In May of 2003, David faced Goliath on the baseball field. I was there to witness it.
My son, Beau’s high school baseball team had an incredible, memorable season his senior year. Beau played for the Fairview Yellow Jackets. They were undefeated the first 10 games, and only lost a few games over the entire season. What a ragtag bunch of ball players!
By the end of the regular season schedule, the boys had played well enough to move on to post-season play in our district and then on to the regional tournament.
Admittedly, I’m not objective, but Beau was one of our two best pitchers on the team. He’s a left handed, finesse pitcher with a great curve ball and tons of movement on his off-speed pitches. The other main pitcher on our team was Ben. He is tall, right handed, fast ball hurler. The combination made for a great partnership.
Our regular season had ended well. Post-season play would begin in a week. Our coach wanted us to continue playing ball during our off week, so he scheduled a couple of games with teams that there was no chance we would face in the tournament.
The first game coach scheduled for our team was against Brentwood High School. Now, keep in mind that Fairview is a division 2A school and Brentwood is a division 5A school. Beau’s graduating class that year was just over 100 while Brentwood’s graduating class was well over 500. Brentwood was the Goliath to little Fairview’s David. Brentwood was easily one of the best baseball teams in the state. They too, were preparing for the post-season tournament. As parents and players, we knew this game did not count technically, but still we didn’t want to get destroyed.
Ben started on the mound for Fairview. He pitched one of his best outings of that season. He had 6 strike outs. In many ways, it was a pitching duel. The score was 6-3 through five innings in Brentwood's favor. Brentwood had started one of their top Junior pitchers, but we knew that they had two much tougher pitchers on the bench.
In the top of the sixth inning the Fairview boys started a much needed rally. First Chris, our 3rd baseman walked. He then moved over to 2nd base on a wild pitch. Then Jim, our 2nd baseman was hit by the pitch. This put runners on 1st and 2nd for us. Next, Matt, our left-fielder walked. Now bases are loaded and the excitement is climbing. Ben was up and hit a double to score two runs. The score is now 6-5. Beau was up next with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one out. Beau hits a single, but signals got crossed and Ben ended up and 3rd and Matt was tagged out by the catcher. However, at this point the catcher's back is to the runners and no one is covering home. So, Ben takes off for home and Beau takes off for 3rd base. Both are safe and the game is tied. It was an incredible feeling to see the boys really hang in there; the momentum changed from that point on for the Fairview Yellow Jackets.
At the bottom of the sixth inning, our Coach brought Beau in to relieve for Ben. I was an absolute basket case. The score was now tied. Beau was only going to have to close out the last two innings of the game. And our offense was going to have to score. Brentwood brought in a new pitcher in the 6th inning as well.
We battled. The pitching duel continued. And after seven innings of play, we were still tied and going into extra innings. No one on the Fairview team even dreamed that we might be able to hold our own against the Brentwood team. But we were doing just that.
Innings eight and nine continued deadlocked as the players did their best to break the tie. Finally in the tenth inning, the Fairview bats got the offense started. Jim was up again and hit a double to start things off in the top of the 10th inning. Next Luke, our center-fielder, singled to score Jim. Luke stole second. Then Ben hit a bloop that scored Luke. We were up by two. Now Beau, who bats clean-up, was up. I could barely watch; I could hardly breathe. He hit a single on which Ben scored. We were up by three.
For the first time in the entire 10 innings, Fairview was ahead. Our crowd went wild! I was whistling and cheering like crazy.
All we had to do was hold ‘em. We couldn’t let Brentwood score. All the pressure was on Beau to pitch one of the best innings of his career.
And he did. He struck out the first batter. The next batter popped out to second. The third battle grounded out to Ben at short stop. The inning ended. The game was over. We won. We beat Brentwood 9 -6 in extra innings. David had defeated Goliath! It was an intense game and an amazing victory for our boys. This win gave our boys such a boost of confidence going into post-season.
After the game, my husband and I waited for Beau near the dugout. Beau packed up his gloves, bat, and cleats and carried his bag out to meet us. You could tell by the look on his face that we was not only relieved that the pressure was over, but so pleased that his team had won. It was such a proud moment and great sight for a mom to see.
As the three of us walked out of the ball park, one of the players from the Brentwood team walked past us. Beau just nodded to him as if to say good game. The Brentwood player replied by saying, “You know we didn’t put our best pitchers in.” It looked like Beau thought about saying something but decided against it. So as the other player passed me, I said, “Well you probably should have. Because we did.” I just smiled and kept walking.
The next day in the Tennessean newspaper, one of the sports writers wrote about the game. We had no idea that a Tennessean reporter was there to cover a game that did not even count in either teams’ records. It was such a succinct recap of the game. He completely captured the intensity and excitement of the battle. It was great to be able to cut out the article and keep in Beau’s baseball memory book. The one comment that the sports writer made about Beau’s win against Brentwood was that he “did a masterful job of shutting the Bruins down.” I would agree.
(c) 2016 Sustained Momentum Entertainment, LLC and Diane Carter LeJeune. Previously published: July 10, 2013 "Tribal Tales."