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Monday, May 2, 2016

Winning in October is a great momentum builder

Sunday, October 14, 2012

There's nothing like the month of October to get your juices flowing, huh?

On Friday night, the above mentioned was never more evident when it came to the baseball playoffs.

Soon after arriving in Dyer to watch the Trojans manhandle the winless Pioneers of Gibson County, my pocket began to buzz. Yep, I knew it was a text message from my wife with an update on the final game of the NLDS between St. Louis and Washington.

The message said the Nationals had scored three runs, the inning wasn't over and Wainwright ... well, I better not print what she had to say about him.

Later, while Dyersburg was laying the smack down on another hapless opponent, another text revealed a 4-0 deficit, then 6-0. This was the point were even the most faithful Cardinal fans had to at least think that the season was about to end.

By the time I arrived at the house, the National lead was 6-1 in the fifth inning and the Washington assistants were busy getting the booze-filled celebration ready in the locker room.

And then, without warning, a comeback began that had my household on the edge of their seats and yelling like they had just won the lottery.

Two runs in the top of the fifth were nice, but is it me or did the game almost feel exactly like a game or two played last year in the World Series? Momentum can change without warning, and in the late innings of the final game of the series, it swung toward the Cardinals.

After scoring a run in the seventh and eighth innings to get within striking distance, the Nationals scored in their half of the eighth to take a 2-run advantage to the ninth.

St. Louis had been in this position before I thought, and it's never over until it's over just as the squad proved last season. After the Cards plated four runs in the top of the ninth, the end result was basically a formality with closer Jason Motte on the mound.

I have never seen over 45,000 people that quiet in all my life, but they were silent. The momentum swing in the middle innings was phenomenal and the final result assured the Cards a spot in the NLCS against San Francisco starting today.

Momentum is a funny thing. Some believe it matters, some don't. Myself, I'm a believer.

Just as sure as I am the Cardinals will probably face the Yankees in the World Series, the Trojan football team will ride the momentum of a six-game winning streak to a 9-1 finish and become winners of eight straight.

When the Trojans fell to Covington in their lone loss of the season, the squad could have lowered their heads and just played the season out. Instead, they decided to work, get better and yes, build momentum.

Now, they have the momentum just like St. Louis does, but there are still big games to play for both squads. The current momentum both are riding can change in a heartbeat if both aren't careful, but it's sure a good feeling to wake up on Saturday knowing the Cards are still alive and the Trojans are on a six-game winning streak.

I'd say both teams know a lot about momentum and how to use it to their advantage.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@ stategazette.com

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