“Down To The Last Strike…”
Those words have sounded a bit different to me since the evening of October 27, 2011. David Freese and Lance Berkman kept the Cardinals alive twice on the last strike that night in game 6 of the World Series before Freese’s homer onto the hitting background at Busch Stadium ended it.
Decades ago, noted baseball philosopher Yogi Berra observed that “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” We saw the 2011 Cardinals prove that in a very big way over a two month stretch.
Those in attendance at last night’s Quincy Gems game saw another proof of one of Yogi’s most famous utterances. The Gems trailed the red hot Dubois County Bombers 6-1 going to the bottom of the 9th. Left fielder David Kuhne led off the bottom of the 9th by drawing what looked at a glance like a very innocent walk. The next two hitters were retired easily, then things started to happen.
Leadoff man Greg Allen singled to center. Mizzou shortstop Nick Moore was down to his last strike. (there’s that phrase again..) Moore fouled off two pitches before walking on a 3-2 delivery. Zach George ricocheted a triple off the rocks in deepest left center to clear the bases. That made it 6-4 Dubois County.
It looked like the night was over when Nick Tindall got under a pitch and hit a monsterous pop up. However, a gust of wind blew the ball just out of the reach of Bombers first baseman Jeff Zahn. George scored easily and Tindall was on first. 6-5 Dubois County…
Brandon Brian followed that with a triple off the wall in front of the scoreboard to tie the game as Tindall scored. Catcher Kyle Upp was also down to his last strike as he hammered a 3-2 pitch into center for the game winner.
7-6 Gems. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over indeed.