STAR WARS NIGHT-Episode VI: Return of the Bats

Louisville Bats vs Columbus Clippers (International League)

27148537336_b17546d457_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  It’s that time of the year again, and a change in venue couldn’t keep me from taking my scruffy-looking nerf-herders to Star Wars night.  This year is our first here in Louisville, and they put on a pretty good show for the kids.  Due to an accident on the freeway, we got to the game about a half hour late, so Brian missed out on his free light-saber (not that he doesn’t have an arsenal of them at home..).  But, the weather was perfect, and my friend Darryl visiting from Ohio got us great seats behind the first base dugout.  They had the Star Wars characters on the field before the game, and throwing out some first pitches.

26907083280_060fb54c22_z27113264091_af7ed87b98_zWe watched a few innings of the game, which turned out to be a pitchers duel, sort of… Chad Rogers got the start for the Bats, and he ended up pitching four shut-out innings.  He gave up only five hits on the night, while walking two, and striking out three.

26575884544_3e44d1beb0_z27086431852_1441792830_z26907086520_c0121642d8_zWhen the Star Wars characters started making their way to the concourse, the boys and I decided to join them.  First of all, Brian was really happy just to finally meet the Bat’s mascot, Buddy Bat!

Brian and Buddy Bat

Brian and Buddy Bat

We then were able to see some of the Star Wars guys, with Brian getting in with an Imperial Speeder Bike Trooper, and Trevor and I were happy to see Boba Fett, who is our favorite and we missed him last year.

27066624992_978af23319_z26555799874_e837f906a7_z27093321461_02e75ec866_zBack to the game. A 0-0 tie doesn’t sound all that exciting, but this was a great game to watch.  Both teams had runners in scoring position multiple times without being able to push a run home.  Louisville actually had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, and were unable to score.  Pair that with a gorgeous night for baseball, and we didn’t mind at all going into extra innings!  The game finally came to an end in the 11th, when Seth Mejias-Brean smacked a two-run homer to win the game and send the crowd home happy.  Relief pitcher Wandy Peralta picked up his first win of the season, and Kyle Waldrop added a pair of doubles in the game. FINAL: Louisville 2, Clippers 0, 11 innings.

DSC04860DSC04868 (2)27093319031_af7a5fbbfa_zThis game was as much fun at a ballgame that I’ve had in some time.  It was a great time spent with the boys and my best friend, and it’s always good to be surrounded by other knowledgeable baseball fans.  If the weather could be like this every game, I would be more than happy.  I’m sure we’ll be making another trip to Louisville Slugger Field, too, and to some other teams in the area.  I did remember to take a quick video, too, hoping the Bats would win it in the ninth.

Video and photos property of Minoring in Baseball

 

 

 

Kold in Kentucky

Louisville Cardinals vs North Carolina State Wolfpack (NCAA/ACC)

26949360061_f7db084c0a_zJim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY:  Well, I thought it would be a little bit warmer here in Kentucky, but last weekend was a little bit cool.  With cold, nasty, rainy weather blasting the Midwest lately, I guess I can’t complain too much, as I’m sure we have it better than others.  While the temp was a little on the cold side, the Louisville Cardinals baseball team stayed hot.  Hosting ACC rival North Carolina State, we were able to get downtown and see the middle game of the series.  I brought the boys with, and as usual Brian decided to head to the playground.

26923501582_497fb20fd1_zSo, we’re back in the outfield, and that’s where we watched most of the game from.  The first half of the game was definitely a pitchers’ duel.  On the bump for the Cards, Drew Harrington picked up the win to improve his record to 10-1.  He pitched seven innings allowing two runs, walking one, and striking out seven.   Zack Burdi can in to pitch the ninth and earn the save, striking out all three batters!

26412021364_d5d64025c9_z26497252404_ff178502db_z26828775970_c42e349e4a_zLouisville was led offensively by Brendan McKay, going 2-4 with an RBI.  Drew Ellis went 2-2 with a run scored and a RBI.  All the Cards runs were scored in the fifth inning.  Final:  Cardinals 4, Wolfpack 2.

27034461911_4e1484b31d_z27034463991_e2ac055654_z27034453401_bb4311b9a9_zU of L is currently on a 19 game home winning streak, counting there win over Indiana last night.  They ended up sweeping 10th ranked NC State, winning 2-0 on Friday, and 6-1 on Sunday.  They don’t have any more regular season home games scheduled, but I’m hoping they’ll host a NCAA Regional after the ACC tournament is over.  I didn’t make a video during the game, but Trevor and I did make it on TV!  I re-watched the game after we got home, and found us in the upper left hand corner:

26743746320_ef00a880b0_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Playing on Blue Grass

26868758785_61a5647848_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: Brian has had no problem fitting into our new environment here in Kentucky.  In fact, he suited up for the Mariners and played his first game within the first few days.  I was honestly hesitant on whether to sign him up or not, knowing he wouldn’t have any practices, and playing in a more competitive league than he’s used to.  Brian put all my concerns to rest after his first game, however.  He went 1-2 at the plate, and played well.  More than anything, his smile after the game, and the simple statement “I had fun” was all I needed to hear.  Yeah, he may be a step behind some of the other players, but at the same time he is contributing to his team, and is a step ahead of others.

26845788706_6d909c0849_z26606930580_b49c9c710a_zI also have to say that I’m very impressed with the North Oldham Little League organization, and the coaches involved.  The kids play in a beautiful facility at Walsh Park as well.  The coaches don’t baby the kids, but treat them like young men, and at the same time stressing for them to relax and have fun.  I honestly think that he’s made more friends on the field than he has at his new school, also.  Overall, this has been a great move for us, especially from a baseball perspective.  They’ve had a couple of rainouts, but look to be making some games up this weekend and early in the week.  I’ll post more updates as his season progresses.

26786512022_cf7e645f3a_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Cards tame Bearcats

Louisville Cardinals vs Cincinnati Bearcats (NCAA)

26779565196_91ca67bc00_zJim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY:  Brian had to make his first appearance at a Cardinals game sooner or later, so we just decided sooner.  Louisville hosted the Cincinnati Bearcats in a non-conference game, and this was a good chance to see our top-10 team in action.  Brian loved the façade of the ballpark, with the arc and the big bats (we haven’t made it to the Slugger museum yet).  We found seats for a little while, but migrated to the outfield so he could play on the playground.

26275622193_a2c336989d_zI could still watch the game, and got a solid panoramic which is always good!

26846029716_6c690a129a_kIt was a decent vantage point to watch the game, and the Cardinals were playing solid ball against the Bearcats.  The home team had their Louisville Slugger warmed up for the game, scoring seven run.  The Cards were led by Will Smith, who went 2-4 with a home run.  Colby Finch pitched in going 2-2 with two runs scored, while Blake Tiberi went 2-4 with 2 RBI.

26845988556_3a228b147d_z26880234915_0e2efd4e9b_zOn the mound, Kade McClure picked up the win, pitching seven innings, while striking out four. FINAL: Cardinals 7, Bearcats 1.

26880247215_54ec3027a4_z26607063630_7e9ebbfffc_zTo top the game off, Brian even got a foul ball, our first at a Louisville Cardinals game!

26737047711_7cb80d9373_zAnd here is a YouTube video I finally remembered to make:

 

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

 

Our turn at Bats

Louisville Bats vs Durham Bulls (International League)

26133554164_36b995777e_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Well, it only took us a few days in town to hit our first Bats game.  Trevor has been here before, back in 2009, but this was Brian’s first experience here.   Due to the weather, though, the pre-game kids clinic was postponed, so I’ll have to wait until June to see Brian take the field here.  He had fun playing on the playground, however, and the caro carous caris merry-go-round.  Trevor and I took a selfie with the MiLB app, and reminisced about our game here seven years ago.

26739730015_29dd465eb7_z26466820910_cb66e31f8b_z26135696073_28e55106f1_zWe sat over by the Durham Bulls bullpen, or Bull-pen, and had a great view of the game.  Brian was hoping to meet mascot Buddy Bat, but he was busy on field pretty much the whole game, and never made it into the crowd.  One of the ballpark staff members mentioned that he’s more active in the crowd during weekday games.

26739869225_18dd7cd90b_z26739859515_019bd9f970_zWe did get to see Jake the Diamond Dog, however, as his doghouse was right in front of us.  He brought flowers to a fan in the front row, brought some water to the umpires, and served as a batboy, er, batdog, for an inning.

26739842055_e682d92566_z26739835665_796bf0c721_zAs for the game, I don’t think we were much luck for the home team, as they had a six game winning streak snapped.  Right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris started the game for the Bats, throwing three scoreless innings, striking out one batter and allowing only two hits.  Relief pitcher Tim Melville took the loss, giving up two runs on two hits, including a home run.

26135796923_bf830edfb0_zAt the plate, DH Jesse Winkler lead Louisville’s limited offense going 1-4 with an RBI.  No Bats player had more than one hit in the game, but Hernan Iribbaren was 1-2 with two walks.  FINAL: Bats 1, Bulls 3.

26714056776_4d45222825_z26673237161_0e3472276c_zThe started a little about the fifth or sixth inning, but nothing that could ruin our evening at the ballpark.  It was a fun game with the boys, and I look forward to so many more here as they keeping growing.  We’ll try to drag Lily to a game or two if we can also! With the rain, I forgot to take a quick video, but I will for next game.

26714064666_1b7560e457_z26714048786_aaee9a0a06_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

The Grand Finale’

LSSU Lakers vs Tiffin Dragons (NCAA)

26587218406_02f6334ffc_zLocey 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.

26135931803_330df407fa_zGame 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.

26135898483_e5ddb882ff_zBetween games, the Laker mascot Seamore the Seaduck was on hand to entertain the crowd. Of course, Brian had to get one last photo with him.

Brian and Seamore the Seaduck

Brian and Seamore the Seaduck

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.

26135888343_ec8d78a174_zIt 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…

26135885513_2f1fd42376_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

The first in Four

LSSU Lakers vs Ohio Dominican (NCAA)

26739984905_3baa93d905_zLocey 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.

26495473982_d6aa613f92_zThe 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.

26673333271_4b78d51f63_zIn 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.

26135945423_10a1685a74_zDespite the scores, it was a fun day of softball. Brian being buddies with most of the girls, served as their batboy for a game, also!

25982758954_7e253c4ee0_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

Whitecaps SnOwpening Day

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. South Bend Cubs (Midwest League)

26271459721_828e34229b_zFifth 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.

26245268852_efa26afb62_zUnfortunately, 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.

Brian with Roxy the River Rascal

Brian with Roxy the River Rascal

Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig

Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig

And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal

And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal

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.

26337666795_068f5926a5_z25734786193_8f9e331a28_z26245282022_25139fe837_z26064680710_235428d9eb_zBefore the game, we took a walk over to watch the ‘Caps warm up, and I got a couple of pics of starting pitcher Matt Hall (22) and outfielder Cam Gibson (23), son of Tiger great Kirk Gibson.

26311617146_c777c62c3c_z26311607796_ceace1f58c_zAs 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.

26064633790_45b3c7d64c_z26271289861_4632a6afc9_zDue 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.

25732821424_b908389aa7_z26271281021_8134d034ef_zTrailing 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.

26337529165_9c42ff695a_z26064601490_8e1bbb2ee5_zDespite 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

Little Lakers Clinic #3

25345494793_d735836c9a_zLake 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.

25341529604_1e11ebcdd0_kPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Fueling up in Indy

Indy Fuel vs Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

25554560115_151f7081e4_zIndiana 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.

25461815871_dea3c41554_zThe Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum is a nice venue to watch a game, and I have to admit, the Fuel entrance was pretty amazing.

25258948260_27a03289d8_z24934379144_b0a5376696_zThe 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.

25538726536_4aa0f6827f_z25197315039_e4cb46aefd_z25538693096_aec04c1195_z25269227370_1e90e3c3e7_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

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