Yard Work & Softball

OK, I know. It’s getting a little redundundundant, right? Softball and yard work. That seems to be my life lately, but it’s all good.

First, the yard work. Not our yard, of course. I don’t have time to do that. I went out late this morning to mow the church yard and attempt to remove the piles of hay I made a couple of weeks ago. I took the old truck to facilitate moving the piles from the field to the compost area because I knew it would crank right up. It did, too. Once at the church, however, I was a bit skeptical about turning off the engine until all the grass was moved because, as I’ve learned, once the starter gets hot on this engine, it’s hard to start. The decision about turning off the engine was removed from my sphere of influence when it ran out of gas while I was emptying the gathered grass of the first load.

That was a bummer moment. Just to test my belief, that it wouldn’t start, I tried. It wouldn’t even turn over one time. So, there I was, stuck at the church with my favorite truck in the whole entire world and I was supposed to be home by 1300 for our trip to Sandy for St. Helen’s second game in bracket play for the 5A Division State Softball Championship. More on that later.

Having a couple of hours until I had to be home, I thought I may as well be useful and see how much I could get mowed. Having anticipated the starting issue, I first replaced the battery with a fully charged one I brought with me. It didn’t work any better than the other one. So, I left the hood open, hoping the breeze would cool things off enough so the starter would actually work.

Then I mowed. I got everything done around the church and parsonage, but not the overgrown field. I did make a couple of passes through it, just to see how the mower would handle it, and it appears I’ll be able to get it done tomorrow.

After putting everything away, with only 15 minutes remaining on my time limit, I went back to the truck prepared to call Diane to rescue me. I got in the cab and immediately noticed that I may have added to the dilemma by leaving the ignition switch in the ON position. That couldn’t be good, I thought, but attempted to fire it up and see what happened.

The first thing I needed for success was to get the engine to turn over at least 5 times in order to get the pitiful amount of gas, that I had added to the tank, to the carburetor. I can tell when it’s not there because I have a clear fuel filter in the line just before the carb. I pressed the ignition button and it actually turned over enough to pump the fuel, but petered out on me before the engine caught. Another attempt revealed that I was in for a battle as it only turned about once. Not enough.

Since I was in the church parking lot I figured it would be OK to pray that it started on the next try. I pumped the accelerator a few times then held down the starter button, willing it to turn over enough times to start … and it did! So, I have further evidence that prayer works, even for stuff like this. It was running nicely and I had to go right away because I wasn’t sure there was enough gas to get home.

So, away I flew. Just before I got home my phone rang and I knew it was Diane telling me it was time to quit. Since I was driving, I didn’t answer, which is the wise choice for all of you cell phone users. She understood when I drove into the driveway a few minutes later.

Then we headed for Sandy for game two of bracket play for the championship. Daniel and Jennifer rode with us so we had a nice visit on the way. Sadly, I was in the front seat and was apparently not on my best behavior, the reported cause of the headache Diane had when we reached our destination.

Sandy was ranked #1 for the tournament and St. Helens was #8 so we knew it was going to be an interesting game and we weren’t disappointed. Through 7 innings the score was 0-0. Since St. Helens was the away time they batted first. The Sandy pitcher appeared to be getting tired and proved the point by allowing two hits, then she walked the bases full. She had two outs on our girls, however, so any base would get her out of the inning.

The next girl up was Alyssa, our leadoff batter. She’s an excellent bunter and can run like the wind. She tried twice but fouled them off and it was suddenly 3-2 with 2 outs, bases loaded.

She swung away on the next pitch and grounded it to the short stop. All three runners on base were in motion so there was a flurry of activity as the runner flashed by the short stop and the runner crossed home plate. The ball was delivered to the 3rd baseman in time, but a little off the bag … and the ball fell to the ground.

The runner was safe, and it was 1-0 Lions. The next batter went down swinging, ending our at bat. Then Sandy came to bat.

Our pitcher, Mariah, is excellent, and had 8 strikeouts and no walks to this point. Bottom of the 8th and they needed just one run to push it to the next inning. Mariah, however, was just getting stronger as the game progressed and fanned the next three batters.

Game over. St. Helens took out #1, and the 2013 Champs, advancing to game 3 which will be played next Tuesday. If they win that one, they’ll advance to the championship game which is going to be played at Oregon State. Their next opponent is ranked #5 so it’s going to be another interesting one.

Jennifer rode in front on the way home and I was banished to the back seat with Daniel.

Here are some pictures that capture a bit of the moment.

Lydia is #25 and #4 is the girl who got the run home on the error.

IMG_0079

Lined up for the national anthem.
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The end result.IMG_0081

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