There might not be a harder job for a Little League coach than keeping the players enthusastic during an inning when they're allowing 15 runs in the rain.
It can be glove-over-the-face, get us out of here and into a dry dugout near some hot pizza time. It's not the script for a Frosted Flakes commercial between innings of the televised Little League World Series games.
These kinds of innings are made worse when they're extended by dropped fly balls and wild throws and unintentional one-legged slides caused by feet giving way to the wet grass below.
And through it all, European champ Ramstein AFB, Germany, endured all of this on television against Midwest champ Kearney, Neb., on Monday in a crossover consolation game that Kearney won, 17-1 in four innings, between two teams that already had dropped their first two games to be eliminated from championship contention.
No doubt the players would rather have their friends back home see them hitting home runs and striking out hitters, not getting struck out.
So perhaps the Series shouldn't pass without a note for how Ramstein manager Eric Vincent tried his best to keep the kids positive, as any Lamade Stadium camera scan could pick up multiple pouts as all but two of Kearney's 15 second-inning runs were unearned. Vincent also deserves some points for showing up in the postgame media room when others might just have bypassed it.
"It saddens me. I'm in that dugout, and us coaches are seeing what's happening when the kids make those plays," Vincent said. "You hate it for the kids. But the parents know, and people following us know, what kind of good defensive team we are. It hurts inside to watch the kids suffer through that, and when they get back into the dugout it's tough."
It's easier in the other dugout. Everyone in there wants to be seen back home scoring 15 runs in an inning, though surely they'd rather do it in a game that can advance them toward a championship.
But Kearney manager Brad Wegner kept his team playing crisp baseball, even as teams here hit his pitching harder than he'd imagined in its first two games.
Monday's rain delay, lasting 1:36, gave Kearney a chance to soak up the atmosphere in Lamade Stadium one more time. Players wanted to go out and slide across the infield tarp like the classic clips on "This Week in Baseball" but that was not to be.
So, singing and dancing along to the hit "Teach Me How to Dougie" with second baseman Matt Masker had to suffice.
"He has a face made for radio, and dance moves for it, too," Wegner said.
Kearney will leave with a big win and a probable pickup game Wednesday with the Uganda team. Those are two memories that any non-championship team would gladly take home, where Kearney soon will attend a Chamber of Commerce event and minor-league game in Omaha.
But for Ramstein, it's different. Vincent hoped to play a crossover game later in the week against a team to be determined as the team stays the duration of the tournament and visits Yankee Stadium next Monday before returning home.
There also will be time to spend with new friends, some of whom endured their own share of less-than-perfect moments here, but still moments that only a couple hundred kids each year experience even if they don't win.
"Each kid might give you a different answer, but I think they all bask in the attention, and it's not just the kids their age. The adults treat them like royalty," Vincent said. "Everyone in Williamsport exceeded their expectations."
Brigandi is the Sun-Gazette sports editor and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.