“Play past the first T.V. timeout and we’ll be just fine.”
Have you ever watched a March Madness basketball game where the energy for the first five minutes is just electric? Players diving for loose balls, sprinting up and down the court trying to make a play to set the tone and everything involving gameplay seems amplified. Then the first T.V. timeout shows up and the game slows down exponentially. If you really pay attention to those games, it’s clear that the team that plays with the most energy and composure once the adrenaline falls off usually wins the game.
Well, there were no T.V. timeouts last night in our game against Florida Gulf Coast to open the A-Sun Championship, but the principle was still evident. Coach Forehand told us before the game that they were going to come out swinging, fueled by emotion and he was right. FGCU got an early run in the first inning. They were more energetic in the dugout than they have been in any of the three games we played against them earlier this season and they thought they had us beat.
Unfortunately for them, they thought wrong. Everyone came in the dugout after giving up that first run calm, unfazed and ready to win. The composure that coach talked about before the game is what won us the game. Everyone thought we would pull away eventually and thanks to a great piece of hitting by Mike Korte to tie it up, a clutch triple by Johnny Allison in the eighth, and the play of the game by Grant Massey and Adam Lee to save a run earlier that inning, we got the job done.
What also has to be mentioned from last night’s game is the dominance of the pitching staff. Marty was his typical self, going strong for almost eight innings in complete control of their lineup. Then J Hwang came in and closed the door. I must say, J has battled some injuries throughout the year, but the guy was electric last night. I mean, some of those guys never stood a chance at the plate with the movement he had on all of his pitches.
Our win was great for multiple reasons. First, obviously being the fact that the goal is to win every game in the tournament, but the other being that it gave our team a chance to get ample rest for our game today. If you didn't already know, the game scheduled before us, Stetson and Jacksonville went 16 innings, ending with an absolute bomb of a walk-off two-run home run around 11:00 p.m. local timet. So, after 30 minutes of (re)warming up on the field, we finally got our game started around 11:30 before finishing at 1:50 a.m. Thursday morning.
Not to mention, Stetson and Jacksonville were delayed for lightning…TWICE! Which left us sitting in the hotel for an extra hour and a half doing nothing. To give you a little perspective on the timing of everything, if we would have lost the game we would have gotten back to the hotel around three in the morning, been in bed around 3:30, and would have had to leave the hotel around 9:45 a.m. to prepare for a noon elimination game today.
But instead, we got back in last night after the win and Coach Forehand, who typically has us up for breakfast around nine, instructed us not to sleep in past noon today, which may be the greatest sequence of words I’ve ever heard from him. It’s safe to say every last one of us took advantage of the change. Well, maybe not Billy and Johnny since they’re grandpas, but everyone else did for sure.
Another big game for the Bisons tonight. Well rested, prepared, hungry for another win.