After Sunday's come from behind, walk off victory against the Evansville Otters, at least we're able to ask the question. The win brought the Freedom's record to 3-6. A loss would have dropped the Freedom to 2-7 on the year with hopes of a playoff appearance slipping away. And it certainly looked to be heading that way early.
After taking an early 1-0 lead into the third inning, the defense collapsed, committing a few costly errors and five total in the game.
The game looked lost as the Otters took a 7-4 lead into the bottom the eight, but three hits and two walks led to three Freedom runs and a tie score. Suddenly the team had new life. After retiring the Otters in the top of the ninth, Michael Wheeler led off the bottom half with a grounder deep into the hole at short. A quick bobble of the ball allowed Wheeler to reach base safely. A walk and a fly out advance Wheeler to 3rd base. On the second pitch to Johnny Welch, the ball skipped past catcher Billy Killian, allowing Wheeler to scamper home, and setting off a wild celebration at home plate.
The effects of this win will be determined in the coming weeks, but it's undeniable that the excitement and camaraderie shared after a walk off win can bring a team closer together.
But can this be the turning point of the season?
This was not a game the Freedom particularly deserved to win. While the offense was able to battle back from deficits on three separate occasions, the defense, which has been problematic all season long, committed a season high five errors behind starter Tim Holmes. The team looked lethargic and careless heading into the bottom of the eighth.
But baseball is a peculiar game. One (wild) pitch can change the course of an entire season.
The talent on this team is undeniable. But the attention to detail and overall lack of focus has left much to be desired.
The challenge for manager Toby Rumfield is to get his young team to understand the importance every pitch has on the outcome of a game.
The Freedom lead the league in home runs, but it hasn't translated into wins. The old adage about pitching and defense holds true here and the fundamentals must improve for this team to reach it's potential.
The upcoming three game series with the Oakland County Cruisers will go a long way in determining the progress of the team.