Shea's Final Out?

Shea's Final Out?

It was quite a weekend for Shea Moriarty - the kind that baseball legends are made of. It may have ended on an innocuous play. The Diplomats were putting together an impressive inning, and as the senior rightfielder rounded third, his knee quit beneath him. Laying in the damp grass a few feet from the bag - a distance he was unable to cover - Ursinus third baseman, Rob Vogt, put what is likely to be the final out on Moriarty's career.

He was carried 87 of the last 90 feet by classmate, John Dutton. With a smile through the pain he said out loud to no one in particular, "It was bound to happen sooner or later." The "it" he was referring to was known to about half of the crowd on hand. Moriarty played the better half of his season on a partially torn ACL. He missed a 15-game stretch early in the year. Then, on one good wheel, he came back and hit .316 with seven doubles, a triple and four home runs.

He knocked in 20 runs. He drew 13 walks and only went down on strikes eight times. He was a perfect six-for-six in stolen base attempts, and oh by the way, had a partially torn ACL.

Patrolling rightfield, he played with the intensity of a man on borrowed time. He went after balls in the gaps as if he was playing with the house's money, after all, he was, and he was perfect all season.

He was perfect all season, until Friday.

With bases loaded, two outs and his team holding a one run lead in the Jays' tightly constructed nest, Moriarty was charged with his first error of the season. Two powder blue and white runners streaked in front of the Diplomats bench, which had reached the third baseline to celebrate.

The deflated Diplomats could only look to their right and see a Blue Jays dogpile.

No one who had ever seen a baseball game could help but feel sorry for Moriarty. It was instant agony to anyone who had ever owned a mitt. Fortunately for F&M fans, Moriarty didn't spend too much time feeling sorry for himself.

Less than 24 hours later, his team was on the short end - trailing two and running out of chances - not just in the game, but in the season. When the first out went up on the board, you could see in his eyes that there was no doubt in Moriarty's mind that he was set to give the game a ride. With the swing of the bat, Moriarty tied a game that looked almost as lost as the previous day's had looked won. It was the moment that had to happen, just to know there is some justice in the world.

Following the buckle of the knee at third - Dutton set Moriarty down just beyond home plate. He walked to the dugout under his own power and packed his knee down in ice.

In less than 24 hours, Moriarty experienced the agony of defeat, the thrill of victory, and the possibility that his borrowed time may have expired. Maybe there is a Kirk Gibson moment left in Moriarty's career. It is more probable that he won't lace up his spikes at all tomorrow. If it wasn't for Moriarty, it is likely there wouldn't be any Diplomats diamondmen lacing up spikes at all on this championship Sunday.