The smack of another pitch into the catcher's mit. The call by the umpire behind the plate. Often a ste-rike and then the old punch out signal.The batter turning to walk away with a half puzzled, half frustrated look etched into his face as he would head toward his dugout. Then on one occasion the sound of frustration being expressed against the metal walls of the dugout. Such was the way it played out over and over and over again for the Hawley Nugget Baseball team. The story of the contest was Davies Sophomore pitcher, Braeton Motschenbacher.
It took more tries that I ever would have expected to view the first high school baseball game of the year but better late then never. The weather is still not even less then ideal but there's no snow and the temperature was survivable. Sadly, those are the conditions that we choose to live within.
Wind & chill didn't stop the first of a doubleheader from going down between Davies & Hawley. The story could have been the difference in sharpness between the two teams - especially early. Hawley made several errors while playing the field during the first three innings but showed a special level of resolve. Instead of going through the motions for the final six innings, they came back and even managed to take the lead briefly.
The narrative also could have been that the Eagles had no interest in allowing the Nuggets to hang around for too long. The birds didn't 10 run their guests or anything like that but were only behind on the scoreboard for half an inning.
But no, it was all about Motschenbacher. He averaged more then one strike out per inning through the first seven innings and only got stronger as he kept going from the dugout to the mound, with four of the K's coming in two of the later innings.
But even with the best performer, baseball comes down to the team and the Nuggets as a unit made enough plays of their own to keep the score close.
As the saying goes though, close is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades. Hawley's pitchers weren't slouching but the contact that was made off their pitches got through or were missed by the defense and ultimately that was the difference.
It all plays into itself. An impressive pitching performance. Blunders by the defense. In a word, a baseball game. "Only" an exhibition game so the outcome doesn't affect their futures but for the confidence it could instill or alter. Confidence can mean a lot and the confidence that comes from that many strike outs may do wonders for the teams remaining season!