2017 Little League underway

Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY:  How nice is this, that Brian is playing outside in nice weather? In April! Brian’s back in Rookie ball this season, this time suiting up for the Diamondbacks, and ready to pursue another championship.  The North Oldham Little League does a great job promoting itself, and has a pancake breakfast and parade to kick off the season.  Unfortunately, do to work, we were unable to make this early morning festivities, but he’s made the two out of the three games so far (Tuesday night we had tickets to WWE Smackdown Live that we bought well in advance).

The first game of the season the D-backs won 13-4.  Brian went 2-3 with an RBI at the dish.  In the field, he made some nice plays and had some good catches to pitch in defensively.  In the second game, the D-backs held on to win 6-5.  Brian scored the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning on his second hit of the night.  He was 2-2 with two ribeye steaks.  He didn’t get anything hit to him in the field, so he was actually mad after the game.  A little ice cream cheered him up, though.  I’ll probably kick out a mid-season report in a few weeks!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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Bats get Clipped

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Another fun night of baseball, this time back in the ‘Ville.  This was the last game my dad would be at on this visit.  He plans on coming back next month, though, for some more minor league ball and the ACC Championships.  It was a beautiful night, as the weather just seemed to get better as the weekend went along.  Brian played on the playground most of the game, but was happy to spend some time with his papa, too.

Brian won this hat, but gave it to his Papa for his golf games

This was a good game, with the Bats down, but certainly not out.  Louisville was lead offensively by catcher Rob Brantly, who went 3-6 with four RBI’s, including a 2-run homer in the seventh and a game tying double in the eighth.  Jesse Winker helped out by going 2-4 with an RBI and run scored, and Philip Ervin went 2-5 with two runs scored.

On the mound, Jackson Stephens got the start for Louisville.  In four innings pitched, he gave up five runs while striking out four.  Luckily the offense  and bullpen bailed him out, so he didn’t get the decision.  Evan Mitchell ended up taking the loss, though, after giving up the winning run in the 10th.  He pitched two innings and gave up three hits.  Final in 10:  Bats 8, Clippers 9.

Another fun night, with it being capped off with Brian getting to meet Jake the Diamond Dog.  We saw him a couple of times last season, as he acted as bat boy and brought water to the umpires. He was hot and tired by the end of the night, though.  We look forward to our next game, which will probably be right back here at Louisville Slugger Field.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Burning rubber into Bowling Green

Bowling Green Hot Rods vs. Fort Wayne TinCaps (Midwest League)

Bowling Green Ballpark-Bowling Green, KY:  This was our first game here in Bowling Green, and I can honestly say it was a fun experience.  Bowling Green Ballpark is nice place to watch a game, and is snuggled right into the down town area.  The only negative thing I can say about the ballpark, is that there is just so much netting, it was difficult to get good photos of the action.

We had good seats, though, although I had to move around a bit to find a place to take a pic or two without the netting in the way.  Brian was having a fun time, also, and we really liked meeting the Hot Rod mascots Axel and Roscoe.  I was impressed with the mascots, they were very active through out the game and did a great job of entertaining and interacting with the fans.

Brian with Hot Rods mascots Axel and Roscoe.

Now, as much fun as meeting a bear and monkey that are apparently auto mechanics, the highlight of this trip was that Brian was chosen to help out with the announcing.  He was randomly picked by the Hot Rods staff, and during the fourth inning was able to announce the Bowling Green batters.  He was good luck, also, as the Hot Rods plated some runs during the inning.  Brian was a little nervous at first, but the staff in the press box was very friendly and supportive, and he ended up doing a fine job!

Here’s a video of him:

And why not another video, as they’re short:

 

That was so much fun for him, but we almost forgot there was a pretty good ballgame going on, also.  On the bump for Bowling Green, starting pitcher Brock Burke went three innings, giving up one hit, giving up one earned run, and striking out five.  Roel Ramirez actual got the win, despite giving up four hits and two runs.  Spencer Jones earned the save, pitching two innings while giving up one hit and had three strike outs.   Bowling Green was lead offensively by Nathaniel Lowe, who went 2-4 with two RBI’s, and Jesus Sanchez, who went 2-3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Final:  Hot Rods 6, TinCaps 4.

This was a fun night of baseball, and definitely makes us want to take another trip down to Bowling Green.   There is also almost a limitless amount of things to see and do between Louisville and Bowling Green, also.  So many National Parks and museums, it would take many trips to see and experience everything.  Below is a photo of Brian at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  Just one of the fun activities we did that’s not baseball related.

Photos and videos property of Minoring In Baseball

Opening week in Cincy

Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies (National League)

Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH:  We’re used to taking my dad to a ballgame for his birthday up in Michigan, but since we’re down here now, we decided to invite him down here for a game (or two, or three).  We’re also used to some crummy weather up there, so a little cold and rain certainly didn’t keep us from the ballpark down here.  This was his first game in Cincy, also, so it was a special day.  Lucky for us the usher we met was also a Tiger fan, so he took good care of us.  He was nice enough to take a photo of us together, as well as get my dad a certificate for his birthday and first Reds game.

There wasn’t much of a crowd, but we enjoyed our seats in the front row of the upper level.  There was a little rain, but we donned our ponchos and kept dry.  There wasn’t much of a crowd, so we could pretty much sit where we wanted.  After a few innings on the upper level, we moved below to enjoy the rest of the game from there.

On the mound, Rookie Davis was getting his first Major League start, as he is, well, a rookie.  He didn’t pitch horrible, but did give up a couple of home runs, allowing four runs in five innings of work, while striking out four batters.  Despite being down a few runs, the Reds bullpen was strong.  Cody Reed ended up getting the win, throwing two scoreless innings.  Drew Storen earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth and striking out two.

Cincinnati was lead offensively by Adam Duvall, who went 2-4 with a home run and two RBI’s.  Also pitching in were Zach Cozart, going 2-3 with two RBI’s; Eugenio Suarez, going 2-3 with two runs scored; and Billy Hamilton, going 2-5.  Pitcher Michael Lorenzen also stepped up to the plate and hit a pinch-hit home run!  It was a solid day all around offensively for the Reds. Final:  Reds 7, Phillies 2.

Despite the weather that seemed to keep most fans away (and the fact that it was a weekday day game), this was a fun game to watch.  I’m not sure when we’ll make it back to Cincy again, lots of minor league and college ball the next couple of months to keep us busy!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats vs. Reds…sort of

Louisville Bats vs. Cincinnati Reds (Exhibition)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  We’re so glad that Bats baseball is slowly creeping back into our lives!  On Friday night the Bats (sort of) hosted the Cincinnati Reds for an exhibition game. I say ‘sort of’ for the Bats because in all reality, this was a Red’s Futures team, which probably very few from this roster will be actually seeing time in Louisville this summer.  Probably more guys from the Reds roster will be here, but it’s still baseball, and it was still a fun game.  We got there as early as we could, to get our Adam Duvall bobble-head and our free Reds hats (we still cheered for our ‘Bats’, though).  As the Reds were warming up, we noticed catcher Rob Brantly, who we saw play up in Michigan for the Whitecaps.  Since they were old pals, Brian decided to go chat with him a bit.

And here were the starting line-ups for the teams:

The obvious big pop for the night was for Louisville’s own Adam Duvall.  He had a nice game, too, going 2-2 with a double.

The game was low scoring, with both runs coming in the first two innings.  Rookie Davis started on the bump for the Reds.  He pitched three innings, allowing one earned run and three hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsman.   Tyler Mahle started for the Bats/Futures team, hurling five solid innings and allowing one run and seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 87 pitches.  He gave up his only run in the first inning, when Billy Hamilton scored on a Joey Votto base-hit RBI.  The Bats scored their lone run on a Aristides Aquino solo home run.  Final: Bats 1, Reds 1.

The game didn’t have a lot of action, but still a fun night with Brian.  We have tickets for the Reds game on Thursday, but the weather calls for lots of rain, so I’m doubting we’ll get that game in.  The Bats also start this week (officially), so we’ll still try to get a game in somewhere, somehow.  I’ll leave off with a pic of Brian and Buddy Bat, who we were both glad to see for the first time in 2017!

 

Brian with Buddy Bat

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats Open House

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Sunday the Louisville Bats held an Open House for their season ticket holders and guests.   It was a chance for us to get away to the ballpark, and enjoy a nice day that was just chill.  After I picked up my ticket package envelope, we headed to the concession stand to get our free hotdog, popcorn, and pop.  And what better place to enjoy these treats than our reserved seats?  This will be my view for every Sunday game this season:

After we finished up out lunch, we went into the bowels of Louisville Slugger Field to check out the Bats locker room and clubhouse.  Both were modest, but they looked like nice facilities for sure.

Putting on my ‘game face’

When we were done poking around the locker room area, we followed the hallway that lead to the Bats’ dugout.  There is something just relaxing about sitting in a dugout for me, it just feels like home somehow.  Brings back some good memories of Little League and high school, I guess.

After our rest in the dugout, we took a lap around the outfield.  It’s always nice to be on the field, too…  We ended our excursion by heading up to check out one of the suites looking over the ballpark.  All I can saw is, I’ve seen the suite life, and it is good.  If or when I win the Powerball, I now know my first purchase will be to secure one of these suites for my friends, family, and I to enjoy the games.  We were able to sample some food up there, also, and it was awesome!  Oh, well, I can dream, anyway…  We have plans to be back here when the Cincinnati Reds visit town for an exhibition. Please help me pray for good weather!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Cardinals set school record

Louisville Cardinals vs. Boston College Eagles (NCAA/ACC)

Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY:  We were finally able to make it to another Louisville game, and what a historic game it was!  Brian was nice enough to let me watch some of the game from the stands, before heading to the outfield so he could play on the park.  I can’t complain too much, though as the best food is grilled in the outfield bleachers.  The #1 ranked cards were riding a 17 game winning streak after beating Boston College in the first game of the series 6-0 Friday night.  On Saturday, Louisville would put up another six, but the Eagles didn’t go away as quietly.

On the mound, Kade McClure pitched well with nine strikeouts and only giving up one earned run.  Louisville native Riley Thompson came in for relief, and got rocked a bit, giving up 3 earned runs and making things interesting the later innings.  Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman would shut things down for the Cards, though.  McClure still picked up the win, also.

Offensively, the Cardinals were lead by second baseman Devin Mann, who went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s.  Also contributing was Drew Ellis, 2-5 with one RBI, and Logan Taylor 1-2 with one RBI.  Their 18th win in a row is a new school record for wins in a row to start the season.  Final:  Cardinals 6, Eagles 4.

This was a fun game to be at, and the weather wasn’t all that bad, either. Louisville would also earn a 5-3 on Sunday, getting the sweep and extending the winning streak to 19 games.  The Cardinals will be hitting the road for the next couple of weekends, but we’ll be back here the first week in April.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

John Cropp Classic

John Cropp Stadium-Lexington, KY:  Our original plan for after our adventure at the Stache-A-Palooza, was to check out some Kentucky Wildcat baseball.  The team was scheduled to play Miami (Ohio) at 1:00 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.  Uh, however, when we arrived at the Cliff, we found it empty, with no baseball teams in sight.  Apparently, the game had been rescheduled, but we never saw any notification of this.  Still not sure WHY the game was changed, the weather wasn’t as bad as the day before, but maybe because the UK basketball team was playing at the same time?  Personally, I think it’s stupid to re-arrange baseball for stupid basketball, but again, that’s just me.  Not letting this ruin our day, though, we drove over to the UK softball venue, John Cropp Stadium, to find the ladies hosting a tournament there, aptly named the John Cropp Classic.  The Michigan Wolverines were playing the Evansville Aces when we arrived, and it was cool to see a somewhat (old) home team on the field.  We enjoyed the game, as the Wolverines made short work of the Aces. Final: Michigan 11, Evansville 2.

The next game in the tourney featured the home team Wildcats taking on the Kent State Golden Flashes.  Between games, Brian and some of the other kids took time to make signs supporting their Kentucky team.  Brian’s sign was a hit, as many of the girls acknowledged him, and one player even took a picture of him with it.  To be honest, we only stayed a few innings as the cold was getting to us, but the home team ended up with the victory anyway.  Not sure when we’ll make the trip to Lexington again, but will probably plan it around a Legends and Wildcats baseball game, and if the ladies are in town, we’ll hit another game here, too. Final:  Kentucky 2, Kent State 0.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Stache-A-Palooza

Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY:  Despite having an easy winter, the weather isn’t cooperating a lot with us early this season.  It was a balmy 35 degrees on Saturday, but at least we had the sun shining to help keep us warm during the Lexington Legends Stache-A-Palooza event.  Brian was happy to meet the Legends mascots Big L and Pee Wee for the first time.  He also had a blast on the slide and bouncy castle.

Inside, we were able to sample some of the new ballpark eats the Legends will be introducing this spring.  My favorite was the bacon wrapped chicken nuggets.  We were lucky enough to win a couple of small prizes at the wheel, but Brian wasn’t too enthusiastic about a credit card holder or a towel.  They had some face painting available, but Brian declined on that.  We still had a busy day ahead and he didn’t want to deal with it all day.

Brian with Pee Wee

Brian with Big L

After our fun inside was done, we decided to check out the field.  It still looks like a great place to watch a game, and I still plan on doing just that this spring.  I just hope our spring is as warm as our winter!  We spent a little coin in the gift shop and spent some more time on the bouncy stuff before calling it a day at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.  It was a fun event, and always good to get a preview of what to expect from the Legends this summer.

Promotion courtesy of the Lexington Legends

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

It Begins

Louisville Cardinals vs. Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA)

32276979124_49f7940432_zJim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY:  It officially begins, the 2017 baseball season.  As it was, Saturday was the coldest day here in Louisville, so obviously, that’s the only game we were able to make.   A little cold weather isn’t enough to ruin our baseball fun, however, (even though Brian looks miserable in the photo).  With Papa down visiting from Michigan, we were all happy to be at Jim Patterson Stadium for our first ballgame of the year.

32798958550_bfc5fcac05_z33139473066_f7070bbdba_zOn the hill for the Cards, Kade McClure earned the win, pitching six innings while striking out nine.  He only gave up one hit and walked only three.  In relief, Sam Bordner and Shay Smiddy preserved the shutout for Louisville.

32276979194_20dc8558e0_z32276979804_2dabf476b3_zOn the offensive side, Louisville was led by Colby Fitch, who went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.  Also, Brendan McKay was being Brendan McKay, going 2-2 with a run and an RBI, while Drew Ellis went 2-3 with a run and RBI, also.  Nebraska-Omaha didn’t do themselves any favors, either, committing four errors.  In the end, it was a blowout and a shutout for the Cardinals.  Final: Cardinals 10, Mavericks 0.

33139450046_495b43306d_zDespite the cool temperatures, it was a fun day of baseball, and it wasn’t over with the Cards. We had to rush back to the OC, so Brian could take part in his Little League evaluation, as the draft was on Sunday.  Here’s a photo below from his eval.  Not sure when we’ll see Louisville at home next, but have plans to visit Lexington in a couple of weeks.  As for me, I’m just glad the baseball season has begun.

33080271966_397d24d0b9_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

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