From the Annals: The Triple Play

Making outs is Tapey Beercone is a challenge. The league on-base percentage hovers around .650, meaning nearly two-thirds of the time the batter safely reaches first without making an out. Given the difficulty in making one out, it’s no surprise that making two outs on one play is very uncommon. And three outs in one play, well that ought to be impossible.

Double plays do happen, but they are very uncommon, occurring about once every other game. And the double plays that are made tend to occur because of a base-running mistake made by the offense. Usually either a running forgetting to tag up on a caught fly ball, or over confidently running an extra base and getting thrown out. The typical force out ground ball double play, as commonly seen in baseball, where the runner starting at 1st base is put out by a force at 2nd before the ball is thrown to 1st to put out the batter, is a rarity in Tapey Beercone, occurring only a couple of times to date.

A “typical” TBC double-play. Here “The Coach” catches a line drive and throws to 2nd to double up “The Wildcat” who was caught off base on the play.

Double plays are back breaking to offenses. In addition to limiting the offense to scoring no more than 3 runs in a regular inning, they tend to do more than that. Often acting as inning ending plays when there has already been an out in the inning, even when this isn’t the case they are often the catalyst for a shutout inning.

An inning ending catch and tag double play.

If outs are a challenge, and double plays rare, then a triple would would seem to have no chance of happening at all. True they are extremely unlikely, but it has happened, once. During the “Quake at the Lake” game at Folsom Lake’s Riparian Hideout. In the top of the first inning, and after the first three batters all reached safely, clean up batter Eric was up with the bases loaded. This was the perfect opening for Eric’s squad and he wouldn’t have planned it any different. Without any blemishes to the inning so far, his team had their best power hitter at the plate set up to do major damage. In his mind he had the opposing team right where he wanted them.

Eric’s big swing.

After a few taken pitches, and a foul ball, Eric hit a huge fly ball high and deep to left center field. Under more normal circumstances, had the defense been composes of only 2 or 3 players, it’s likely that no player would have been playing deep enough to make a play on the ball. But as it was, with a 6 on 6 game underway, and with the ball hit high enough for a player to make a run at it, this was not the case. Playing center field safety, Chris tracked the ball, running with both hands in the air. But it was unclear if he had a good read and would make the catch. All the runners on base we’re running on the play, and it looked like Eric could hit a grand slam if the ball landed.

The defense Eric was facing, with Jeff at shortstop, and Chris playing Center Field Safety.

But Chris made the two handed catch! A with a quick throw in to Jeff at 2nd base they forced out two runners at just the one base. The epic play turned a possible first inning disaster into a shutout inning, and still over four years later it stands as the game’s only triple play.

Jeff catching and tagging 2nd to complete the triple play!

Author: The Coach

#8 The Coach, founding Regent of Tapey Beercone.

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