Sunday was going to be a hot one...97 degrees. At 9am, I headed to G-town for my shot to boost my white blood counts. This shot (Neulasta) gives me flu-like symptoms for a couple of days. I asked the nurse how soon this would take effect because I had a softball game in 2 hours. She said the softball should actually delay the reaction because I'd be running around diluting the effects. (That's some sweet answer!)
I got to the fields about an hour before our first game. I chugged a bottle of water about every half hour. I knew I had to stay hydrated to feel anything close to good. I'm not going to hold back...if you are reading this blog, you are interested in knowing what I go through and deal with. The diarrhea after my treatments is beyond severe. It's pure liquid. So, I had that obstacle to deal with. I knew I couldn't have an episode on the mound, so I made sure to go before and in-between the games. Now, try being in a port-o-potty when it's baking in the 100 degree sun. I don't know the physics, but I think that made it 450 degrees (451 would have ignited the toilet paper). So, I spent 15 minutes at a time in there sweating and needing more water. I almost had to keep the door open for the line to watch.
Back to the games... The first game was against Tufts and in the first inning, they got a couple of good hits and would have had a rally, but we had a great defensive play to gun down a guy trying to get a triple. They scored one on the play, but that was all they were meant to score the entire game. We weren't doing much better at the plate, though. I think it was the 5th inning and we were losing 1-0. I was at bat with a runner on 2nd base. Lately, I have lost strength (due to neck surgery and now chemo), so I was not hitting too well. A song from "3 Doors Down" was going through my mind as I stepped into the batter's box:
Please, for the one time
Let me be myself
So I can shine
in my own light
Let me be myself.
Sure enough, I did what I do and hit the ball blooping down the right field line for a single. We tied the game. A pinch-runner came in for me (which was a relief, I was so tired). As I got back to the bench, a player from another team (who I really admire) said to me, "you are by far my favorite player to watch out here." (That's out of about 1400 players in the tournament.) That meant a lot. The runner for me came around to score on a hit and after the inning, we led 3-1. That's how the game ended. I'm not sure if anyone pitched a shutout in this tournament, but I felt great pitching a 1-run game against a good team. We had "SURVIVEd and advanced" to the next round. (See photo at bottom)
The next game was against Virginia. They are always a good team because they have so many alums in the area. Our team started out continuing our hitting and scoring 3 runs in the 1st. I was excited. ...well, until I saw UVA start hitting the ball. They had tied the score at 3 before I could get anyone out. After two innings, we were down 8-3. Ugh. And after three innings they had 10 runs. I had a hunch what the problem was. I had talked to the pitchers who had played UVA prior to us. They told me how I "should" pitch to them. I scrapped that and went back to my way of pitching. UVA didn't score again the rest of the game. Dammit. I should have just gone with "Shawn ball" and not listened to anyone. I won't make that mistake again. Pitt didn't give up and we closed the gap to 10-8 before getting our last out. I was standing on 3rd when it happened. So, close.
I walked off the field completely drained. I don't think I could have played another inning (but I would have somehow). I rested a little and then rode home. About 6:30pm, the flu took effect. I was puking it all up. But, I made it through the games and that was all that mattered to me.
This Saturday continues the double elimination tournament with us in the loser's bracket. We need to win 5 games in a row to win the whole thing. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? I had an 11% chance of living. What do you think is my answer?