May 16, 2006
SIXTEEN WEEKS... When I was young it seemed as if time passed at the pace of an overweight catcher trying to score from second base. Summers seemed to last forever, and Christmas got here in no time at all. But the first sign of growing older was the sense that time seemed to be passing at an increasingly faster pace.
Each year offers the same timeline. The summer and fall seem to last forever because spring brings another baseball season. The wait seems unbearable until, suddenly, the games are upon you, and then, where do the days go? We're at that point now, where memory strains to remember who we played in February, and what were the results?
It's nearing the end of May, and the sixteen weeks of the college season have come full cycle.
Thursday night, we'll take the field against East Tennessee State and play our final three game series of the 2006 season; a season which sixteen weeks ago held so much promise. A season that had players all believing that they would have good years and we'd be ready for the playoffs, and coaches trying to figure out how to get everyone enough playing time, has turned out to be one where the roster is depleted and the options are limited.
It's a season where FAU is in a four way tie for the final two playoff spots, and the tie-breakers don't all fall our way. We had the chance this weekend to open up some breathing room as Campbell and Gardner-Webb each lost two games. We went into Sunday's rubber game with Stetson knowing that a win would put us one game up with three to play.
We had lost a tough one Friday night, but bounced back with a solid game on Saturday for a 10-2 win. Danny Cook delivered a big two out, two strike single to break a tie in the sixth. In the seventh Ovy Ramirez had a bases clearing double to blow it open and set the stage for Sunday.
Stetson led 2-1 in the seventh, when Anthony Albano put us on top with a two run double in the gap, but the lead was short-lived, as the Hatters countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Ovy Ramirez was playing his last game for us on Sunday, and he came to the plate in the eighth with a chance to put us on top. He delivered a clutch single and we were back on top with two innings to go.
The Stetson batting order in the eighth posed some problems. One was Braedyn Pruitt who hit a one-out single; the other was Chris Johnson. The big first baseman had one hit thus far in the series- a three run bomb Friday night. The wind was still blowing hard to left field. We needed to get Johnson out to keep the lead.
As the ball flew out to left I hoped it was too high. (Too high?)
I watched left fielder Tim Mascia and knew this one, and our lead, was gone. The final score was 6-4, and the air just seemed to get sucked out of our dugout. The shower and the long ride home seemed like a bad dream.
Our season will come down to the last of sixteen weekends. We're 26-26 and need to win more games than Gardner Webb or Campbell.
If we don't, our summer starts Sunday.
Sunday is my daughter Maggie's birthday. KC