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934-hitting-off-tee

Will played his thirteenth baseball game of the season tonight against the toughest team in the league. The boys played their hearts out but just couldn't match their skills. Will started out with a solid hit off the tee.

935-safe-at-first-base

Will was easily safe at first.

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After another couple of hits, Will was able to cross home plate and score a run.

937-throwing-a-baseball

Will fielded the ball in left field and threw it in with great form.

938-confident-swagger

I think will is holding his head up higher and walking with a little more confidence lately due to his terrific performance this year including his grand slam home run and the catch.

939-catcher-throwing-the-ball-back

Will got to play catcher again and did another terrific job behind the plate.

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Will walloped a coach-pitched ball his second time up to bat.

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It was a long base hit which...

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...turned into a double after being briefly held up at first.

943-safe-at-home-plate

After another hit, Will crossed home pate again. Unfortunately, Will scored half his team's runs in a 4-22 loss to the team which would go on to win the post season tournament.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

576-baseball-ready-position

Will had his twelfth baseball game today. He started out in left field where, as any good player known, the lower your ready position the better. Also, the coach has totally switched to handing out gum pre rather than post-game.

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Will showing off his great batting stance. I worked with Will to really open up his stance so that he would hit the ball to the third base side of the field which, at this level, would guaranty a base hit. Will got up there and took the perfect open batting stance ready to hit between the third baseman and the shortstop. The third base coach immediately stopped the action, walked down to home plate and reoriented Will's feet so they were perfectly lined up with the pitcher...

578-hitting-baseball-off-tee

...Will smacked the ball off the tee...right to the first baseman who, even after bobbling it, had plenty of time to step on first for an easy out. Will did exactly as he should have, he listened to his coach. Still...so frustrating.

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Next inning, Will played shortstop and got to see a lot of action. Getting a grounder coming his way.

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Throwing the ball to the pitcher.

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In the middle of the action, picking up a ground ball.

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Throwing the ball home to halt the advancing runners.

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Another grounder to the shortstop.

584-baseball-play

Will first looks the runner back to second and...

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...then throws the ball home to get the runner trying to score.

586-shy-boy

This picture really show Will's amazing personality. He has always been our sweet smiling child, he has the most loving and kind spirit. I hope he never grows out of it.

587-smiling-baseball-player

Will loves to play baseball and, when not being serious on the field, there are plenty of smiles in the dugout.

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Next at bat, Will hit a coach-pitched pop fly which the other team did a nice job catching.

589-baseball-player-looking-at-camera

A rare look at the cameraman who is usually ignored. The boys wound up losing 10 to 18 but that wasn't the whole story. Click on "continue reading" to hear me vent.

The other team only had 8 players (a foreshadowing of things to come in a future meet up) and would have had to have taken an out every time the missing ninth player came up in the batting order. Our coach, a classy guy and good sport, said he'd wouldn't enforce the rule on the other team. The first sign of what was to come was that the umpire even let this arrangement take place. Oh well, at least we could expect some good sportsmanship from the other team in return for our favor. Ha!

Where do I begin. USSSA Rule 11.17 states: "Umpires shall call 'Time' after every play and declare the ball dead. 'Time' shall be called as soon as the lead runner is not attempting to advance." We've had trouble with this rule all year. At this age, you can almost send a kid around the bases, all the way home, on every hit with only a small chance of ever being thrown out. In this context the rule is necessary and makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, this umpire appeared completely ignorant of the rule and the opposing coaches took full advantage of this fact. The other team sent their players running on more dead balls than I've ever seen before, only a few of which were called back by the umpire. A typical scenario was a runner hits the ball to the right fielder who fields the ball and the runner stops at first. He "is not attempting to advance" and, therefore, time should be called. The fielder attempts to throw the ball into the pitcher but it's not the best throw and gets past him. The first base coach improperly sends the runner to second. The pitcher gets the ball and throws it to second where the runner slides. The ball gets away and skips into center field. The runner stands up and, again he "is not attempting to advance." The third base coach is screaming and yelling for the runner to go to third. The runner finally hears the coach and takes off for third. You can guess where this is going...runner reaches third, makes no attempt to advance, ball gets away, coach yells, umpire is ignorant, runner scores. This literally happened in full or in part a dozen times. Some were so egregious as sending the first base runner who had just hit the ball and was just standing there to second after the ball was in our coaches mitt who was doing the coach pitch. One or two of these were so ridiculous, the umpire called the kid back. But, one time, they got away with it. It was so bizarre, our fielder throws the ball to the coach who was pitching and the first base coach sends his kid running. What was our coach supposed to due, throw to second base? Go tag him? It was insane!

590-defensive-coach-violation

Other violations were just as flagrant. The other team illegally put a coach behind their catcher when their team was on defense. He would point out to the catcher where the ball was during a play if he had difficulty find it. The umpire was, again, either ignorant or complicit in violation of USSSA Rule 9.08: "Defensive coaches shall not be allowed on the field of play and shall coach from the dugout." The picture above shows from left to right, the other team's defensive coach, the umpire, the catcher and our batter swinging at a ball.

There were still other violations. Our fielder threw a ball that hit the first base coach and deflected away from our first baseman. Instead of fessing up that he had interfered with the play, he pretended that nothing happened. The umpire either didn't see it (don't know how he missed it, it wasn't like it was a play away from the ball) or didn't care. Another time the other teams runner was going from second to third and kicked the batted ball. Again, no call. Granted each of these have technical scenarios where a no call may have been proper but I can assure you, the umpire was not operating at that level whereby he saw and analyzed the play and made the judgment call in accordance with all the applicable rules. I'll eat my camera strap if that was the case.

There was also a play where there was some confusion by the other team's coaches whether the batter had hit the ball past the 20 foot fair ball arc. Our boys in the field were not the least bit confused. Our pitcher picked up the ball after it passed the arc and threw it to first. Simply enough, batter out. Oh no, since the other team was confused and the batter didn't know what to do with his coaches yelling at him to do all sorts of contradictory things, the umpire called...wait for it...wait for it...a do over!

Finally, our games are supposed to go 1:15 minutes. Spring 2013 BYB Rule 4 states: "No dead stop time limit...2 ½ innings will constitute a complete game if the home team is ahead, or 3 complete innings if the visiting team is ahead." Now with over an hour on the clock but shy of 1:15, the umpire with whooping it up with great enthusiasm, "Let's play ball!" Another inning would be played. Oddly, after the first half inning, with the visitors up by 8 and our boys about to come up to bat for the bottom of the inning, the umpire called the game citing an completely imaginary, make up, fake, bogus, "rule" that because the home team was down by more than 7 (the most allowed to be scored in an inning) and, therefore, mathematically couldn't win the game, that they would not be allowed to bat and the game would be over. One problem. That fine little bit of reasoning doesn't appear anywhere in the rules. These are six and seven year old children playing in a "recreational" league. Finishing the inning, and letting the kids play, is more important than mathematical elimination. There is no, you suck so you can't play rule. The interesting thing was that the umpire who, just a few minutes earlier, was yelling and jumping up and down excited about letting the boys play more ball, all of a sudden made a manic-depressive swing and was telling everyone the game was over...with the enthusiastic agreement of the opposing coaches who were telling their kids to "line up" just seconds after the last out. I literally couldn't make sense of the situation until I realized later that standings in post season might turn on runs scored/allowed if two teams had the same win/loss record during the regular season. But, that would be such an absurd reason for such behavior especially given the quality umpiring and outstanding sportsmanship exhibited by the other team during...oh wait...never mind.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
May 22 2013

Will - The Catch

559-baseball-catcher

Will had his eleventh baseball game of the season this evening. The game will be forever remembered for "the catch." It all started out ordinarily enough with Will playing catcher.

560-baseball-catcher

Throwing one back to the pitcher.

561-hit-off-baseball-tee

In his first at bat, Will hit a coach-pitched ball for an easy base hit.

562-batter-just-hit-baseball

I love the image of the just dropped bat as Will is checking out where he hit the ball while transitioning to running to first base; so much going on.

563-catcher-tags-out-runner

A batter or two later Will was safe at third but there was some kind of miscommunication between the runner behind him and the third base coach so the runner kept going when he should have stayed at second. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the coach sent Will home which resulted in Will being tagged out at the plate.

564-tough-day

Will went to left field perhaps a little frustrated at being sent home only to be easily tagged out.

565-outfielder-ready-position

Always the professional, Will shrugged it off and focused on his job. He settled into his ready position and concentrated on the game.

Now at this point you must understand the other team wasn't hitting the ball very well. Actually, that's an understatement. I don't think they had even hit a grounder into the outfield, let alone anything resembling a fly ball. I had taken a very relaxed position with my arms folded and resting on the chest high fence. My camera mounted on its monopod rested in the crook of my elbow as I casually enjoyed the game. I had taken the above two pics of Will taking the field and, given the other team's hitting struggles, it wasn't like I was going to miss anything. Certainly not anything spectacular.

566-the-catch

And then I heard a crack of the bat. The ball was traveling to left field...where Will was playing. I quickly grabbed the camera and pointed it at Will and clicked away. I missed getting the ball coming down but did manage to get the ball just as it went into Will's mitt. He caught it!!! During the entire season there were maybe three or four catches on his team but all of those were in the infield. This was the first caught ball in the outfield for his team this year and Will's first catch ever in a game!

567-baseball-catch

Will's great catch. I asked Will after the game what's the secret to catching the ball and he responded, "Well, first you have to move to it." And, that he did.

568-throwing-baseball

Throwing his catch back to the infield.

569-baseball-player-smiling

Now here is something you don't see Mr. Serious ever doing much...smiling during a game. Not only was Will smiling, but he couldn't wipe the smile off his face. He kept smiling most of the inning. Oh, and Will's daddy may have been yelling just a wee bit too.

570-heads-up-fielding

There was another hit to left field but, this time, just a grounder. Will picked the ball up while watching the runners and figuring out where he needed to throw it.

571-throwing-baseball

Great form on the throw.

572-throwing-baseball

Putting some serous shoulder torque on his throw.

573-hitting-baseball

Next time up, Will got a base hit off the tee.

574-five-with-baseball-coach

Getting five from the first base coach.

575-crossing-baseball-home-plate

Crossing home plate for another run. Will's team went on to win 16 to 8 in the game forever marked by "the catch."

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

461-fly-ball-over-outfielder.jpg

Today was the second day of Drew's Claremore tournament. The other team was hitting really well with a couple going to right field. This one was hit over Drew's head.

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Drew picking up the ball all the way at the fence.

463-looking-for-cutoff-man.jpg

Drew popped up quick looking for the cutoff man.

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Giving it his all from the fence in right field.

465-getting-hit-by-baseball-pitch.jpg

Drew had never been hit by a ball while batting...until today.

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The previous photo with the blurry ball was right before Drew was hit. This is Drew right after he was hit as the ball bounced off of his back.

467-injured-baseball-batter.jpg

Ouch! Everyone in the stands winced. Drew took a few seconds then toughed it out and took his base.

468-first-base-runner-lead-off.jpg

Drew taking a nice lead off of first base.

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And, an even bigger lead off of second base.

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Finally, safe at home.

471-throwing-baseball-to-cutoff-man.jpg

Drew throwing the cutoff man, with the ball in midair, in a play almost exactly like the previous one. Drew also had a couple of good backups (but not good photos) behind first base where in kept the runner from going to second.

472-hitting-baseball-hard.jpg

The next time up at bat, Drew smacked one as hard as he'd ever hit one before. I think he was taking revenge on the ball for hitting him the last time up. It was a line drive to the outfield that went hard into the outfield fence. Unfortunately, Drew swung so fast that he was ahead of the ball and hit it barely 3 or 4 inches foul of third base.

473-baseball-game-face.jpg

Now that is the look of intensity!

474-baseball-batter-swing.jpg

Drew's second at bat ended on this terrific swing. I swear looking at the pictures, there must have been a hole in his bat as Drew was dead on with great form, good eye on the ball, perfect timing, everything right, but somehow the ball went right though his bat. Nothing wrong with getting out on a strong swing. Despite being close, Drew's team wound up losing the game.

475-baseball-bruise.jpg

Drew had a war wound the next day.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

Landon is not only a great baseball fan but, also, a great little brother. He cheerfully goes along to all of his brothers' baseball games and cheers them on without fail. He just isn't the greatest fan of getting his picture taken. I was able to catch a few today at Drew's game while Landon played hide from from the photographer behind his Cub's hat.

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Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

432-stike-out.jpg

Game two today started with a strike out. Nonetheless, I liked this photo since you can see the ball in the catcher's mitt which I don't think I'd ever captured before.

433-missed-ground-ball.jpg

Drew had a really hard ground ball hit to him in right field which he just missed getting in front of.

434-throwing-to-cut-off-man.jpg

Throwing to his cut off man from the fence.

435-running-to-first-base.jpg

Drew hit a long one to the outfield in his next at bat. An RBI is in the background over Drew's right shoulder. It was such a good hit that the coach sent the runner on second home...

436-play-in-the-background.jpg

...but the opposing team had a couple of good throws. In the background you can see our runner just about to be tagged. It was a close play but the umpire said he was tagged in the chest before his foot hit the plate.

437-baseball-players-colliding.jpg

Our right fielder colliding with our shortstop who had called for the fly ball with unfortunate but predictable results. Fortunately, though, our team wound up winning its second game of the day.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

418-drew-in-the-dugout.jpg

Drew had another tournament in Claremore this weekend.

419-baseball-muscles.jpg

In his first at bat, Drew struck out but check out those triceps and forearm muscles!

420-ready-in-right-field.jpg

There wasn't a lot of action in right field during the game. And, by that, I mean there was no action in right field...nadda...nothing. Some days, that's the way it is.

421-smiling-on-first-base.jpg

Drew got a walk his second time at bat and is happy to be on first base.

422-big-lead-off-first.jpg

Drew is taking a serous major league lead off of first base.

423-resting-on-second-base.jpg

The other team had some pitching problems and everyone took a rest while a new pitcher warmed up.

424-safe-at-home-plate.jpg

Jumping over the bat and safe at home.

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The third time up to bat, Drew got a base hit.

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Running to first base with an RBI in the background.

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Safe at first base.

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Getting five from the first base coach.

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If you compare the two, you can see that Drew is even happier to be on first after getting a hit than after getting a walk.

430-rounding-third-base.jpg

After a stop a second, Drew is rounding third as he is hit home.

431-safe-at-home-plate.jpg

Safe at home plate again as Drew's team won their first game of the tournament.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

546-baseball-player-making-faces.jpg

Will was in a happy mood after taking the field right before the game and made a goofy face when he spotted me focused in on him.

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Starting at second base, Will was in his ready position.

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The ball was hit to the shortstop and Will made a beeline to second base to receive the throw but the shortstop, instead, tried to run the ball to second base for the force out but it only resulted in a traffic jam and the runner being safe.

549-baseball-batter-with-eyes-closed.jpg

Baseball has been getting too easy for Will so he has, apparently, decided to make it more difficult by playing with his eyes closed. Despite not being able to see the ball, Will still managed to get a coach-pitched base hit.

550-running-to-first-base.jpg

Will, eyes open, heading for first base.

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Ready to take off from second base.

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High-fives with the coach at third base.

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Now in right field, Will is ready for a busy inning with what appears to be a mouth full of gum.

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Backing up first base, Will shows his form as he throws the ball to second base.

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Will throws the ball in from right field with all his might.

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Throwing to the cut-off man.

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Will smacking another base hit.

558-standing-on-first-base.jpg

Will was safe at first but wound up stranded on base as his team lost a close one 14-17.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

591-drew-reading-to-class

Drew read a poem he wrote as part of his school's Writing Celebration! tonight. Drew wrote an acrostic, a cinquain, a couplet, a roses are red and a diamante. He picked his favorite, the roses are red poem, to read to all his classmates and their parents.

Acrostic

Lives in the wild
incredible roars
orange gold fur
nothing like them

A Cinquain Valenite for Landon

brother
fun cool
running playing drawing
as sweet as candy
friend

Couplet

I fed my parrot
a really tasty carrot

Roses are Red

roses are red
violets are blue
I like to hide
in my igloo

Diamante

baseball
fun awesome
throwing running catching
home runs are awesome
batting sliding fielding
cool great
sport

592-drew-with-teacher

Drew and his teacher posing with Drew's Poetry Folder. Drew wrote some great poems, I like his acrostic best, and did a great job reading his favorite to everyone. Way to go Drew!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
May 9 2013

That's Horrifying

quip.gifLandon was being a normal three year-old and having a bit of a moment this evening. We couldn't get upset with him since it was almost entirely caused by him simply being overly tired. Anyway, Landon was crying and, despite the mini-meltdown, he was being really cute. So, I did what I usually due when one of the boys is being cute...I grabbed my camera and took some pictures. Will wasn't too keen on me documenting Landon's moment:

Will: "That's horrifying."

Daddy: [Just looks at Will as if to say, really?]

Will: "No, really, that's horrifying."

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

396-hitting-off-tee.jpg

Will getting his first hit of the night. Also, notice his new bling around his neck. There was a booth at Drew's tournament over the weekend that had literally hundreds of color combinations. At only $5 a piece and with the profits supposedly going to some charity, we told the boys they could each get one. Will was very excited to pick out a necklace matching his uniform. Drew, mister practical, didn't see how it would make him play better, so why get one. Landon, just wanted to do what Drew did. So, only Will got one.

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Easily safe at first base.

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Will getting a good sized step off first base.

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Crossing home plate.

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Will's team has second base well covered.

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Will throwing one in from right field. Will played right field and second base. The coach has been working really hard with the kids and it has paid off. Will was backing up first and covering second like a pro!

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I love this and the next photo. It looks like Will is arguing with the umpire and then, below, is dejected when he didn't get his way.

403-frustrated-baseball-player.jpg

In reality, Will and the umpire were simply discussing the height of the tee as Will wanted, and got, it lowered a bit. This photo is just Will chomping on his gum which the coach gave the boys at the start of the game instead of his usual practice of handing it out at the end of the game.

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Will smacked a high one after he got the tee set at the height he wanted.

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Will easily safe at first base again.

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Will hit in the seventh run to end inning. The boys won the game 21 to 7 which normally isn't important as long as the boys try their best, have fun and learn a little. But, this was a little sweet as some of the parents on the opposing team were complete @$$#$!

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

412-outfielder-keeping-warm.jpg

We're back at it for day two of Drew's Bixby tournament. It's still cold but, at least, it's not raining. Drew and I talked about keeping his hand warm. I suggested pulling his hand up into his sleeve and after he worked on quickly popping it out a few times, he went with it.

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Drew had some great swings and a couple of foul balls but wound up striking out swinging. Nothing wrong with that. The only thing his coach doesn't like is striking out looking.

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Drew chasing down a ball hit down the line.

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Throwing the ball in from deep right field.

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The second, and last, time Drew was up to bat, the umpire called this first pitch a strike. It was clearly low and inside...well below Drew's knees. Now behind and with a strike zone the size of, I don't know, something huge, Drew was a bit rattled and wound up striking out again. Actually, there were a lot of strike outs as the team just didn't have their bats today resulting in a disappointing loss and end of the tournament.

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I thought this was cute. Chick-fil-A's motto is Eat More Chicken or actually "Eat Mor Chikin" since it's cows with poor spelling skills who make the signs. Chick-fil-A sponsors the foul ball poles which say, "Eat Mor Fowl."

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May 4 2013

Piano Recital 2013

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After a chilly morning at the baseball fields, the boys had their piano recital today. Will played State Fair and Flying Carpet.

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Drew did a great job too especially considering his right hand was frozen numb earlier in the day. Drew played Wind in the Bamboo Tree and Storms on Saturn.

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Will received a trophy for the Most Songs Memorized out of all of the students. He memorized 34 songs! Great job Will.

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Drew and Will with their awesome piano teacher Miss Sara.

Will and Drew's Piano Recital 2013 video.

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Drew had a tournament in Bixby today and it was freezing! And, raining! Regardless, we were ready to play at 9:00 a.m. And, with the second game starting at 10:45 a.m., we'd have plenty of time to make it to the boys' 2:00 p.m. recital. Or, so we thought.

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Even in the cold, Drew was on the ball backing up first.

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Thanks to Drew's efforts, the runner was held up on first base despite the wild throw.

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The game wound up being delayed during the bottom of the first inning due to...wait for it...sleet and hail...in May! Ya gotta love Oklahoma weather.

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Drew was freezing. He had no feeling in his right hand. Drew and I immediately took the opportunity of the delay to grab some hot chocolate and hot dogs and head for the car to warm up. The hot chocolate turned out to be undrinkable since it was boiling but the dogs helped warm our tummies a little. Mama, Will and Landon were under a tarp so they waited about 30 minutes before joining us in the car. After a two hour delay and indication that any game wasn't going to start for at least another hour, we had to tell the coach Drew was going to have to miss the games. And, off to get ready for the recital we went. Drew's team wound up winning one game and losing one game without Drew.

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