balance JB!” He threw the next one low and it hit the dirt just behind the plate for a ball. I was proud of him for that pitch. That is just what we’ve been working on–moving the ball around. The next pitch was again low around the ankles and Big Joe swung and missed. I yelled out, “I see you 99! Keep him off balance!” I knew he was going to throw some heat since he was pumped and ahead in the count. I had no idea where he’d throw it, but I was hoping it would look different than the previous two pitches. Big Joe’s coach was reminding him he had two strikes on him- he had to swing at anything close. The big boy was visibly nervous when he stepped into the box. My son threw him a high fastball (it came across the plate around Big Joe’s shoulders. He was trying to throw it hard and his timing got off…) and he swung, his bat cutting underneath the ball by about six inches. WooHoo!!! Strike three! The inning was over…
We still lost 8 to 3, but my son gave up no runs.
I put him to bed tonight around 10:15, and he promptly brought out his 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time and tried to read about A-Rod by the sliver of light coming in from the hallway bathroom.
He’s got the fever. I’ve got the fever. Hell, even my wife had a t-shirt printed up with “JB’s Mom” across the front and “99” on the back.
Tonight’s a night for celebration and reflection. I’ll get back to the market in the morning.