The Little League home run is the most delightful of baseball plays, as long as your favorite team isn’t on the wrong end of it. Sometimes, like in a youth league full of well-meaning bumblers, the batter gets a hit and just keeps running until he crosses home plate.
The Orioles were on the right end of one of those plays in the second inning on Wednesday night. The play looked more like something that would have happened to the Orioles in a bad way during the Perlozzo/Trembley era.
Instead, it was the Rays who played a Seth Smith single with a man on first base into a play where two runs, including Smith, the batter, crossed the plate. All you critics of third base coach Bobby Dickerson, eat your heart out on this one, and as former Camden Chatter Sung Min Kim observes, fire up that Yakety Sax music:
There’s a lot going on there. Let’s try to unpack it all.
- Smith floats a single in front of Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
- Baserunner Ryan Flaherty aggressively goes first to third on the play, provoking a throw from Kiermaier.
- Kiermaier’s throw from center field takes Evan Longoria into Flaherty’s path, leading Flaherty to wipe out Longoria and the ball to skip towards the Rays dugout.
- Flaherty makes to go home on the play, prompting pitcher Alex Cobb, who retrieved the ball, to attempt to throw out Flaherty at third base.
- Cobb’s throw ends up ricocheting off of Longoria and into left field for a throwing error. Flaherty races home.
- Smith, the batter, has been taking every base off-camera and when Rays left fielder Shane Peterson is slow getting to the ball, he is sent home.
- Peterson makes a weak throw in towards the infield, which Longoria relays home to catcher Derek Norris.
- Smith arrives ahead of the throw and scores the second run on the play after having started it in the batter’s box.
Or, as the MLB.com Gameday play log says:
Seth Smith singles on a line drive to center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Ryan Flaherty scores. Seth Smith scores. Throwing error by pitcher Alex Cobb. Throwing error by center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.
Gary Thorne attempts to make sense of the play as it happens:
According to the SABR Little League Home Run Database (hat tip to @JamesSmyth621 on Twitter for pointing this out,) this was the first Little League home run hit by the Orioles since Boog Powell got one on August 11, 1966.
Or perhaps expressed more succinctly like the hip kids do: