Last night was our last practice before opening day on Saturday. The Clippers scrimmaged with (against? Not sure what the right word is here.) the Dragons in a two inning match (session? game? Again with the words.) Anyway, right at the end something happened that I do NOT want to forget.
Andrew did well at bat both innings, and did a great job at first base during the first inning. Second inning he played pitcher. Since it's tee ball, he wasn't actually pitching, but he was the primary fielder for his team. As I've said before, we've seen tremendous improvement this year in his skill level. What we couldn't appreciate yet was how much he'd grown in the mental aspects of the game. Turns out, he's coming along nicely there as well.
For the first two players at bat, Andrew fielded the ball and threw it right to first base. Then, the short stop fielded one and Andrew stayed on the mound. After that, the play would be at home, so the coaches reminded Andrew to run it in and tag the base to get the runner out. He did exactly that, sometimes beating the runner and sometimes not. When the last batter came to the plate, the bases were loaded. In our league, they let all the runners come home at the end of the inning. We don't really keep score in tee ball, so it's mainly just for practice running the bases and tagging home that they do this.
So the last batter hits and takes off for first. Andrew runs up and fields the ball and brings it home beating the runner from third. The coach pats him on the hat and says, "Good hustle!" and then holds out his hand for the ball. Andrew does not let go of the ball and does not take his eyes off the other runners. He keeps the ball in his glove and watches each boy come down the third base line. Just before the each kid steps on home plate, Andrew STOMPS on the plate to get another man out.
All the adults were smiling and chuckling when the last runner was "out" and the game was over. Andrew could not have been more proud of himself. He is very excited about opening day. And so are we.