Nolan stood on the mound after 69 pitches, 5 innings, no runs, 4k’s, and 2 BB. His team was down 2-0, and the big hitter of the other team came to bat with a runner on third and two out. He needed this one to give his team a chance in the bottom half.
The icy wind snaked around the diamond, and Nolan stood alone on the bump, hat in hand, wiping his brow. He was gassed. He’d faced 13 batters, pitched in 30 degree cold with a chill, whipping wind, and it all came down to this hitter.
He threw a first-pitch strike, then three straight changes for balls. He threw a dandy curve that the hitter fouled off. That’s when he did something that the good ones do. He reached deep, finding a last spark of heat within the cold belly of the internal fire, and threw an 82 mph fastball right by the kid! Strike three, and our turn!
He came to bat with one down and no one on and battled to a full count, fouling off a dirty knuckleball and a damn nasty curve, then drove a screamer over the CF’s head for a stand up double! The next batter drove him in from second for our first run of the game. Good speed hehhehhe.
The next hitter knocked another single into right, and our number 7 hitter came to bat and lined one down the firstbase line to score two and win the game! What a great finish!
Afterward, Nolan was modestly acknowledging congratulations when he turned to me, and winked. Cool.