Earlier this month, the 12U Broadneck Bruins sauntered into the Glen Burnie Invitational Baseball Tournament with an opening round matchup with their cross-county rival Linthicum Ferndale. For Broadneck, the memories were still fresh of their 9-7 defeat at the hands of Linthicum only a month prior in the Linthicum Ferndale Tournament. Broadneck was hoping things would be different this Tuesday night. Things were different…this game was shorter. After only 4 innings of play, the score stood 15-5 invoking the never-well-received-truly-fat-lady known as Queen Mercy. Yes – the bittersweet Mercy Rule, loved by some, but hated by most! Broadneck was defeated and defeated quickly. So perhaps this would be a short stay for the battered Bruins in the Glen Burnie Tournament.
But maybe not. After victories against Glen Burnie and the Greater Glen Burnie Patriots, the Bruins scrapped their way into the Championship Game. Late Friday night, the final brackets were posted. Linthicum Ferndale, doing their part, ran the table and was also headed to the Championship Game. Odds makers had them the heavy favorite…and who could fault them.
Saturday morning came. As Broadneck piled into the first base dugout, they peered across the diamond to see their unwelcome foe. A team draped in too familiar yellow jerseys that had ushered in the Mercy Rule on the Bruins only a few days earlier began to warmup with the confidence of a Champion. Not so fast.
The odds were not in their favor. But, strange things can happen on a baseball diamond in early July…and on this Saturday, the Bruins didn’t come to play, they came to win. After jumping on Linthicum early and securing a 3-1 lead, defensive miscues lead to a tie game 3-3 after two. With the lead slipping away, the Bruins stumbled a bit – but they were not phased. Powered by donuts and Skittles, their energy was contagious. Broadneck immediately retook the lead and rode timely hitting and aggressive base running to an 8-4 margin. Led by legendary pitching performances from Declan Murphy and Griffin Hinkle, the defense shored up and corralled everything that Linthicum could throw at them. Hinkle, who went the last 5 innings, allowed a single run in the last of the 7th, but, alas, no more. After the final pitch, the score stood 8-5 and this time, Broadneck held the high ground. This game, though, was about so much more than the two pitchers who lead the charge. Every. Player. Did. Their. Part. The Bruins won as a team with each player playing for each other. Yesterday belonged to Linthicum; today belonged to the Bruins. Champions!
Overhead the fields at Sawmill Creek, the frantic pace of life could not be denied. Planes circled and lined up on final to eventually touch down at BWI. But below these planes, for a quiet moment stood a rag tag bunch of 12 year old boys who reminded all in attendance of the simple joys that can be found on a baseball field in the middle of summer. No, they didn’t win the World Series or for that matter a trip to Cooperstown. What they did was larger than that…they reminded us of the art of the possible…they reminded us of the unintended simple joys that can only be found on a Saturday morning in childhood. And you know what, for a coach and a father who ages a bit too fast everyday, I’ll take it. Oh…and one more thing, I’ll remember it forever.
Source: Coach Tim Winter