Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals (National League)
Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH: I love it that I have a summer birthday. One perk is that it’s a good even split from presents at Christmas. My sister has a birthday on December 29th. It just seemed like Christmas presents simply flowed into birthday presents a few days later. Another perk of a summer birthday is that I can enjoy it at a ballgame. This year the Cincinnati Reds were nice enough to host a day game in celebration, so Brian and I made the short journey to enjoy some Major League Baseball. As usual, we parked over in Newport, KY, and took the boat across the Ohio River to the Great American Ballpark.
Our seats were amazing, even in the upper deck. We had front row and had a phenomenal view of the game taking place before us, sitting behind home plate. Unfortunately, as northern boys, the sun and heat were not making it comfortable for us, so we had to move down under some shade. At least we had a solid look at Eugenio Suarez’s home run in the second inning. And that was pretty much all the offense the Reds could muster.
The game itself wasn’t a great one for the Reds. Scott Feldman started out on the mound, but only lasted one inning. He gave up five runs on five hits, including two home runs. One was a three-run blast by Harper. Well, he’s now on the DL… Asher Wojciechowski (who was just on Louisville last month) came in to throw five solid innings, giving up one run on two hits, while striking out four. And again, the only offense for the Reds was Suarez’s home run. FINAL: Reds 1, Nationals 6.
Despite the score and the heat, this was a great birthday. Lily and Trevor were up visiting Michigan, so I really missed them, but Brian and I had a good time. I definitely want to take in another game here before the season is over, but maybe in September, and maybe a night game so it’s cooler. We’ll be back at the Bats this weekend, but I can’t believe the season is half-way over, and we only have a few more games planned…
Louisville Bats vs. Charlotte Knights (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Another gorgeous day here in the ‘Ville, and another Bats game for Brian and I to enjoy. Last weekend the Legos Play Ball Tour was in town for some fun. Brian was able to make some cool Lego vehicles and the kids had the chance to race them, also!
It was a fun way to spend the pre-game, and it kept us out of the heat. The kids were even able to make a baseball player out of Legos and take it home with them, which is cool. I’m sure soon, though, all the parts will just get thrown in his Lego bin.
Starting on the mound for the Louisville was Amir Garrett. He threw six and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He only walked two batters while striking out four. In the ninth inning, the Knights tagged relief pitcher Kevin Shackelford for a pair of runs to take the lead 4-2, but the Bats’ offense wasn’t done yet.
The Bats opened the scoring in the second inning, when Adrian Nieto’s double scored Eric Jagielo. Then in the sixth inning, a Hernan Iribarren double, wild pitch, and error allowed him to scored the tying run. Going into the bottom of the ninth down by two runs, the Bats battled back to load the bases. Four two-out singles scored three runs, including Phillip Ervin’s walk-off winner.
We had a lot of fun at this one, with a good combination of the Legos and the walk-off win. Brian had a good time, and was really into the game at the end, which makes it more fun for me, also. An added bonus was seeing former Louisville Cardinal Zach Burdi on the mound for the Knights, although he did leave the game after facing only a couple of batters for undisclosed reasons. Our next game will be in Cincinnati for my birthday, so that should be a good one!
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: We were back at it last weekend for another Bats game. I really wanted to hit 80’s night the day before, but just couldn’t make it happen. That promotion is simply tailor made for me, but Bri and I still had a great time on Sunday. And the weather was perfect for baseball, as it’s been lately. Also, coming in the gate Brian got a free mini-bat from the Louisville Slugger Museum. We already have a few of these, but you can never have too many mini-bats. We’ll be making it back to the museum soon to check out their Lego exhibit, anyway!
On to the game, starting on the mound for Louisville was Cody Reed, who only lasted through the first two innings. He held Indy off the board, though, waling two, striking out three, and giving up one hit. Asher Wojciechowski pitched three innings, giving up one Indian run on four hits while striking out five. Kyle McMyne gave up the only other Indy run, but still earned the win. He pitched two innings and struck out one batter. Earning the save was Kevin Shackelford, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
The Bats scored one run in the first, and went on to take the lead with three in the seventh. Leading the offense for the Bats, was catcher Rob Brantly, who went 2/4 with an RBI. Helping out was Sebastian Elizalde who went 1/3 with an RBI and run scored. Alex Blandino started the scoring for Louisville in the first, and was 1/2 with an RBI and run scored in the game. FINAL: Bats 4, Indians 2.
Another fun day for us, and the Bats had BBoy McCoy, the break dancing bat boy, in attendance to entertain the fans between innings. I still think that break dancing is very cool, and the movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo still holds up, today. Unfortunately, the times he was out, we were either at the playground, or I couldn’t get my camera or phone focused in in time to catch a photo or video. I did find a nice video of him on YouTube, though, that I’ll share. I highly recommend seeing him if he’s at a ballpark near you!
Video courtesy of the Skillville Group
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Another beautiful day at the ballpark, and this time we had Pirates and Princesses on hand to entertain the kids. Lily went through a Disney princess stage when she was younger, so I’m familiar with Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, but I don’t know the name of the newer one, the Frozen one. As far as the pirates go, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook were there for some looting and pillaging.
The Bats were hosting the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, Toledo Mud Hens, so my allegiance was a little torn. The Mud Hens, however, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning, and really never looked back. Tyler Collins hit a three run blast to help the Hens out in that first inning, as Toledo sent all nine hitters to the plate. For the Bats, Dilson Herrera answered with a two-run homer of his own to cut into the lead in the second inning. In the fourth inning, and Matt den Dekker triple, a JaCoby Jones double, and a Bats’ error restored the five run lead for the Mud Hens. That was about it for the offence in the game, so Brian and I went to meet the pirates. Lucky for us, the line was a lot shorter than the one for the princesses.
On the mound for the Bats, Sal Romano took the loss, throwing five innings and allowing seven runs on 10 hits. Matthew Boyd got the win for Toledo, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on five hits while striking out five. FINAL: Bats 2, Mud Hens 7.
Another fun day for Brian and I at the ballpark. There were tons of kids at this game, especially girls, for the princesses, which made the line to run the bases really long. Brian opted not to run, and really, he was just playing on the field the day before. Rough loss for the Bats, but this one I didn’t mind as much…
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Last weekend the Bats hosted a youth camp sponsored by the local Chevy dealerships. Members of the Division III Spalding University baseball team were also on hand to help teach the kids. After warm-ups, Brian’s group went to play a game of wiffle ball with some Golden Eagles to start things off.
After the wiffle ball game, his next station was in the outfield catching fly balls. The players were hitting the baseballs much higher than the kids were used to seeing, but most did a good job of catching them, anyway.
After working on the pop-fly’s, the groups worked on fielding the ball off of the wall. This is something the kids haven’t dealt with much at their age. They had some good drills, and made a game of it. After that, their next station was catching. One of the Bats coaches was running this one, and you could tell he was an old-school baseball guy. He didn’t put up with much from any of the kids (and Brian did have a few smart-asses in his group), and expected them to hustle and work hard. Nothing wrong with that. I didn’t get any good pics of the last two stations, so we’ll move onto base-running. The boys worked on running through the base, and making that hard turn toward second.
I wasn’t able to follow him down to the indoor batting cages, but he said he hit the ball pretty well. No surprise, as that’s probably the strongest aspect of his game. I did snap a shot of him in the dugout, though!
Then it was time to gather at the short-stop position for some ground balls. Brian has gotten a lot better at fielding over the last couple of seasons. I was having fun just seeing him out there on the field. They had a little problem with some bullying in their group, but the Bats official put a stop to that asap. Sometimes you get some kids from the same team in these groups, and think they can push kids around and run the show.
The last station was pitching. Brian will be entering the kid-pitch division for the first time this fall, so this was good instruction he was getting. He needs some help with his throwing mechanics, any, so this station was good for him.
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: That’s all she wrote for this season of Little League baseball. Not much changed from my last entry, as it continued to be a frustrating season for Brian and his team. The Diamondbacks ended the season 5-14, good for eight in the 10 team league. The D-backs also bowed out in the first game of the playoffs, so a very different end to the season as Brian was hoisting a championship trophy at the end of June last year.
The old saying is, that you can always learn more by losing, and if that’s the case then that is definitely the silver lining for this season. Life parallels baseball so much, and there are so many lessons to be learned. Sometimes you work hard and get a hit or make a solid play. Sometimes you miss one, and you have to put it behind you and work a little harder on the next one. Life, as in baseball isn’t always fair. You don’t always get what you earn, and sometimes you even get called out on a strike below the knees.
That being said, he still had a very good season, and I’m very proud of the way he played. He still hit over .500, which is impressive even off of a hitting machine. He improved on his catching and fielding, but we still need to work on throwing mechanics. Brian showed a better overall understanding of the game, where the play was heading and where to throw the ball if it came to him. At times during the season, Brian also showed signs of being a good leader on the team, cheering on his teammates and keeping a positive attitude, and I’m very proud of him for that. I really think he enjoys the game, too, as every day he asks if we can play catch or play one of our ‘Brianball’ games out in the yard. Fall ball starts up here the end of August and he’s looking forward to that, but I think he’s happy this small chapter of his baseball career has come to an end.
Louisville Bats vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Bri and I back at Slugger Field, but this time for more Bats baseball. This game they were hosting the Iron Pigs, which Brian thought was hilarious, and kept making jokes about all night. Yep, that’s my guy…
It was another beautiful night, as Robert Stephenson took the mound for the Bats. He threw a perfect four innings, giving up no hits or runs. The Louisville offense came alive in the fifth inning, however, starting out with a Brandon Dixon solo home run. Hernan Iribarren would later smack a two-run single, extending his team’s lead to 3-0.
Brian and I needed a little snack during the game, again, and this time went with some Kizito cookies. The cookie lady walks around the ballpark with a basket of cookies on her head, and it’s hard to say no! The cookies are really good and priced right, also, which helps to feed hungry kids.
Brian also got a foul ball, and we picked one up in the gift shop with the retro logo on it. It gave us something to throw around at the game, anyway:
The wheels fell of a bit for the Bats in the eight inning, though, as the Iron Pigs tapped relief pitcher Kyle McMyne for four runs on four hits to take the lead. Louisville tied the game at the bottom of the inning, after Phillip Ervin’s base hit that scored Stuart Turner. With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Sebastian Elizade hit an infield single to bring home Zach Vincej for the walk-off win! FINAL: Bats 5, Iron Pigs 4.
North Carolina TarHeels vs. Florida State Seminoles (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Well, here we go with the title game (and only two weeks behind…). It was a beautiful day in the ‘Ville, as Trevor and I settled into our seats for the impending action.
The game started out well for North Carolina, despite playing ball just twelve hours earlier. They plated three runs in the second inning, first on a solo shot from Tyler Lynn. Michael Busch hit an RBI double to put the Heels up 2-0. Then two errors by the un-named Seminole first baseman allowed Busch to score to put his team up 3-0. Unfortunately for the Heels, that’s all the scoring they would get. In my opinion, the turning point of the game came in the fourth innings when North Carolina had the bases loaded with no outs on a pair of walks and hit batter. The next three TarHeels struck out, leaving the pond full of ducks, and NC fans bewildered.
On the mound for NC, Josh Hiatt took the loss, giving up six runs on six hits, two of those being home runs. The Seminoles pretty much put the game away in the eight inning, scoring five runs. The un-named first-baseman made up for his error with two home runs in the game. An un-named pitcher for Florida State picked up the win, despite only working 1.1 innings and striking out one. The worn out TarHeels just couldn’t compete late in the game with the more rested Seminoles. FINAL: TarHeels 3, Seminoles 7.
Also, as the game was a day before Memorial Day, this was a good time to thank and pray for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country, so my son and I can enjoy a ballgame together. At Louisville Slugger Field, there is a seat in the outfield reserved just for them. Trevor put his American flag in the cup holder of the seat, and when we came back around, there were many more there!
Ok, maybe I was a little hard on Florida State through out this tournament. My original plan was to take some good photos and maybe even a video of the celebration and trophy presentation after the game, no matter which team won. And maybe it was a little rash of me to just head for the gate at that final out. So here’s a video I found on YouTube courtesy of ACC Digital Network for you to enjoy. It pains me to say this, but, congratulations Florida State…
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Video courtesy of ACC Digital Network
North Carolina TarHeels vs. Miami Hurricanes (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: I’m not going to lie. We never saw one inning of this game. Not one pitch, not one at-bat…nothing. For some reason the ACC decided to keep postponing the game, even though the weather was fine at the time. The photo above is the TarHeels just hanging out, waiting to play ball. However that wouldn’t happen for a couple of more hours. Yes, there was a chance of rain, and yes, it did end up raining, but not until after the postponed start. The ACC could have given the go-ahead, and when it DID rain, at least the teams would have gotten a large chunk of the game in. Also, as we did, a large chunk of the paid attendance wouldn’t have been cheated out of a game, either, as fans headed for the gates when the announcement came that the game wouldn’t start for awhile, yet. FINAL: TarHeels 12, Hurricanes 4.
I’m not going to lie. I really would have liked to have seen this game, but since it didn’t get over until almost midnight, that would have made for a very long and strenuous day, especially with my dad and Brian at the ballpark impatiently waiting for baseball that we paid for. At least Brian got to meet some of the North Carolina players, but we didn’t have a chance to catch up with any Hurricanes.
Before the announcement of the delay, we took the time to check out the ACC Fan Fest in the West Wing of Slugger Field. I really wish the ACC would have shown that this is an important event, and maybe had some more things going on, and maybe some of the school mascots on hand instead of just cardboard cutouts of them. Brian at least got to see the ACC Championship trophy, too.
We spent most of the time at the Louisville Slugger display, where Brian was able to hold some bats of Major Leaguers, including Louisville’s own Adam Duvall. Again, we were all very disappointed that we weren’t able to see any of this game, but just couldn’t stay there and wait around any longer. I honestly wasn’t that impressed with the way the ACC handled this tournament as a whole, from the pool play down to it’s weather delays. But, then again, having NC play until midnight and have to be ready to play the next day at noon, gave a HUGE advantage to the waiting Seminoles… Hhhhmm….
Florida State Seminoles vs. Duke Blue Devils (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Back at it on Saturday, this time for the first of the semi-final games. I have no idea how Duke survival a ‘pool’ with Virginia and Clemson, but somehow they made it this far, as did FSU. Brian joined us for the games today, also, and he’s always happy to spend time with his Papa.
Duke simply looked like the next team to be fed to the ACC darling Seminoles, anyway. Florida State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning due to some fine hitting from un-named players. They then added two more in the third, and one in the fourth. The Blue Devils didn’t have any offense going until the ninth inning, when Jimmy Herron scored on a Jack Labosky base hit.
Adam Laskey took the loss for Duke, giving up four runs on six hits during his 2.1 innings of work. An un-named Seminole pitcher earned the win for his team, only giving up two hits and striking out eight in this 6.2 innings. FINAL: Seminoles 5, Blue Devils 1.