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Category Archives: Minor Leagues

Swashbuckling at Slugger

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…

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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Brian learns from Bats

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.

Brian getting some pitching instruction

In all, this was a fun experience for him.  They move the kids around pretty quick, but I’m hoping he picked up a thing or two to get ready for fall ball.

 

Brian with members of the Louisville Bats

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

Pork Roast

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…

Nachos and cheese for that cheesy grin!

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.

Nothing beats a Kizito chocolate chip cookie

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.

Another fun game with Bri.  We had another busy week in baseball, and another Bats game the next weekend, so stay tuned.  I’ll leave off with a pic of Bri and Buddy Bat:

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Legends Double-header

Lexington Legends vs. Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League)

Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY:  Because I’m so far behind, I’m going to start combining some of these double-headers into one post.  That being said, I can say that the rain down here is definitely a double-edged sword.  Due to a rain out the night before, the Legends played a double-header, but also back in the OC, Brian’s little league game was rained out, and that was the most important game of the trip for his Papa to see.  And I guess we were lucky to get any baseball at all, as it rained the entire trip from Nashville to Lexington, and cleared up just before the first pitch.  I’d also like to point out that Whitaker Bank Ballpark is a great place to watch a game.  It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of some of the other parks, but for a pure baseball experience I highly recommend it.

The first game we saw was a continuation of the night before, with the Legends up 1-0 after two innings on a Emmanuel Rivera home run.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any other offense during the game.

The rain also cancelled all of the elementary school field trips, but there was enough kids in the crowd to pull off a horse race between innings.  We are in that part of the country, y’all.

I also got a game ball, which is a plus.  There is still no better souvenir in sports.

On the bump for Lexington the night before was Andre Davis, who pitched two scoreless innings before the rain hit.  Taking over and earning the win was Geoff Bramblett.  He only gave up three hits and struck out four in the victory.  Earning the save was Grant Gavin who struck out three.  Final game 1: Legends 1, Crawdads 0.

The second game had a little more excitement, despite the fact that it was only a seven inning game.  The Legends were led offensively by Manny Olloque, who went 2/3 with an RBI and two runs scored.  John Brontsema also went 2/3 with an RBI and scored a run, while Kort Peterson had two RBI’s.  The starting pitcher for Lexington was Jace Vines, who threw six solid innings for the win.  He gave up four runs on six hits, whole striking out one. Final (7) game 2: Legends 9, Crawdads 4.

We did start to get a little rain toward the end of the second game, but that gave us a chance to move to the upper levels and still get a great view of the game anyway.  Again, this is such a great ballpark and I hope to see many more games here over the years.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

Nashville

Nashville Sounds vs. Omaha Storm Chasers (Pacific Coast League)

First Tennessee Park-Nashville, TN:  Our first time here in Nashville, and I can honestly say this ballpark is amazing.  That being said, it is also very expensive.  This is probably the most money we’ve ever laid down for minor league tickets, and you could probably get yourself major league tickets similar to these prices. That being said, we didn’t let that ruin our experience.  In fact, Sounds mascot Booster was waiting for us as we entered the gate.

Me with Sounds mascot Booster

My dad loves the seats in the upper level, so that’s where we went and had a great view.  The sight lines are great in Nashville, and that scoreboard is amazing!

He had time to explore the park more before the game, and the outfield concourse definitely has some unique features.  There is a full bar out there with couches, chairs, and even a pool table. There is also a full miniature golf course out there, too.  I’m sure we can debate whether all of this is necessary for a ballpark, but one thing is for certain, they put a lot of money into this ballpark.

We settled into the game, and the Sounds were running on all cylinders this night.  Nashville was led offensively by Joey Wendle, who went 4-5 with two RBI’s and three runs scored.  Also helping out was Chris Parmelee who went a perfect 3-3 while driving in and scoring a run.  Ryan LaMarre also knocked home three runs going 1-4.

And I can’t forget the country music stars race, where George Jones beat Johnny Cash and Reba McIntyre:

On the hill for Nashville was Daniel Mengden.  He pitched seven near perfect innings, giving up no runs on only three hits while striking out five. Final: Sounds 10, Storm Chasers 0.

This was an interesting trip to Nashville, and I wish we would have had time to check out more of the town, as there is so much to see and do. First Tennessee Park comes pretty close to a Major League experience, and that can be both good and bad.  I’m sure we’ll be making another trip down here for a game, though.  I’ll leave off with a little video I shot toward the end of the game:

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats double-header Game 2

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Brian and I settled in for the second game, and were pleased with this one, also, as we were looking for another Bats victory.  To start the game off right, though, we had to get ourselves some ballpark treats.  Brian went with some Flavor Ice and I settled for some simple ice cream in a helmet.

Pitching for the Bats in game two was lefty Ismael Guillon.  He pitched three and two thirds of an inning, giving up four hits and one run, but never allowing a base on balls.  Louisville did most of their damage in the fourth inning.  Beau Amaral hit a bases loaded triple, scoring Sebastian Elizalde, Brandon Dixon, and Rob Brantley.  The Bats lead 4-1 after the fourth and hung on for the victory. Final(7): Bats 4, Clippers 3.

We can’t forget that the Zooperstars were still on hand to put on a show.  We were able to see Peyton Manatee, Nomar GarciaParrott, and Whale Gretzky.  Harry Canary sang ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ during the seventh inning stretch, but I wasn’t able to snap a photo of that.

And we ended the day right by hanging out with Buddy Bat! More posts to come in the next couple of weeks.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats double-header Game 1

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Well, we finally made it back to Slugger Field for some Bats baseball.  Usually with us the rain is a pain, but last weekend it actually helped, as Saturday nights game was rained out, so we were able to enjoy a double-header on Sunday.  The first game moved by quickly, but we enjoyed it and cheered on our team.

As is with most minor league double-headers, they are a seven inning games, and this one was a pitchers duel.  For the Bats, starter Jackson Stephens pitched all seven innings for a complete game shut out.  He gave up seven hits, but gave up no walks in his outing.   And while we were watching all of the non-offense, Brian was enjoying his free kids meal of a hot dog, nachos, and root beer.

The Zooperstars were also on hand to entertain us.   We saw CentiPete Rose, Tommy LaSwordfish, and Tim TeBull during this game.

We finally saw some excitement in the final inning.  The Bats had back-to-back singles from Sebastian Elizalde and Tony Renda to open the inning.  Then Brandon Dixon came to the plate and hit a walk-off single for a 1-0 Louisville victory!  Final (7): Bats 1, Clippers 0.

Between games Brian and I went out to the West Wing to get out of the sun for a while.  As Sunday is Kids Club day, they had plenty of activities for them.  Brian was lucky enough to interact with some of our veterans, and made a poppy flower that will go on a Memorial Day parade float honoring our fallen heroes!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats get Clipped

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Another fun night of baseball, this time back in the ‘Ville.  This was the last game my dad would be at on this visit.  He plans on coming back next month, though, for some more minor league ball and the ACC Championships.  It was a beautiful night, as the weather just seemed to get better as the weekend went along.  Brian played on the playground most of the game, but was happy to spend some time with his papa, too.

Brian won this hat, but gave it to his Papa for his golf games

This was a good game, with the Bats down, but certainly not out.  Louisville was lead offensively by catcher Rob Brantly, who went 3-6 with four RBI’s, including a 2-run homer in the seventh and a game tying double in the eighth.  Jesse Winker helped out by going 2-4 with an RBI and run scored, and Philip Ervin went 2-5 with two runs scored.

On the mound, Jackson Stephens got the start for Louisville.  In four innings pitched, he gave up five runs while striking out four.  Luckily the offense  and bullpen bailed him out, so he didn’t get the decision.  Evan Mitchell ended up taking the loss, though, after giving up the winning run in the 10th.  He pitched two innings and gave up three hits.  Final in 10:  Bats 8, Clippers 9.

Another fun night, with it being capped off with Brian getting to meet Jake the Diamond Dog.  We saw him a couple of times last season, as he acted as bat boy and brought water to the umpires. He was hot and tired by the end of the night, though.  We look forward to our next game, which will probably be right back here at Louisville Slugger Field.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Burning rubber into Bowling Green

Bowling Green Hot Rods vs. Fort Wayne TinCaps (Midwest League)

Bowling Green Ballpark-Bowling Green, KY:  This was our first game here in Bowling Green, and I can honestly say it was a fun experience.  Bowling Green Ballpark is nice place to watch a game, and is snuggled right into the down town area.  The only negative thing I can say about the ballpark, is that there is just so much netting, it was difficult to get good photos of the action.

We had good seats, though, although I had to move around a bit to find a place to take a pic or two without the netting in the way.  Brian was having a fun time, also, and we really liked meeting the Hot Rod mascots Axel and Roscoe.  I was impressed with the mascots, they were very active through out the game and did a great job of entertaining and interacting with the fans.

Brian with Hot Rods mascots Axel and Roscoe.

Now, as much fun as meeting a bear and monkey that are apparently auto mechanics, the highlight of this trip was that Brian was chosen to help out with the announcing.  He was randomly picked by the Hot Rods staff, and during the fourth inning was able to announce the Bowling Green batters.  He was good luck, also, as the Hot Rods plated some runs during the inning.  Brian was a little nervous at first, but the staff in the press box was very friendly and supportive, and he ended up doing a fine job!

Here’s a video of him:

And why not another video, as they’re short:

That was so much fun for him, but we almost forgot there was a pretty good ballgame going on, also.  On the bump for Bowling Green, starting pitcher Brock Burke went three innings, giving up one hit, giving up one earned run, and striking out five.  Roel Ramirez actual got the win, despite giving up four hits and two runs.  Spencer Jones earned the save, pitching two innings while giving up one hit and had three strike outs.   Bowling Green was lead offensively by Nathaniel Lowe, who went 2-4 with two RBI’s, and Jesus Sanchez, who went 2-3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Final:  Hot Rods 6, TinCaps 4.

This was a fun night of baseball, and definitely makes us want to take another trip down to Bowling Green.   There is also almost a limitless amount of things to see and do between Louisville and Bowling Green, also.  So many National Parks and museums, it would take many trips to see and experience everything.  Below is a photo of Brian at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  Just one of the fun activities we did that’s not baseball related.

Photos and videos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats vs. Reds…sort of

Louisville Bats vs. Cincinnati Reds (Exhibition)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  We’re so glad that Bats baseball is slowly creeping back into our lives!  On Friday night the Bats (sort of) hosted the Cincinnati Reds for an exhibition game. I say ‘sort of’ for the Bats because in all reality, this was a Red’s Futures team, which probably very few from this roster will be actually seeing time in Louisville this summer.  Probably more guys from the Reds roster will be here, but it’s still baseball, and it was still a fun game.  We got there as early as we could, to get our Adam Duvall bobble-head and our free Reds hats (we still cheered for our ‘Bats’, though).  As the Reds were warming up, we noticed catcher Rob Brantly, who we saw play up in Michigan for the Whitecaps.  Since they were old pals, Brian decided to go chat with him a bit.

And here were the starting line-ups for the teams:

The obvious big pop for the night was for Louisville’s own Adam Duvall.  He had a nice game, too, going 2-2 with a double.

The game was low scoring, with both runs coming in the first two innings.  Rookie Davis started on the bump for the Reds.  He pitched three innings, allowing one earned run and three hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsman.   Tyler Mahle started for the Bats/Futures team, hurling five solid innings and allowing one run and seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 87 pitches.  He gave up his only run in the first inning, when Billy Hamilton scored on a Joey Votto base-hit RBI.  The Bats scored their lone run on a Aristides Aquino solo home run.  Final: Bats 1, Reds 1.

The game didn’t have a lot of action, but still a fun night with Brian.  We have tickets for the Reds game on Thursday, but the weather calls for lots of rain, so I’m doubting we’ll get that game in.  The Bats also start this week (officially), so we’ll still try to get a game in somewhere, somehow.  I’ll leave off with a pic of Brian and Buddy Bat, who we were both glad to see for the first time in 2017!

 

Brian with Buddy Bat

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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