YOU COME AT THE KING, YOU BEST NOT MISS
The beauty of baseball lay within the ability to bounce back after a devastating loss. In one game a team can fall apart like a 1989 Ford Festiva, sputtering and burning down a darkened highway in Arkansas while the offense resembles something of a sedentary boulder in Appalachia, the pitching staff looking more like a hillbilly on his fifth gallon of moonshine, just a sip away from permanent blindness.
In the following game a team can look like a a brand new Canyonero, smelling like a steak and seating thirty five. Suddenly the ballclub can resemble a posh dance with business elites chowing down on toasted crackers dipped in caviar while sipping a 100-year-old whatever the fuck wine and making light of the economic disparity between themselves and the waitstaff.
This is representative of the Bluejays of Creighton against the generic logo Aggies of UC Davis. From a Sunday afternoon of utter shellacking from UC Davis to a shut down performance by one King of Anthills, the Jays seem to have the beauty of baseball perfectly encapsulated.
The first inning featured three consecutive outs for the King as he struck out the first and got the next two guys to fly out. Spotless. Perfect. On the offensive side, Creighton got things cooking immediately with a leadoff single from Clark Brinkman. Brinkman eventually made his way around the bases as he stole second and moved to third on an errant throw down from the catcher. He sauntered home elegantly on a Michael Emodi single to left.
Jays up 1-0.
This lead would hold until the fifth inning when the King began to let UC Davis hit him a bit, giving up a lead-off double to Alex Aguiar - the 3 RBI dongatron from yesterday - and consecutive singles to advance Aguiar home.
Besides that, the King, was phenomenal to watch. A flyball pitcher against a flyball hitting team, the junior lefty from Creighton Prep was dynamite all night, forcing the Aggies to swing at junk only for them to lift it lazily into the air for the Bluejay defense to swarm to.
The tie game wouldn’t last long as the Jays answered in the bottom half, with Clark Brinkman pounding a laser down the third baseline, taking out the third baseman’s knees, and arriving safely at first base. He’d take second on a pass ball that trickled away from the catcher and inevitably end up on third after an Isaac Collins single. Tommy Luevano would drive him in with a sac fly to center, thus giving the Jays a 2-1 advantage.
Something notable that’s a bit amiss this season is the middle infielders for the Jays. For the past couple of seasons we’d become accustomed to Ryan Fitzgerald and Nicky Lopez becoming tandem buddies in double play situations, their communication and footwork paramount to the unyielding success at turning the 6-4 or 4-6.
This year we’ve got Tommy Luevano at short - a kid whose arm is an absolute rocket, his glove a marvel to witness, his footwork that of a ballerina - and Isaac Collins at second - a kid who flashes the leather but just doesn’t have the turning power... yet - and the two can create some phenomenal 4-6-3 DP’s but fall just a little short when Collins makes the turn. It’s something small to watch, but something nonetheless.
There were opportunities for the Jays to widen their lead but to no avail. In the 7th and 8th the offense produced runners in scoring position with two outs, yet the bats weren’t able to come to life to bring in the runs.
When the King exited in the 7th to a sporadic applause from the frigid collection of baseball fans dotting the stadium, it was unclear what Ed Servais would deploy in the final two innings of the affair. He tapped Ethan DeCaster for the 8th, who promptly set down all three Aggies he faced, and then came out again for the 9th - a role typically reserved for senior closer Dave Gerber.
DeCaster gave up a single - a hot shot into the hole that Luevano couldn’t handle - but induced a double play on the very next pitch. He’d retire the final batter on four pitches, striking him out and giving the Jays a huge ‘W.’
They’ll face one another again tomorrow for the rubber match at TD Ameritrade Park. The first pitch will be thrown at 2:30 and the Bluejays will give Keith Rogalla a chance to show his stuff.