Dating baseball bases
The Portsmouth High Patriots, like almost every high school baseball team, kept a trick play in their pocket.Theirs was called the "phantom pickoff throw": The pitcher would spin as if making a pickoff attempt but keep the ball tucked in his glove. Pitcher Brendan Solecki remembers using it twice, once when he was on the freshman team and once as a sophomore on the varsity. "Against Woonsocket, the parents were not very happy," he says.Sometimes he'll start walking to second base while the pitcher still has the ball.There's a balk/steal play, where the runner takes off sprinting once the pitcher gets set, the goal being to startle the pitcher so that he'll make an illegal move off the mound in reaction.
East Greenwich students had been let out early to go to it. "At that point it's 100 percent the biggest moment of our lives," says second baseman Matt Streich. They had brought back all but one starter from the previous season and added two sophomores: Ryan Westmoreland, a budding superstar; and Pedrotty, whose home run in the Little League regionals had pushed Portsmouth to within one game of Williamsport. Bracey set and looked in for the sign, when, suddenly, everybody started yelling."Look at John Pedrotty, running out toward right field.He can walk into right field if he wants."What I decided to do was to run him out on the grass to try to get somebody to chase him," Ulmschneider would explain after the game."One, they've got, out deeper there, a longer throw.LET'S DEFINE A baseball play like this: It is a sequence of actions during which events in progress cannot be stopped by a timeout.A runner is actively attempting to advance or retreat, or he is exposed and the defense is chasing after him. The only way for the play to end is for the runner to advance, retreat or become the next out. The physical space of the field is confined, and baserunning is a closed circuit that takes about 15 seconds to complete.