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Published: September 12th 2007
This weekend we faced the Black Vikings in a 3-game series that would decide who would finish first place in the Lithuanian Regular Season Championship.
The games were played in front of a record sell-out crowd—I would say that including the younger players watching, parents, friends, and a few spectators who had happened upon the field somehow, there was somewhere between 20 and 30 spectators (closer to 20). As silly as it sounds, I think the crowd heightened the pressure on our guys to play well. And I have to say that I even felt some of this extra pressure to play well now that ‘people are watching.’
We faced Eimantas, a crafty and hard-throwing lefty for Vikingas. In our first meeting he had pitched 14 innings in one day over two games. He is by far the toughest pitcher we face in Lithuania—mainly because he is a lefty and his release is from three-quarters, which throws our lefties off a bit. I was our starting pitcher but was taken out in the middle of the second inning after a groundball deflected off my glove and into my thumb on my throwing hand, which prevented me from throwing the ball normally. Marijus came in in relief, allowing one more run that was mine and then pitching 1-run ball over the next six innings. Marijus pitched well but it was not enough, as we lost 3-1. We had numerous innings with runners in scoring position and less than two outs but were unable to convert. Even a runner on third in the 5th inning with one out, a perfect squeeze opportunity, but we did not put on the squeeze play.
The second game we won, 8-5. Marijus pitched the second game as well.
The following day I pitched, we won by slaughter 14-4 in the seventh. We had five home runs on the weekend, two from Marijus Dargus, one from Vitas, one from Shakylas, and a walk-off home run by myself to end Sunday’s game in the seventh.
After our Sunday game I stayed at the stadium with Viktorija to watch the Second-Team play. They won both games, finishing third in the Lithuanian Second Division championship. There was one great play where an opposing player stole second, and as he got close to second base he sort of ducked his head, fell into a forward ninja roll, and then into a slide, landing right on the base. Safe!! I still am not sure if it was intentional or unintentional, though I think it was somewhere in-between. It was so funny that the game paused momentarily so that everyone could have a laugh and catch their breath from laughing so hard.
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