Official Score Courtesy of https://twitter.com/sportsRJ
Game Recap via Record Journal here.
While at the New Britain Bees game over the weekend, I picked up this free newspaper and when I was reading it I noticed it has listed a bunch of local little league games- like, 10U and 12U- all for 9 and 10 in the morning. But it got me thinking that if this paper from New Britain is listing area baseball games like that maybe the Record Journal would for Meriden as well. I know the Record Journal has covered the GHTBL before but I didn't find an exact listing of games like I did with the New Britain paper but that's all right because instead I found out about the Wallingford Twilight League. I actually found this article, which basically said there would be a Game 3 to determine the winner of this season and it was going to be on a Tuesday night at 8 pm, which worked out perfectly for me.
After I got out of work we headed over to Pat Wall Field in Wallingford. We drove by Doolittle Field first and there were teams playing there so now I'm kind of interested in what was going on there. We got to Pat Wall Field a little after 7:30 and the teams were already there warming up on the field. I'm not sure if this was because it was *the game* or not because with the GHTBL the teams showed up much closer to game time. One player arrived and the other players seemed surprised. They asked if he had overslept on Sunday and he said that he looked at the gas in his gas tank and realized he wasn't going to make it to the game. The player on the field told him it would have been nice for him to let somebody know. This may or may not have had to do with the Total Renovations loss on Sunday as well, which forced this game, but I'm not complaining because I get to see baseball.
Pat Wall Field is the home of Lyman Hall baseball apparently. It rests inside a hill, which means that if you want to watch games you can basically do so by sitting atop this hill, which the fans did tonight for the game, most of which brought their own chairs or just sat in the grass as we did. There is a small amount of space that could allow you to sit behind home plate but it is nearly impossible to sit on the left field/third base line as it is in the woods, as is center field. This makes it so that pretty much everyone sits on the right field side and though most people were closer to first base and home plate we sat further out in right field. Strangely enough, no one hit any foul balls over the right field side as Quentin was ready for them all night.
Since the game started at 8 pm it was a bit dark for me to be taking pictures, though I got some on my phone. On one hand it'd be nice to get a better camera and be able to take pictures at night and not let the dark determine whether or not I can take photos, but at the same time, it was nice to just relax for this one and watch the game rather than, you know, having to take photos and things like that.
The game was very laid back like the GHTBL, which was what I expected. The Pat Wall Field scoreboard only had an error light on for the entire night, so even though it looked operational the Wallingford Twilight League did not use it. There were no official announcements before or during the game. They also had a trophy presentation after the game but nothing was said that could be heard by all because there were no microphones or anything. It kind of makes me wish I went to see how the GHTBL handles their finals, but that will likely be next year.
If you were following along, you would know what inning it was and even the score but it wasn't always easy to keep track. I'm not sure why but there's something fun to me about watching baseball and feeling like there aren't any rules. I mean, you still have the rules, obviously, but you don't feel pressured or burdened by the scoreboard showing you that it's the bottom of the 8th and there are two outs and you have a full count so there are only so many more chances for you to come back. I guess rather than saying it felt like there no rules the more appropriate thing to say would be that it felt like it was more about baseball than winning and losing and I enjoyed that-- seeing a good hit up the middle or a great catch in the outfield, from either team really.
In the end it was throwing errors- I believe- which put the Downtown Merchants behind and it was a deficit they were never really able to bounce back from. At first, it was a lot of steady defense by both teams and the game moved quickly because no one was scoring. I thought that it could be a stalemate in that sense, but then the game eventually came to its conclusion as Total Renovations had innings of runs followed by runs. I didn't always know what the score was (And I'm using 8-0 as a placeholder here until I read an official score somewhere else because it feels about right to me) but I knew that Total Renovations had scored quite a bit while the Downtown Merchants didn't score at all.
Perhaps the best way to sum up this game and the experience of watching it for me came in the final outs. I wasn't sure whether they would play seven or nine innings because the GHTBL plays seven inning games, sure, but this is for the championship so I could see them playing nine innings for that reason even if they were used to playing seven inning games. But what I had to know in the back of my head- and what I told Gina at one point about knowing what inning it was and when the game would end- was that Downtown Merchants would be the final at bat since they were behind. So regardless of whether or not it was the top or bottom of the 7th or 9th, you knew the final outs rested on Total Renovations being on defense.
When it reached that point- when Total Renovations knew that they had three more outs to go to win the championship- you could feel it in the air. The counted down every out like it was the last out they would ever play and the feeling was just electric. I had watched as Total Renovations worked over Downtown Merchants on defense, inning after inning, but yes, this last inning was something special. You knew it was the final inning, even if you had just shown up to the game at that exact moment you knew these were to be the final three outs. And that is the kind of undeniable power that baseball has.
For me, I'll watch all sorts of baseball. Seeing something at a MLB level (which we have yet to take Quentin to a MLB game) such as MiLB or even the Atlantic League is probably the top of where we go-- you know, just $15 tickets, lots of merchandise and concessions, all of that. Then you take something like the NECBL and I think they're along the same lines just not as expensive. (And the two teams we've seen this season have had bleachers not seats) Then you look at the GHTBL and this Wallingford Twilight Baseball game and it's just kind the opposite of the Atlantic League and MiLB because there is no merchandise, no official baseballs (I believe), it's free to watch and it's just so low key and I love it. So as much as we can watch a baseball game where there are $4 hot dogs, I'd do enjoy watching the games such as this and you just have to love that baseball can exist on such levels and question whether or not any other sport could do the same.