Florence Freedom vs. Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier League)
UC Health Stadium-Florence, KY: I sat at my desk at work last Friday night, keeping an eye on the score on the computer, hoping the Florence Freedom would pull it off. Already down two games to none, another loss would mean the series would be over, and the Schaumburg Boomers would be champs of the Frontier League. Worse for me, it would mean no baseball game to attend the next day. Lucky for me, and the Freedom, I guess, Florence prevailed in 12 innings to keep the series going. So Saturday night, Brian and I made the trip up to see what could be a championship for the Boomers, or another game for the Freedom. I was a little shocked to see the game tickets at $20 a piece, even for a championship series. You’d think the home team would really want the local fan base to fill the park (not a huge crowd for such a big game…). At least Brian was able to get a photo op with Y’All Star as soon as we entered the stadium.
We sat down the third base side by the Schaumburg dugout, and the Boomers soon became one of Brian’s favorite teams, as I still rooted for the Freedom. The Boomers took the lead in the second inning, however, on a solo home run. Taylor Oldham tied the game for Florence with an RBI double in the third. In the fourth inning, Rock Shoulders hit a monster home run to put the Boomers up 2-1, quickly followed by another Schaumburg dinger. An RBI double put the Boomers up 4-1. Rock Shoulders is an awesome name. Like this guy wasn’t destined to be a professional athlete…
About this time we needed a treat, so Brian landed on the Funnel Cake Deluxe. This was served in a helmet, and consisted of a funnel cake, a crap load of ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles and Oreo pieces. It was amazing, and both of us together couldn’t even finish it!
The sixth inning added more runs for Schaumburg. They hit another home run, and a sacrifice fly scored another to take a commanding 6-1 lead in the game. Florence came back with a two-out run in the bottom of the inning, to cut the lead to 6-2. Andrew Godbold paced the offence for the Freedom, going 2-3 with a run scored.
Between innings, Brian was supposed to participate in an on-field race, but back out once he learned he would be wearing over-sized underwear… Oh well, at least he did run across the field during the seventh inning stretch.
On the mound for Florence, Cody Gray got the start and took the loss. He tossed four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out six. He would be replaced by Tony Vocca, who gave up two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of work. Kit Fowler started for the Boomers, pitching three innings and giving up a run. Michael Wood would earn the win, tossing 4.2 inning, giving up one run and striking out four. FINAL: Freedom 2, Boomers 6.
After the final out, it was time for celebration for the Boomers. I don’t care what age you are or what level of ball you play, when you win a championship it is a big deal. Congratulations to Schaumburg, they definitely deserve it. And congratulations to the Florence Freedom on a great season also. We’ll be back at UC Health Stadium next season.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers (National League)
Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH: Oh, Labor Day. When most people are smart enough to take a day off and relax, we decided to head up to the Queen City for some Reds baseball. As usual, we parked in Newport and took the boat over to the ballpark. Since the boat always drops us off at the back of the park (duh, like, it can’t travel down the street and around the corner…), Trevor and I decided to walk around and check out the façade. I took a photo of some of the statues featured out front, such as the greatest catcher ever Johnny Bench and ‘Charlie Hustle’ himself, Pete Rose. The Rose statue is new to the ballpark this season.
Trevor wasn’t happy in the hot sun, so we found some seats with some shade, and a little closer to the action. The Reds scored another run in the 6th, when Eugenio Suarez earned a walk. Yeah, I know. Yawn. But then Tucker Barnhart hit a double that plated two, so business was picking up. The Reds were up 4-0, and I was feeling pretty good about the game.
The Brewers came storming back top of the seventh, however. Homer Bailey got the start for the Reds, and he pitched a solid six innings, giving up three runs and striking out four. A pair of home runs tied the game at four going into the late innings.
Still tied at four bottom nine, it was hero time for Billy Hamilton. He hit his first right-handed home run of the season to set off the fireworks and give the Reds the win! Relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias got the win for Cincy. This was a great way to spend Labor Day, even though I only got a half-hour nap in before working all night. It was worth it for a fun day of baseball with Trevor. FINAL: Reds 5, Brewers 4.
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Despite the fact that practices started in the summer, and, wait, I think technically it still is summer, but fall baseball has started at North Oldham Little League. After a disappointed spring, I had to really convince Brian to play here in the fall. Being this is his first experience with other kids pitching to him, I thought this was a very important step to prepare for next spring.
The Navy blue team, dubbed the Navy Seals, are 1-1 so far in the young season. As one would expect, there was a lot of adjusting in the first couple of games, but really toward the end of the second game, the kids were getting used to being pitched to and hitting the ball. Brian as well was a little hesitant at first, and looked to take a step back at just about every pitch. Now he’s starting to hang in there and hit the ball, though. In the field, he’s been splitting time between left field and second base, but as also seen an inning at the hot corner. With so many walked batters, there’s not a lot of action yet, but as the kids start hitting more the field will become more adventurous and more fun. I think he’s liking second base, which is good, because that’s where his old man patrolled the field through Little League, high school, and into church softball. Brian is also lucky to have some of the very best coaches this season in fall ball. If he opens himself up and lets them help him, he has the potential to really improve. Most of all, though, I hope he has fun and realizes how lucky he is to be able to put on a uniform and play baseball every week…