Well-Coached, Love - Bottom of the Ninth #83

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Bottom of the 9th - Well-Coached #3, Love

Well-Coached Series #3, Love

by Keith Wahl

“…do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.†(Deuteronomy 4:9)

We love our favorite baseball teams, don’t we?I just watched an ESPN 30 for 30 film called “The House of Steinbrenner†which highlights the former Yankee owner as well as the fan reaction to the transition from the old Yankee Stadium to the new. The overarching message of the whole piece - Yankee fans love the Yankees. They love the players, the teams, the moments, the history…the memories.The picture above shows the commemorative bricks in our Valor Baseball dugout. One side is the big wins in school history, the other side is all of the players who graduated from the baseball program. As I watched the piece about Yankee Stadium, I couldn’t help get caught up in the nostalgia of the great games that have happened on the Valor Baseball field.

Do you remember April 24, 2009 when we beat the #1-ranked Wheat Ridge Farmers for the first time? I remember our left-handed pitcher, Jason Palser, shutting down their offense and a young group of Valor players celebrating after getting trounced by Columbine just one day before. What an incredible bounce-back win that propelled us into the playoffs for the first time!

How about April 29, 2010 when we defeated Palmer Ridge to clinch the Pioneer League championship (which was quite a feat as you look back on perennial-baseball powers Legend and Palmer Ridge coming from that same league)? After three consecutive walks by the Palmer Ridge pitcher, sophomore Stephen Miller blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the first to seize momentum and the league title.

Or April 18, 2011 when we again defeated #1-ranked Wheat Ridge to propel us to the league championship? Sophomore Daniel Butler smashed a towering opposite field home run to give us the lead in this pivotal Jeffco League matchup.

What about one month later on May 15, 2011 when we defeated Montrose for our first district championship? In a game played on Sunday on a cold and rainy weekend, we came out in the first inning and laid an absolute egg - error upon error in the first inning spotting Montrose to a big lead. Then leadoff man Jared Ward steps up and blasts a home run over the centerfield fence. In the bottom of the seventh, Jake Steese hits a pop up behind third base for what should have been the last out of the game, but the Montrose shortstop drops the ball down the line and we rally for the extra inning win.

And, of course, May 10, 2014 when the most famous Valor Baseball picture was taken right after A.J. Cecil hit the grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to give us the District Championship win.

It seems there’s some magic in that field here in Highlands Ranch…The most important thing to remember in all of this is the following verse:

“We love because he first loved us.†(1 John 4:19)

My wife and I put this on our wedding invitation. It was an acknowledgement that we are able to love each other because God loved us first. In our marriage, we are called to love each other in this life as God loved us.I love Valor Baseball. We all love Valor Baseball because we love each other. And we love each other because God loved us first. Living out that daily choice to sacrifice and love each other will continue to make the Valor Baseball field as special of a place as Yankee Stadium is to a Yankee fan.

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