It was the during 2nd inning of the regional semifinals on Monday between Clinton County, Pennsylvania and Lafayette, Louisiana, widely accepted to be the most pivotal inning of all pre-pubescent baseball games, when 11-year-old Peter O’Keefe misplayed a routine fly ball to left field with the bases loaded, plunging his team into an insurmountable deficit and launching the Clinton County crowd into a frenzy.
Little Peter O’Keefe, who has been described by former friends and family as overly ambitious and painfully optimistic, immediately charged in when he saw the ball was hit towards him. Upon realizing that he had overrun the pop fly, Peter tried to compensate by throwing his glove-hand up over his head while awkwardly hopping in the air . With his arms too short and his calves too underdeveloped the ball flew over his glove and rolled all the way to the wall. As the wide-eyed, freckled runners panted excitedly around the basepaths, the crowd behind Peter, draped in blue in support of their boys from Clinton County, erupted in what could only be described as pure jubilation. By the time the Mercy Rule was inacted in the 4th inning, the fans from Clinton County were shotgunning beers while mockingly singing “Peter Peter, fly ball misreader.”
The Clinton County supporters, who dominated the attendance for Monday’s matchup, had been on the edge of their picnic blankets for the entire game leading up to Peter’s pivotal error. “I like to think we had something to do with the outcome,” boasted Dale Johnson, a 41-year-old father of 2. “We were really getting in his head in the early innings.”
They say that the true character of a man reveals itself during the toughest times, and after committing the error that dashed the hopes of his teammates and eliminated Lafayette from the Little League World Series, all Peter O’Keefe could do was cry.
“I’m sorry I didn’t catch it,” wailed Peter in his post-game press conference. “Can anybody drive me home? I think my parents left me,” he continued to sob, quite unprofessionally.
Clinton County will square off with Huntington Beach, California in the U.S. semifinals this Thursday, with the winner of which will be the Caucasian representative to face whichever freaky-deaky foreign team the Rest of the World bracket produces.