Oh What a Mother's Day
Morning, afternoon and night... This is my first #CB90 blog post and what better way to get it kick-started than reminiscing about Mother's Day at Founders Park, which saw the YardCocks enjoy a 4-3 walk off win against the #4 ranked Mississippi St. Bulldogs!
First off, what a day to be at the ballpark! From the $1 waters being sold in the parking lot on your way into the Park to the pump up video in the middle of the 9th that had everyone's blood rushing with anticipation for what was to come, it was a GREAT DAY for baseball!
Now to the ballgame, this had the makings of an SVP "Bad Beat" all over it for the YardCocks! We jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after a MONSTER COCKBOMB by David Mendham (more from him later) in the bottom of the 2nd. Mendham was getting his first start of the weekend and also had his family in attendance from Canada... WHAT A MOMENT! But... in true YardCocks (Gamecocks) fashion, we slowly but surely squandered away the early lead like a death by 1,000 cuts. Mississippi St was able to answer right back in the Top of the 3rd with one run and you could feel the wind being let out of the sails.
This was Thomas Farr's first Sunday start of the year after being the Friday night starter since the opening game, every Gamecock fan in attendance and watching on the SEC Network was wishing, hoping and praying for his 1st SEC win. He's been having one of those years (ala Jacob DeGrom) where his stuff is good enough to win every night but just hasn't been getting the run support needed to notch that first W.
Back to the game, after only giving up one run in the 3rd, the game quieted down for (an) inning until the Bulldogs struck in the Top of the 5th with their own DOG BOMB to tie the game at 2-2. Now the wind had been fully released from the sails and us fans were sitting in the doldrums wondering when the next gust would come for the YardCocks... It would be at least an hour in those doldrums for all COCKS fans in attendance as the YardCocks couldn't answer the 5th.
Moving to the 6th, with the heat slowly picking up a couple degrees along with the blood pressure of each COCKS fan, we knew it wasn't a matter of IF but WHEN the Bulldogs would strike. NO NEED to wait long as Rowdey Jordan sent a rocket over the right field fence with one out in the 6th to take a 3-2 lead... I believe Rowdey had to enjoy this BOMB just a little more than others as the Rowdy Roosters were giving him hell before the at bat. One fan yelled, "I don't know why your parents named you Rowdey, you haven't done anything ALL DAY!"... and it was at that moment the real Rowdey stood up for that inning... (insert sad face for all YardCocks fans)
As we moved to the bottom of the 6th, we could feel the breeze slowly starting to pick up... On Milone, On Calil and On Allen they go! With the bases loaded and no outs you knew that Santa was delivering at least one run this inning for his NICE Gamecock fans... Plot twist... these Gamecock fans were NAUGHTY! With the meat of the order up, we watched painfully as Eyster flied out to shallow center and Burgess ground into a double play to end the inning... Not a runner sniffed the plate with the bases loaded and no outs... (insert another sad face for our YardCocks fans)
We moved through 7th and 8th innings like a hot knife through butter as neither team had a runner advance past 2nd. This is a great time to throw out the Brett Kerry appreciation post, as although he gave up the dinger to Rowdey, that would be his only earned run given up on the day through SIX INNINGS of work (do we have a new weekend starter on our hands?)... More on that later!
We get to the 9th, the moment of truth for ALL GAMECOCK FANS... would this be yet another sweep in back to back weekends for the YardCocks or would this team find something DEEP down inside to BATTLE BACK and force this game to extras or win in walk off fashion... Looking back at my tweets, after giving a shout out to Kerry for some excellent pitching through (5) innings of work at that time... I asked for some MAGIC in the bottom of the 9th... and boy did we get it! Burgess lead us off with a single (brought in Noah Myers to pinch run... had to save Burgess' legs from falling off) and again the MEAT of the order was up. Clark followed it up with a single up the middle and there we were again, runners on 1st and 2nd and NO OUTS... would the Gamecock fans go down in the surrender cobra fashion or would there be a big gust of wind to lift up these battered sails and take us off into the sunset... it would be a bit of both over the next 5 minutes... Michael Robinson came in to pinch hit for Sightler, he was in there simply to drop a bunt down and move over the runners... simply seemed like a misuse of words as he popped the bunt up to 1st baseman and every Gamecock fan in the park was left shaking their heads saying "NOT AGAIN... PLEASE NOT AGAIN"... The small ball at that moment didn't work and you had to ask yourself if Kingston had outsmarted himself again taking the bat out of his #5 hitter only to watch the bunt attempt be squandered away. On comes another pinch hitter, Jeff Heinrich, whose been platooning over at 3rd base all year. Would this be his moment? YES IT WOULD! Heinrich drove a ball down the 1st base line which saw Myers come into score and tie the ball game. Unfortunately Clark would be left at 3rd as the wheels couldn't move fast enough to score him from first (note with a successful bunt the game would be over as Clark would've scored easily from 2nd). Mendham was walked, taking away his chances for a storybook ending (or would it?) and brought another pinch hitter to the plate, Connor Cino. Would this be the magical moment for the freshman from Mt. Pleasant, SC? Today wouldn't be that day as Cino went down swinging. Our last hope, George Calil stepped to the plate, would it be Georgie's day? NO IT WOULDN'T! Strikes out looking and we go to EXTRAS!
PHEW! If you're reading this, I'm just as exhausted as you're at this point...What a bottom of the 9th inning! It was almost as if it was a culmination of being a Gamecock fan all wrapped up into one half inning of baseball. Hopes lifted, sunk, lifted and sunk again all in a mere 10 minutes. We move to the 10th where it was harmless, as no runner advanced past 2nd base. Pause to give another round of applause to Brett Kerry for a solid SIX innings of work!
We move to the 11th where Julian Bosnic was brought in to turn the lights out to the party. After a spectacular #SCTOP10 play by the left fielder (believed to have been Noah Myers but with as many pinch hitters as we had in the 9th you can't be too certain...) we started to sweat a little. The umpires' strike zone got a little tighter (crazy to think we haven't talked about the umpires to this point, was this really a Gamecocks game if we didn't talk about the umps?) and Bosnic put a runner on 1st with a walk and one out on the scoreboard. After a great pick off attempt in which my IPhone 12 captured the runner being tagged before tagging first base, the umpires ruled against my IPhone camera and called him safe. BOOOOO!!!! Bosnic the retaliated with some flamethrowing heat to get Leggett to strike out swinging and Hatcher to ground out to 2nd. ON TO THE BOTTOM OF THE 11th WE GO...
Would this be the walk off moment we'd all been dreaming of over the last (4)+ hours? (que the wink) The inning starts off with a lack luster groundout to 2nd base and the sighs started to pour out from around Gamecock Nation UNTIL... Heinrich, stepping in for his 2nd at bat of the day after pinch hitting in the 9th, comes up with a base knock to put him 2-2 on the day and (hopefully) securing the starting 3rd base job for the Clempsun game Tuesday night (one can dream)... QUE THE MUSIC! The Man of the Hour has arrived! Mendham standing 6'3 and all of 220 pounds steps to the plate with the lumber resting on his shoulder and one thing on his mind... BALLGAME! HE LAUNCHES a SHOT into the left-center gap and Heinrich scores all the way from 1st on a play at the plate and the Series had been salvaged and THE WIND WAS LIFTED BACK INTO THE SAILS TO ALL OF GAMECOCK NATION!
After slapping hands with everyone around me it was truly a GREAT DAY to be a GAMECOCK! Not too many times in your lifetime due you get to experience and rush like that where the COCKS are on the winning end of a spectacular ballgame... but TODAY WAS THAT DAY! The only thing missing for me was not having my mom there to embrace on that Mother's Day but the libations and laughs from Friday's graduation which saw my little sister walk across the stage made up for that! IT TRULY WAS A MOTHER'S DAY TO REMEMBER!
While this first blog post might've turned into more of a story, I hope you all enjoyed and got to feel the Gamecock rush as I did through my eyes this past Sunday. HUGE WIN FOR THE YARDCOCKS and BIG GAME against the TATERS TONIGHT! LET'S GET THE SWEEP!