Last Friday I got to sit in the stands and watch my son compete in the Fergus Falls Parks & Recreation’s Big Friday tournament in T-ball. This was a stressful time for me (while my son seemed pretty content to give it his all) and I hoped for the best for my son. Man, I tell you, it was a nerve-racking experience.

Watching my son play in the game reminded me of my two trips to the championship game.

My first time was in my first year of toss. I played for the Pirates and our squad seemed decent enough to make a run in the playoffs (of course, I didn’t really pay attention to that). I don’t remember much about the season or the playoffs leading up to it, but one highlight was I recorded an unassisted triple play.

I was playing near the pitcher’s mound and the hitter shot the ball right into me. The kid was a power hitter (by toss standards) and with the bases loaded, everyone ran. I collected the ball and ran over to third, touching the base and tagging the runner that came from second. I could have gotten a fourth out if the runner from first hadn’t made his way back (note: everyone gets to bat in this league in each inning).

The championship game was really exciting as it pitted us against the top seed. I don’t remember the score anymore, but I do remember counting runs before the final at bat. We ended up winning by a few runs and got nifty little medals for our effort.

My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all showed up to the game and were pretty excited when I walked about the field with a medal. That was a special moment for me as it was something I got to share with many of my family members.

The next time I competed in Big Friday was my final year of Pony league (the one where you get to pitch). We had a solid squad and relied on two really good pitchers. Both had varying speeds and could get the occasional strikeout.

As the Rockies, we got the second seed in the playoffs and cruised into the title game. The top seed was upset as one player hit two grand slams to edge them 9-8. This, as an analyst, seemed to make our job easier.

This year, the championship game was a bit lackluster as we scored our runs early and played incredible defense. Our pitchers didn’t struggle at all in the game and we left the field with another nifty little medal (looked definitely familiar to the one I received five years earlier).

These times were some of the best I had playing baseball. A lot of the guys, including myself, did not play varsity baseball in high school. Some of us went on to enjoy different sports, others went into music and the arts, while others just did not want to participate after summer league.

So, now that Big Friday is played at Broadway Park instead of Grotto, I watched my son and his teammates get hits, get outs and have a great time. Although they did not win the game, it was fun to see them play hard and have fun. If all his teammates were like my son, he just wanted some hardware — first or second didn’t matter.

When we left the field, my son couldn’t stop talking about the awesome medal that he received and how much fun he had playing this year. He played pretty well for his second year of Park & Rec. T-ball. Hopefully, he will continue to enjoy baseball in the future.

Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Fergus Falls Daily Journal. His column appears Friday.

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