On the last official day of the PRIBL, emotions were running rampant, as a plethora of contrasting feelings were apparent throughout the team and coaching staff. After being on the island for about a month together, mostly everyone was torn between wanting to go home to see family and friends and not wanting to leave their teammates and this tropical island behind. I, for one, did not want to exit this paradise that I had called home for over a month.
Since it was the last day of the league, we were scheduled to play an intersquad match-up between the two different PRIBL teams. The white and red squads were set to play each other in a friendly scrimmage that included perpetual bragging rights for the winner.
I was slated to pitch second for white, and we were the designated home team. The red team jumped to an early 1-0 lead after scoring a run in the first inning. After this slight hiccup, both starting pitchers settled in and held the teams scoreless until the fifth inning.
We managed to scrape together some hits to score a run in the fifth and sixth inning. I was set to take the mound in the sixth with us leading 2-1. Since we were only playing seven innings, this was a chance for me to earn the save and be able to talk trash to my teammates and friends on the red team.
We ended up winning the game 2-1, but I didn’t finish the game as planned. For the last out, one of the coaches came in to close the game out against the team trainer. It was funny and an interesting experience to see our coach pitch. I also got to pitch against one of my roommates, but unfortuanely, I walked him after a 3-2 count. I’m sure he will forever remind me of the fact that I was “scared” to pitch to him on a full count.
After the game, everyone said their goodbyes to each other and the coaching staff. It was a cloudless day with the hot sun beating down on us, and we were able to enjoy some refreshing cervezas on the field after the game. The coaching staff had one final speech prepared for us which explained the Empire League system and their spring training protocol. It was a bittersweet day for sure, and I was melancholy at the thought of potentially never playing baseball in Puerto Rico again.