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Big Doings

April 18, 2016

I have to say, the baseball story of the day was playing against a guy who’s likely to be playing in the big leagues in short order. It turned a normal Delta League game into a bit of a circus as the stands were crowded with scouts, coaches, sports writers, and photographers in addition to the usual assemblage of diehard fans (family and friends).

This was our first clue that something was up.

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But let me back up a little.

Here are Peter, Eton and Ryan crammed into the backseat as we are driving to Sheldon High School (on the Sac-Elk Grove border). I did a Facebook post about transporting three of the league’s top five pitchers–which is true, as stats go…

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But stats are funny. While it’s true that Peter (4-0), Ryan (3-0) and Eton (2-0) are #1, #2 and #5, respectively, on MaxPreps’ list of the league’s top winning pitchers (at this moment in time), it’s also true that they are not the most talented pitchers in the league. They just happen to be earning Ws for a wide variety of reasons. You can also measure ERA (Peter’s amazingly #2 at the moment) or strike outs (Ryan’s #5), but those don’t tell the whole story either. It’s not that they aren’t pitching well, they are, but W/L, ERA and SO are not the only metrics in evaluating goodness.

(Still, it was fun to note.. at least for the purpose of a fun Facebook post.)

But speaking of the league’s best pitchers…  like I started to say earlier, a larger-than-usual crowd gathered to witness and assess the guy most believe is the real best pitcher in the region. In fact, he is one of the nation’s leading high school pitchers. Thus the scouts…

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…with their radar guns:

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The guy, Matt Manning, throws routinely in the 90+ mph range, today hitting speeds as high as 98. I should note that that is a very speedy little pitch even for a professional MLB pitcher. It makes for a very fast ball.

He ended up going  5 2/3 innings and struck out nine of our guys, impressive given how well we’ve been hitting this season. We only got four hits today… a season low. We didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning, and didn’t get another until the sixth when our guys finally started adjusting to the speed. Or perhaps Manning just pooped out. Whatever. We scored four and went ahead 5-2 in that inning and thought we might notch another win, but then things fell apart in the bottom of the inning, and we gave those four runs right back. Their relief pitcher was no slouch either: he faced a total of four batters and struck each one out. We ended up losing the game 5-6. Damn.

Still, it was kind of a game for the record books. They’ll always remember playing against a guy who throws just like an MLB pitcher. Ryan H, Hunter, Griffin and Max will be able to say they hit him; Solly, Ryan K, Griffin, Max, John and Peter will get to say they stole a base off him; AND Peter will get to say he struck him out on three pitches (in last Friday’s game). How ’bout that?

I got one marginal pic:

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If I ever find out who he signs with, I’ll let you know.