Whitecaps Update: It’s all in the cards

Fifth-Third Ballparks’ outfield during the ‘Aces in the Outfield’ promotion

The Standings: The West Michigan Whitecaps are still treading water in the Midwest League Eastern Division, but are sinking a bit. They are currently 21-22 in the second half, and are six games out of first place. They hit a little speed bump with a five-game losing streak, but have bounced back and won two games in a row from the talented Lansing LugNuts, 7-1 and 6-3, who ran away with the first half title. Manager Ernie Young, though,  will have to have some Aces up his sleeve, if the ‘Caps are going to capture a playoff spot this season…

Ferrell Honored: Whitecaps pitcher Jeff Ferrell has been named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for July 30-August 5. Ferrell had an extremely impressive showing against the Lake County Captains last week in the ‘Caps 6-0 shut-out win. He retired all of the 21 batters he faced before being taken out of the game after seven perfect innings of work. His outing included 11 ground-outs and six strikeouts in 79 pitches, and gave up only three hits. Ferrell, just 21 years old, underwent Tommy John surgery just 14 months ago. He started the 2011 campaign with the Whitecaps, before injury his elbow that led to the surgery. He missed the rest of last season and the start of this season, before joining West Michigan in May. So far, he has a 4-4 record with a 4.42 ERA, with 60 strikeouts, and holding the opposition to a .209 batting average. Ferrell is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina and a 26th round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers.

Fifth-Third one of fifth best: The Whitecaps home, Fifth-Third Ballpark, was mentioned as one of five Minor League ballparks on the Fox News website recently. The story titled ‘Five Minor League Baseball Parks You Have To Visit’, stated that the stadium in Comstock Park, Michigan has the best food for baseball fans. The Fifth-Third Burger certainly still packs a mighty punch. The story can be found here: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/08/01/five-minor-league-baseball-parks-have-to-visit/?intcmp=features

MudHen Marathon: The Tigers Triple-A affiliate in the International League, the Toledo MudHens suffered a  tough 10-9 loss Monday night to the Rochester Red Wings. One-run losses are always hard to swallow, especially when they are in extra innings….19 innings to be exact. The contest took over 6 1/2 hours to compete, and featured plenty of former Whitecaps. For the Red Wings, Clete Thomas  went 2-8 with a walk and two runs scored. Wilkin Ramirez was 4-9 with a double, run scored, and an RBI. Pitcher Luke French threw for 3.1 innings, giving up two hits and five strikeouts. For the MudHens, Andy Oliver pitched 2.0 innings giving up one hit and striking out 3. Luis Marte gave up one hit, but was burned for two runs in just 0.1 innings. Luke Putkonen pitched five innings, giving up four hits, no runs, and striking out three. Jose Ortega threw for 2.0 innings giving up six hits and three runs.

Former West Michigan Whitecap and Detroit Tiger Clete Thomas.

Rond-on the move: Former Whitecaps pitcher Bruce Rondon has been promoted from the Double-A Erie Seawolves to Toledo. He fills a spot after on of the MudHens’ pitchers was injured in the 19-inning loss. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski stated that he believes that he’s ready for the Triple-A level, though. Rondon started the season at Lakeland, going 1-0, with a 1.93 ERA, with 15 saves, and 34 strikeouts. With Erie, he was 0-1 with a 0.83 ERA, with 12 saves on 23 strikeouts. He struggled with his control last season with West Michigan, issuing 7.6 walks per nine innings, but his walk-to-strikeout ratio this season is 3.8.

Fifth-Third Ballpark photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Ferrell photo courtesy of MLive.com

Thomas photo property of Minoring In Baseball

Another Little League season in the books…

As Brian wrapped up his T-Ball season a week before, Lily and Trevor ended their softball/baseball seasons, too. Lily had a very good year, and did great at the plate. She had many multiple hit games. She liked to play catcher, but did play other positions in the field, too. The coaches get them playing all around to get a feel for everything. The coaches in the Sault Girls Softball league are all from the local high school team, so the kids get a solid and consistent amount of coaching. The league is run by the high school softball coach, and it really does a good job of building the girls skills. Lily had a lot of fun this summer, but because her games were during the day, it was so hot for her. Many times these girls toughed it out in 80-90 degree heat with the sun beating down on them. Lily also helped me coach Brian’s T-Ball team and did an excellent job. She had parents coming up to her and telling her how impressed they were with how she dealt with the younger kids. I am so proud of her, and am convinced there is nothing this girl is not capable of!

Trevor had a lot of fun this season, and for sure wants to play again next year. After taking a year off, he finally got his swing going and had some solid at-bats. He played catcher at the beginning of the season, but took over the third base slot for most of the year. He really likes the hot corner, and made some really good plays over there. I’m really proud of him for all of the work he puts into his playing. He hustles on the field and works very hard in practice. When I have extra time, he’s always up for playing catch or hitting a few baseballs. I really enjoyed being a coach on this team, too. This was a great bunch of kids and I hope they all come back and play next year. You might not believe that you can become attached to some kids after only a few months, but you definitely can. Especially with all of the unique personalities. Looking at the yellow unis, it’s hard not to compare them to the Bad News Bears

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball