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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Force is Strong

First and foremost - and this has nothing to do with baseball or Star Wars - but today there is a feeling in the air; coolness, I can feel it! I realize that Autumn may still be weeks away, but perhaps this past weekend was Summer's final showdown (because OH MY SWEET BABY JESUS - THE HEAT) and the cooler temperatures are arriving?? I hope so....

Anywho - on to the baseball and the Star Wars, right? Saturday was Star Wars Day at Nationals Park; we went to the first edition of this last year and had a blast, so when I saw way back in April that they were doing it again...tickets were bought! It was absolutely blazing hot outside on Saturday - the heat index topped out at around 110 but Nationals baseball and Star Wars are obviously a powerful combination because even in that heat...the game was a sell out!

Keep Moving...Nothing to See...
I'd initially had grand plans to wander and take pictures of all the costumed people and activities...but the pesky thing about that...well, since I'd succumbed to some form of heat exhaustion earlier in the day, hanging around in the heat for very long made me feel pretty zapped in no time. *sigh*

We collected our t-shirts, (so cute - I shared a picture below) put our names on the hour and fifteen minute wait-list for The Brewhouse and then while I wandered a wee bit, my parents sought out the shade and waited for the cooling station located in the Roosevelt Room to open at 5:30. I took a couple pictures and then joined them and I'm not even ashamed to tell you that we hung out in the cooling room (free ice water and AC - yes please!) until 6:00 and then went back to the Brewhouse to eat! The name of the game was staying in the cool for as long as possible - seriously. 

As our meal was wrapping up, the National Anthem was played and there was a "flyover" that my Mom managed to miss. When I told her this, she immediately snapped her head up and said "what?!? I missed the flyover!?!" Ha-ha! My Dad was walking back from the restroom and said "did y'all see that flyover?" and my Mom said "no...I completely missed it!" Well, we couldn't keep it together after that and we both cracked up! The "flyover" was three X-Wing fighters and the Millennium Falcon on the big screen...hehehe! And with that, the game was underway!

Storm Troopers & Jawas & Empire Pilots...oh my....
Jayson Werth = Chewbacca...because, of course he does.
As is tradition (if it's tradition when it's only the second year...) each of the Nationals players were represented on the big screen as a Star Wars character: Jayson Werth was Chewbacca...Trea Turner was Luke Skywalker...Reynaldo Lopez was Mace Windu...the list goes on and on... and all of the opposing players were represented as Storm Troopers, with their pitcher showing up as Kylo Ren.

Reynaldo Lopez pitched the Star Wars game and this was only his third outing since being called up from AAA - but it was hands down his best outing. After allowing Nats killer Freddie Freeman to homer in the first inning, he didn't allow another run for the full seven innings he pitched - it was great and he was 100% in the zone! The Nationals didn't wait long to strike back - Trea Turner tripled on his first at bat and when Daniel "Hits" Murphy came up shortly after, he murdered a baseball and the score was 2-1 Nationals! 

Trea Turner hit a solo home run on his second at bat...which made the score 3-1 Nationals and also started a Cycle Watch. I mean, he'd already accomplished the two harder points of making the cycle. FYI - making a cycle is when a player hits a single, double, triple and home run in one game! After Trea's home run, Ben Revere tripled and then made it home on Daniel Murphy's sacrifice fly to take the score to 4-1 Nationals!

Don't let this lovely photo fool you - it was HOT.
My first attempt at video below...don't hate on it...I know it's grainy. Sorry! Cell phone and all that...

Rey & Kylo Ren prepare to face off...
Trea singled in the fifth and then motored home on Ben Revere's second triple of the night (what in the world Ben - hello!) and made the score 5-1 Nationals! Daniel Murphy hit an RBI groundout to allow Ben to cruise home from third and make the score 6-1 Nationals. Jayson Werth extended his on base streak to forty-two straight games and then scored from second base on a wild pitch after Danny Espinosa singled. The score was 7-1 Nationals and Lopez was done for the night - having had an excellent showing.

Sammy Solis came in for the eighth and had the first three batters make it to base...but luckily he induced a double play to get the first two outs before being replaced by Shawn Kelley. Kelley finished off the eighth and Yusmeiro Petit started the ninth with a six run lead. Petit didn't have his best night, allowing a triple and crazily trying to get the lead runner out at third as opposed to the safe out at first. The Braves would score three runs and make it 7-4 before the call to the bullpen brought in Mark Melancon...because we suddenly found ourselves in a save situation.

Mark inherited runners on first and third, allowed a single to load the bases and a double from Erick Aybar that almost became a triple...but Aybar was thrown out at third. Mark shut it down from there and the game was over (thank goodness) with the Nationals winning 7-6! The bullpen was definitely shaky and it was crazy how quickly it went from a sure thing 7-1 win to almost all being lost...eek!

First time seeing Mark Melancon pitch & get a save!
Nationals win!
Thank goodness for Mark Melancon!
Sadly Trea was a double short of making the cycle - but there were two home runs and three triples on the night, plus some stellar pitching from Reynaldo Lopez - so, with the win it was definitely a great game! We stayed at the newly built Hampton Inn right across the street from Nationals Park and let me tell you...that victory was even sweeter knowing we literally had to walk across the street and be "home" for the night! 

I love every visit to Nationals Park and this one was no exception. Even in the blazing heat, this game and this year's Star Wars Day were a blast. The President's Race was Star Wars themed...featuring Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren and Chewbacca...and there were light saber battles taking place all around the stadium that were broadcast in between innings. The footage from the upcoming Rogue One interspersed with Nationals baseball clips was also really cool...and the little kid behind me who would yelp "look - he's Han Solo!" and so on and so forth was hilarious!

Talking with Trea Turner post-game...
BB-8 made completely from cake. Amazing!
I hope Star Wars Day at Nationals Park is an annual thing - it's so cool to see two of my favorite things in one place and I love every minute of it. Even if it's so hot it was so hot that I felt like Nationals Park had been dropped onto Jakku for the game. Blegh.

Star Wars Day t-shirt!

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