We Are the Champions!!!

27743469782_7a51870636_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: I honestly don’t know where to start!  First off, I guess we can congratulate the Mariners on winning the North Oldham Little League Rookie Division championship!  It was not an easy road, and there were many good teams in this league.  The Mariners finished third in their division and received a first round bye.  They faced the Indians in the quarter-finals, and won by the score of 4-2, with Brian getting the game-winning RBI.  In the semi-finals, they went against the Royals, a team they haven’t beat all year.  The Mariners won a tough battle, however, winning 6-4 on a hot 90 degree day at noon, to head to the championship.  The Mariners were down 5-0 in the first, then battled back for the win.  Their opponent in the final game was the Padres, the team that won the division in the regular season.  This time it was the Mariners who jumped out to a lead, 3-0 in the first, then added a pair in the middle innings.  The Padres stormed back in the fifth, scoring four runs, but the M’s held them off in the sixth for a 5-4 championship victory!  Here are a couple of shots of Brian in the final:

27712353932_2339a95ef0_b27769216971_0161ac08dd_zThe championship aside, though, I still believe this team was the best fit for Brian.  The coaches never preached winning, but focused on having the kids be positive, work hard, and have fun playing the game of baseball.  From there, the winning just sort of took care of itself.  I really think Brian learned more about being part of a team and earning something you’ve worked hard for, as much as he did about the game of baseball.  Their coach told the boys to enjoy this, as it may be the only championship they ever win, and he could be right about that.  My last year in Little League was the one and only time I’ve seen glory in all my years of playing. I’m glad he’s tasted victory, but if he keeps on playing and loving this game, it’s sure to break his heart at some point.  But that’s something I’ll start preparing for next year.  This big win sparked him to want to play Fall Ball and to keep working hard at the sport, so that gives up something to look forward to in a couple of months.

It's all about the hardware!

It’s all about the hardware!

27712346392_eb19a555e4_z27201524584_ed1bf97dcc_z27535292550_440a201aed_zHere’s a video of the final out!  You can see Brian charging in from the outfield ready to celebrate!

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Father’s Day Fun

Louisville Bats vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)

27172370434_e0f024616f_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Well, first off this Father’s Day was all around a good one, but things simply didn’t go as planned.  The first thing to not go as planned, was the notification I received from the Bats that game time was 6:05.  Sunday games are usually at 2:05, and I’m not sure when they did the switch or why.  If it’s because we’ve been battling 90 degree plus heat, then I do understand, but it messed with our plans as Brian had a baseball practice slated for 6:00, and we had planned to go to Kentucky Kingdom afterwards.  If this was any other day, I would have cancelled our trip to the game, but this is Father’s Day, dammit, and I wanted to see some baseball!  Brian’s mom and sister agreed to take him to practice, and Trevor and I headed to Louisville Slugger Field.  And…I’ll take the kids to Kentucky Kingdom some time this week.  I promise.  For our second speed bump, you’ll notice how crappy my photos are, and that’s because I left my good camera in the van, and you’ll just have to suffer from the below average iPhone pics.

27172370904_d71c7e1e85_z27172370684_2bfbcb5690_zIt was another hot day in the ‘Ville, as Trevor and I settled in, but it was an entertaining back-and-forth ball game.  The Bats took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Scott Schebler hit a towering dinger into the left field stands.  The PawSox battled back, however, tying the game in the third, and then hitting a home-run of their own to take the lead.  It was the Bats turn to regain the lead now in the fifth, on a Juan Perez RBI double, and a Jermaine Curtis home run.  On the mound, starter Stephen Johnson went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out three.  Surprisingly, it was relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz who took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in one inning of work.  Diaz had a franchise record going of 35 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up a run snapped.  Well, aren’t we just good luck…  Making a rehab appearance was Michael Lorenzen, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning giving up no and striking out two.  FINAL:  Bats 4, PawSox 5.

27709633001_61078f378b_z27683669032_29d39f44e6_zIt was a fun game to watch, but a tough loss to take.  And the last thing that didn’t really work as planned, is that the Bats advertised to ‘play catch with dad on the field’ after the game.  As it was Sunday, the kids also are able to run the bases after the game.  Unfortunately for us, the organization doesn’t have the foresight to have two different lines and entrances onto the field after the game.  Trevor is too old to run the bases, and we just wanted to play a little catch.  However, we were told we’d have to wait in the same line as the kids, which was 30-40 minutes JUST TO GET ONTO THE FIELD!  Trevor and I decided just to play catch at home, and I am disappointed that we couldn’t make it onto the field.  I hate to be negative, but the Bats can certainly do a better job of organizing this event.  When we bring Brian with us, we’ll either have to wait in line that long, or miss the last two innings of the game waiting in line on the concourse.   Anyway, it was still a good Father’s Day because of the kids, and we did have some fun.  And despite the bad photos, I did remember to make a quick video during the game:

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

Back to the Beach (Bums)

Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Joliet Slammers (Frontier League)

27596075531_f4bd37cc5e_zWuerfel Park-Traverse City, MI:  While back visiting family in Michigan, we decided to take in a Beach Bums game, the defending Frontier League champions.  It seemed like we brought some of the southern heat with us, as the temps were pushing the upper 80’s, but the nice cool breeze off of Lake Michigan turned it into a perfect night for baseball.  Brian remembered that the Slammers gave him a baseball last year, so he was actually rooting for the visitors.

27383273360_cd7cac24d9_z27587434541_bb033c89aa_zThey way the game started out, I thought it would be a high scoring affair, but then the pitchers settled in, and the game moved by pretty fast.  At one point, 10 Beach Bum players were retired in a row. Lucky for TC, Jacob Lanning was on the mound, as he pitched a complete nine inning game for the win.  He gave up only one run in the first inning, on seven hits, and he struck out two.

27049932484_90506b26b1_z27058462204_63db11425c_zAlso during the game, Brian was able to catch up with both Beach Bum mascots, Suntan and Sunburn. Be honest…doesn’t it look like the red bear is flipping me off??!!

SUNTAN

SUNTAN

SUNBURN

SUNBURN

Anyway, the Beach Bums scored one run in the first inning on a Will Kengor RBI double that scored Jose Vargas.  Then in the fifth inning, Jeff DeBlieux hit a double of his own, this time scoring two to put TC in the lead for good.  It was good to be back in Michigan, if only for a few days, and I’m sure this isn’t the end of us enjoying some games up here.  We look forward to our next game in Kentucky, though!  FINAL: Beach Bums 3, Slammers 1.

27596070331_7b1f0f0cd4_z27392005080_e26ff14547_z27670574365_22dc107ae1_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Seeing Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals (National League)

27487344795_e6719bf9d8_zGreat American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH:  I have a new best friend, and it’s name is Seat Geek.  It’s nice to live in an area where you don’t have to make plans too far out, as there are many places to catch a ballgame, and some days you have choices.  When I woke up early Sunday morning, I checked out my app, and found fourth row tickets to the Cincinnati Reds game for only $9 each.  I know the Reds aren’t exactly having the best season, but this was still a good deal in my mind, since it’s a ballpark we’ve never been to before.  It was a day game, so God forgive me, we missed church, and drove just over an hour to Newport, KY.  Now, Newport is a nice little town right on the Ohio River right across from Cincy, and after lunch were able to take a boat shuttle across the river to the game.  It was pretty awesome, and only $5 a person.  It’s better than paying and dealing with a parking garage, anyway.

27452930566_ea9a52fc6c_z

A quick video:

The Great American Ballpark is a beautiful stadium, and it has a great baseball atmosphere.  We were able to poke around a bit before the game, as there is lots to see once inside. Brian liked the play area, and especially the little fan ball field that he was able to play on.

27388392432_77912139e9_zWe made it to our seats, and I was more than happy with our view! These are the kind of seats I’m used to at the Minor League venues. The boys were pretty much in ‘awe’, as this is the biggest stadium that they have ever been to.

26878323724_3ce932d8ba_z27452929326_0248537cfc_z26878327264_b35a96b0dd_zBrian has a new best friend, too, and his name is Eugenio Suarez.  When he was in the Detroit system, we saw him play as a member of the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps, and Brian just happened to be wearing a ‘Caps shirt.  Suarez noticed it (I’m guessing, really, don’t know for sure, but..) he looked at Brian and threw him a game ball.  Not bad, kid, a ball at your first MLB game!

26878325664_f50276c0fc_z26879694684_a7e6edd0fb_zBrian made another friend, too, as he noticed Mr. Redlegs up on he concourse, and of course, we had to run up there for a photo op with him!

Brian with Mr. Redlegs

Brian with Mr. Redlegs

Oh, yeah, and all this time, there was a ballgame going on, too.  The Reds actually jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning.  Pitcher Jon Moscot couldn’t hold the lead for his team, however, as the Nationals got all over him in the fourth inning scoring five, then the Nats scored five more over the next two innings.  Moscot got the hook, but Daniel Wright didn’t do much better, giving up three runs in 1.1 innings and he ended up taking the loss.

27454451086_306dbe48b4_z27212070570_a8c32d9bb3_z26881181203_fdd8ef4954_zThe Reds really made a comeback, however, scoring three runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to cut the lead to one. Tyler Holt lead the way offensively, going 3-5 with two RBI’s.  Jay Bruce chipping in, going 1-3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored, while Brandon Phillips added three hits and an RBI.   FINAL: Reds 9, Nationals 10.

27417120661_7466a21cb8_z27390074422_5c3673c06e_z26879839954_f24102900d_zI also have to give a shout out to Kyle Waldrop, who we saw play in Louisville last month:

27417167111_a0c706cded_zAlso, I didn’t forget to take another video of the game and ballpark. I can’t wait until our next game here!

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

 

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

 

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