LSSU Lakers vs Tiffin Dragons (NCAA)
Locey Field-Sault Ste Marie, MI: Going into the weekend, we knew this would probably be our last chance to see the Laker softball team play. What I didn’t expect, is the school making the decision to cancel the softball program entirely after this season, and that is as of last weekend. I do feel that we were fortunate, however, to witness the final games of the program.
Game one was a tough loss for the Lakers. Down four zip, the girls stormed back to tie the game in the sixth. The rally started when Soo native Jenna Holt hit a double to the wall, scoring Lindsey Pajot and Carly Banchiu. Alyssa Boucher then scored on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to one. Kylie Durre then tied the game by surviving a tough pickle situation. Boucher took the circle at the top of seven, but game up the game-winning home run. FINAL Game 1: LSSU 4, TU 5.
On to game number two, the final game in the history of the LSSU softball program. With the Dragons up 2-0, catcher Katie Martin hit an RBI single to cut the lead to one. That would be all the Lakers got for a few innings, though, as Tiffin racked up a few more. Kylie Durre hit a dinger in the sixth, and Banchiu added an RBI single in the seventh, but it was too little, too late, and that’s all she wrote for Laker softball. FINAL Game 2: LSSU 3, TU 7.
It was sad to watch that final out, and the girls were obviously very emotional. The program has been very good to us over the years, with Lily, Trevor, and Brian all participating in their camps and clinics. We in turn have supported the team the best we can. Now, as we move on as a family, these girls must now do the same, especially the younger classes that will have to find a new team to play for. So, as this door closes, new ones are now opening for all of us…
LSSU Lakers vs Ohio Dominican (NCAA)
Locey Field-Sault Ste Marie, MI: Last weekend the Lake Superior State Lakers played their first home game in four seasons. With our impending move, it was good to see a game, and get distracted from life. It was a little cool, as it usually is up here, but the sun was shining and the field was in good shape.
The Lakers took on Ohio Dominican in a double header. In game one, Riley Durban took the loss in the circle, pitching all seven innings and striking out two. The Lakers were lead offensively by Katey Hendershott who went 2-3. Lindsay Pajot added a double, Taylor Steinhelper had a single, stolen base, and run scored, while Teryn Williams and Carly Banchiu added an RBI each. Lake Superior scored three runs in the first inning, but couldn’t push anything else across after that. FINAL Game 1: LSSU 3, ODU 6.
In the second game, it was the Panthers who jumped out to a lead, but they never relinquished it. Pajot had two of the three Laker RBI’s in the loss. Kylie Durre drove in Hendershott for the other Laker run. Freshman Alyssa Thayer pitched a complete three strikeout game in the loss. FINAL Game 2: LSSU 3, ODU 7.
West Michigan Whitecaps vs. South Bend Cubs (Midwest League)
Fifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI: For our last game in Michigan for awhile, mother nature really dumped on us, and it’s hard not to take this personally. For the Whitecaps home opener, it was a balmy 36 degrees, but honestly at least the sun was out and the game wasn’t cancelled. We wanted to make sure we were one of the first 1,000 through the gate, so we could claim our replica 2015 Midwest League championship rings.
Unfortunately, do to the field conditions and cold, they cancelled the on field catch and autograph session. They never opened the play ground, either, and really cheesed Brian off. At least we were able to see all three of the ‘Caps mascots one more time, as they entertained the kids until game time.
The team also had all six of West Michigan’s Midwest League championship trophies on display. The time finally passed, and while we were basking in the sun, the club had a little presentation of the newest trophy.
As you can see, the Whitecaps have added extended netting all the way across the dugout, and this really screws up my world as a baseball fan. Watching and trying to take pictures through this netting simply sucks, in my opinion. I do understand it’s for safety, but if some fans can’t keep off their iPhones during gameplay, or have small children, they need to pay attention or sit in a less dangerous area.
Due to the cold, the game itself seemed to be a little sloppy, although a few of the batters were given an ‘hit’ on a ball that would probably normally be an error. The Whitecaps could seem to get a big hit with players in scoring position either, with Brett Pirtle scoring their first run on a passed ball. On the bump, Hall pitched four innings, giving up one run on five hits, while striking out two. Relief pitcher Toller Boardman gave up three runs for West Michigan to take the loss, however.
Trailing 5-1 going into the ninth, the ‘Caps made it a little interesting, score a pair of runs, but it was too little too late. Offensively, Pirtle ended up going 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored. First baseman Will Allen and left fielder Rashad Brown each went 2-4, with Allen adding an RBI. I also had to take another walk to find a place for a few more photo not obstructed by the netting. Final: Whitecaps 3, Cubs 5.
Despite the cold and the everything, it was still a fun day at the ballpark. Again, the watching the game through all that netting isn’t as enjoyable, and Brian was bummed all game that they never opened the playground, but still a better time than doing anything anywhere else. We’ll be pretty busy the next couple of weeks, and can’t wait to be settled and at home in a new ballpark. I’ll sign off for now with a video of the game:
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Lake Superior State University-Sault Ste. Marie, MI: Last week Brian participated in his last clinic hosted by the Lake Superior State Lakers softball team. Pictured above, is him acting silly with two of his favorite players. They are always really nice to him, and were sad to hear that he’s moving away. Brian had a good time running through the basic drills and hitting off of the tee. He tired out a bit in the second hour of the clinic, though. I’ve always appreciated the clinics and camps that the Lady Lakers have made available to both the girls and boys throughout the years. Lily started attending when she was young, with her brother following suit. I’m sure we’ll take advantage of all the camps down in Kentucky with all of the colleges and pro teams in the area. This has also been an fairly easy winter up here, so we’re really hoping the Lakers are able to play their first home game in four years, so we can see them one last time.
Indy Fuel vs Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum-Indianapolis, IN: While driving back to Michigan last weekend, we decided to stop in Indy for fuel. I mean, Fuel. Minor league hockey, like baseball, is a great family friendly affordable fun, so we were definitely lucky to catch this East Coast Hockey League game. It was Racing Night, and Trevor was able to meet Indy car driver Conor Daly before the game.
The game itself was fun, and they had a few fun things going on between periods. The visiting Cyclones took it to the home team, though. Sam Jardine scored the lone goal for the Fuel in the loss. The number one star of the game was Cincy goalie Andy Iles with 30 saves. This is definitely a fun place to stop, and I’m sure we’ll be using Indy as a resting point many times on our trips between Kentucky and Michigan. Final: Fuel 1, Cyclones 5.
Louisville Cardinals vs Princeton Tigers (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: While down in Louisville doing some business, we had time to take in our first Cardinals baseball game. The weather didn’t feel a whole lot different than Michigan, in the high 30’s and cool, but I’m definitely not going to complain if I’m able to watch baseball in March. Jim Patterson Stadium is a great college facility, and I honestly can’t believe that the games are free here. We settled in behind the Louisville dugout, and watched about half of the game from there. The netting extends to the end of the dugout, so it was hard to get any great pics from this vantage point. We moved to the other side of the stadium, and I was able to get a few from that angle. I’m not a huge fan of too much netting, but that’s another story altogether. Despite the cold (which I’m used to) it was a fun game to watch and a good distraction from everything else that’s going on in my life right now.
On to the game itself, I was happy to see that Kyle Funkhouser was on the bump for the Cards. He ended up with the win, and tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts on the afternoon. He allowed two runs on four hits, and only walked one batter. Funkhouser also retired the last 11 batters that he faced. In relief, Lincoln Henzman came into the game and pitched two shutouts innings to earn the save. Louisville was led offensively by sophomore third-baseman Blake Tiberi, who was 2-4 with an RBI. Sophomore DH Brendan McKay pitched in with a double and a pair of RBI’s himself, while junior second-baseman Nick Solak had a single, RBI, and two walks. It was a fun afternoon, and good to get our first game in. I’m sure there will be plenty more that we’ll attend with the quality of baseball and free admission. I’m hoping to make at least one game in Michigan before we get down here and settled, but the next couple of months will be crazy for us, for sure. Final score: Louisville 4, Princeton 2.
Lake Superior State University-Sault Ste Marie, MI: This week Brian participated in the second of three clinics the Lake Superior State softball team hosted. Brian was the only boy in the clinic again, but the players always have fun with him. They started out taking some ground balls, and then worked on some fly balls. The kids always love the obstacle courses, too. They like to compete with each other and it’s good that they get to run around since they can’t play outside in the weather up here. Then they played some other games that worked on their speed and agility before hitting the cage.
As usual, Brian is a boss in the batting cage. He hit well, but is his own worse critic. Getting him to relax and have fun is the real challenge, as he feels he should be pounding the ball every pitch. I didn’t help that we had a busy weekend with little sleep, so that made him a little grumpy as well. The joys of being a parent, I guess. The kids ended the clinic with more games, and Brian had the chance to don his tools of ignorance for a little while to take some pitches. The Lady Lakers will be hosting one more clinic next month.
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Dow Diamond-Midland, MI: On Saturday the Great Lakes Loons kicked off their 10th season with an event to unveil their new logo and uniforms. The concourse at Dow Diamond was able to be enclosed, and we were able to enjoy the presentation, along with all of the other activities, in relative comfort. The presentation started with a video that showed some of the highlights of the first nine seasons of Loons baseball. Then the new logos were revealed, all together, and then they went over each one. My favorite is probably the Loon with the fishing hat. In won’t show each one individually, but you can see them all between the top and lower photo of Brian and I.
We ended the day both taking some cuts in the batting cages. Brian and I were both able to experience this back when I played the fantasy game here, but it’s always fun to get some swings in, especially in winter when it’s -15 outside!
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Planning our baseball trip for this coming summer, we decided to once again make a stop at Louisville Slugger Field in Kentucky. Our last trip there was way back in 2009, a tour that took to South Bend, Indianapolis, Louisville, Fort Wayne, then back to Michigan with Lansing in a nice clean loop. Unfortunately, shortly after that trip the chip that all the photos were saved on became ‘corrupted’ and I lost all but a very few I had already posted way back when I first started M.I.B. I did, however, find a few photos that my dad took using ‘film’. This ‘film’, as it’s called, somehow stores pictures in this little plastic thing, and then he has to take it to a store, and actually WAIT to see what they look like. Can you imagine having to wait over an hour to see the pictures you took? Anyway, here are a few that I was able to find, and Louisville Slugger Field is a great place to watch a ballgame. I wish I could have found one of the stadium’s façade, as it’s built into an old rain station and is absolutely amazing. Instead we’ll have to settle for a couple of a very young Trevor before he became taller that his dad. The ballpark is pretty big, with an area out in left field where concerts and parties can take place, rides for the kids, and a playground down the left field line. I really like that parents can see the game from the playground area, so we don’t miss anything while the kids are letting off a little steam. I even caught a foul ball there while Trevor was busy playing. I really liked that the concourse wraps all the way around the stadium, also. There’s not a bad seat in the house, although the seats are structured at such an angle that the ones higher up do feel like your off the field a little too much, but with a larger Triple-A stadium it’s not unexpected. The overhanging seats from the sky boxes don’t give off much shade, either, so if you see a day game in the summer time, you’re going to be getting plenty of sun.
I really recommend seeing a game here for anyone in the area, and can’t wait to return this summer. The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is located just down the street, also, so plenty to do in this area. This summer, our plan is to see games in Louisville, Nashville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Florence. This should be a great trip if the weather is nice, and will include the South Atlantic League All-Star game in Lexington. I actually would have hoped to be transferred to Kentucky by, but things move slowly (if it happens at all…) and if a miracle happens, I’ll already be settled there and ready to go!
UPDATE: This will be my new home field by this spring!!!!!!!!!!!
Lake Superior State University-Sault Ste. Marie, MI: This week Brian was lucky enough to take part in a clinic hosted by the Lake Superior State softball team. Since we don’t have a baseball team up here, the girls are gracious enough to invite the boys to join in, and get taught all aspects of the game. He had a chance to show off his batting skills in the cage, and really stroked the ball well. He also was given good instruction on his throwing and catching mechanics, which is something he needed. Brian was also given the chance to break in his new catchers gear that he got for his birthday. He had a lot of fun and was able to learn some new techniques to help out his game. The players area always really nice to him and he loves spending time with his ‘friends’. The Lakers will be having two more clinics in both February and March that he plans to attend.