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.
North Carolina TarHeels vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The nightcap pitted in-state rivals North Carolina and NC State. As this was our third game of the day, we were a little tired, but ready for another good game of baseball. I felt a little bad for the Wolfpack, however, as a dropped pop-fly in foul territory during the first inning cost them eight runs, and really put them behind the 8-ball so to speak.
To their credit, the TarHeels did come out swing their bats, crossing the plate ten times in the first inning. Carolina was lead by Tyler Lynn, who went 3/4 with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Logan Warmoth, Ashton McGee, and Brandon Riley each added two hits, and Riley plated three RBI’s. First inning aside, NC State played respectable baseball the rest of the game. Josh McLain went 1/3 and had two RBI’s for the Wolfpack.
On the hill, Brian Brown gave up eight runs, but only two of those were earned, while giving up seven hits for NC State. Sean Adler and Joe O’Donnell finally kept the TarHeels scoreless the last four innings. For North Carolina, J.B. Bukauskus had a good lead to work with, and threw seven innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out five. A long day for us, but worth it to watch some great baseball. On to the semifinals the next couple of posts. FINAL: TarHeels 12, Wolfpack 4.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida State Seminoles (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: I didn’t like this game. Not at all. In some way of dark magic, Florida State’s season came alive the weekend before when they rode into town and spanked the Cardinals two games in a row on their home field. One would think that this game would be different, that Louisville would be pumped up and out for revenge. Unfortunately for the packed house clothed in red and white here in the stands at Slugger field, the opposite happened. The Cards seemed to play some uninspired baseball, en route to eliminating themselves from the tournament.
From here forward, I’ve decided not to mention any Seminole player by named during the re-caps. Sorry, it’s nothing personal. Well, yeah, actually I guess it is… Kade McClure was on the mound for the Cards, and he gave up two runs in the first inning. He only lasted 3.24 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman each gave up a run, also. The Cards had little offense, but Brendan McKay did go 2/4 with a home run. FINAL: Cardinals 2, Seminoles 6.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Miami Hurricanes (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: After a few days of rain delays and re-scheduled games, we finally made it to Slugger Field for some ACC baseball. Since I practically live at this ballpark now, no need to go into details about it, so we’ll get right to the baseball action.
Wake Forest started off hot, and got all of it’s offense from Stuart Fairchild, who hit solo home runs in the first and third innings to give the Demon Deacons a 2-0 lead. Miami really didn’t get things going until the seventh, when they cut the lead to one, and they then scored two runs in each the eighth an ninth innings. The ‘Canes were lead by the bat of Johnny Ruiz, who went 1/3 with two RBI’s an a run scored. Edgar Michelangeli added a solo shot for Miami, and Romy Gonzalez added an RBI double.
On the hill for the Demon Deacons, Parker Dunshee threw seven solid innings, only giving up the one run on a dinger, and striking out four. Griffin Roberts took the loss, giving up four earned runs on three hits. For Miami, Jeb Bargfeldt pitched five innings, giving up the two home runs. Relief pitchers Gregory Veliz, Cooper Hammond, and Andrew Cabezas shut down the Deacons the rest of the way. FINAL: Demon Deacons 2, Hurricanes 5.
It was a fun game to watch, as the ‘Canes came through big in the last few innings. Not a huge crowd for this one, but that would change drastically, as the home town fans were filtering in for the next game featuring Louisville.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Northern Kentucky Norse (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The 26th marked our one year anniversary of living down here in Kentucky, so we decided to celebrate with a baseball game featuring two Kentucky teams. The Cards were hosting the Northern Kentucky Norse at Louisville Slugger Field (where the Bats play) for a special game. This was our first chance to check out NKU, also. I was fortunate enough to get these tickets for free, after buying tickets for the ACC Baseball championship here next month. Free tickets are the best kind, and Trevor and I had great seats to watch a great game.The Norse actually came out swinging, and took a 4-0 lead! NKU opened the scoring in the first inning on a solo homer run by T.J. Alas. In the second, Chad Roberts scored on a passed ball to put the Norse up 2-0. The Norse poured it on in the third, but Roberts hitting an RBI doubled, and then scoring himself on an RBI single by Mike Moffatt. Louisville’s starting pitcher Bryan Hoeing didn’t last past the second inning, but his offense came around to bail him out. Adam Wolf picked up the win for the Cards, throwing 2.1 scoring innings while striking out three. Relief pitcher Sam Bordner also pitched two scoreless innings, while Lincoln Henzman earned the save by pitching a perfect ninth.
Offensively, Louisville was lead by Drew Ellis and Zeke Pinkham. Ellis started the comeback with a solo home run of his own in the fourth inning. He then followed that up with a two-run moon shot in the fifth to put the Cards up 5-4. Both players were 2-4 on the day with three RBI, with Pinkham getting his first career home run. Charlie Jerger ended up taking the loss for Northern Kentucky. It was a funny game with some controversial calls, with both head coaches making appearances out on the field. Norse head coach Todd Asalon was even ejected with the classic chest bump and dirt kicking. Final: Cardinals 6, Norse 4.
A fun game for Trevor and I. Some of the photos don’t show it, but there was a decent crowd and they were entertaining and good natured themselves. We actually don’t have any ballgames planned out between now and the end of May, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find one to take in. Most likely it will be the Cards or Bats, but the Brian playing on the weekends sometimes it’s hard to find one that fits our schedule.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Boston College Eagles (NCAA/ACC)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: We were finally able to make it to another Louisville game, and what a historic game it was! Brian was nice enough to let me watch some of the game from the stands, before heading to the outfield so he could play on the park. I can’t complain too much, though as the best food is grilled in the outfield bleachers. The #1 ranked cards were riding a 17 game winning streak after beating Boston College in the first game of the series 6-0 Friday night. On Saturday, Louisville would put up another six, but the Eagles didn’t go away as quietly.
On the mound, Kade McClure pitched well with nine strikeouts and only giving up one earned run. Louisville native Riley Thompson came in for relief, and got rocked a bit, giving up 3 earned runs and making things interesting the later innings. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman would shut things down for the Cards, though. McClure still picked up the win, also.
Offensively, the Cardinals were lead by second baseman Devin Mann, who went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s. Also contributing was Drew Ellis, 2-5 with one RBI, and Logan Taylor 1-2 with one RBI. Their 18th win in a row is a new school record for wins in a row to start the season. Final: Cardinals 6, Eagles 4.
This was a fun game to be at, and the weather wasn’t all that bad, either. Louisville would also earn a 5-3 on Sunday, getting the sweep and extending the winning streak to 19 games. The Cardinals will be hitting the road for the next couple of weekends, but we’ll be back here the first week in April.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: It officially begins, the 2017 baseball season. As it was, Saturday was the coldest day here in Louisville, so obviously, that’s the only game we were able to make. A little cold weather isn’t enough to ruin our baseball fun, however, (even though Brian looks miserable in the photo). With Papa down visiting from Michigan, we were all happy to be at Jim Patterson Stadium for our first ballgame of the year.
On the hill for the Cards, Kade McClure earned the win, pitching six innings while striking out nine. He only gave up one hit and walked only three. In relief, Sam Bordner and Shay Smiddy preserved the shutout for Louisville.
On the offensive side, Louisville was led by Colby Fitch, who went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Also, Brendan McKay was being Brendan McKay, going 2-2 with a run and an RBI, while Drew Ellis went 2-3 with a run and RBI, also. Nebraska-Omaha didn’t do themselves any favors, either, committing four errors. In the end, it was a blowout and a shutout for the Cardinals. Final: Cardinals 10, Mavericks 0.
Despite the cool temperatures, it was a fun day of baseball, and it wasn’t over with the Cards. We had to rush back to the OC, so Brian could take part in his Little League evaluation, as the draft was on Sunday. Here’s a photo below from his eval. Not sure when we’ll see Louisville at home next, but have plans to visit Lexington in a couple of weeks. As for me, I’m just glad the baseball season has begun.
It’s that time of year, again, to look back at all the fun things in terms of baseball that we accomplished. For the second year in a row, we missed out on a baseball trip, so the list won’t be all that diverse when it comes to location. That’s not a terrible thing, however, as we moved to Kentucky this year and reaped the benefits of living in an area with plenty of college, independent, minor league, and major league baseball nearby. If the list was to 10, it would have included my birthday, where I was able to spend a fun day with my boys at the Louisville Slugger Museum and a Bats game, but we did other fun stuff that made the cut. So, without further ‘ado’ let’s get to it…
9) Star Wars Night: Star Wars will always be a hit, and this year we went to the event at our new home field in Louisville. The Bats host a decent night of space adventure fun, and the game itself was a walk-off win. Even Boba Fett was there, who we missed last year, so it capped off a great night.
8) Our first Reds game: Our first Cincinnati Reds game was a great experience. We took a boat from Newport across the river to avoid traffic and parking, and that avoided a lot of my stress of visiting a Major League game. We got great seats off of Seat Geek, so we were able to get a great view of the game, and Brian got a game ball from Eugenio Suarez. It was a hot day, but worth it to take in the Great American Ballpark in all it’s glory. It’s an amazing place to watch a game, and although the Reds had a rough season, the games are always fun!
7) Whitecaps Opening Day: Opening Days are always fun, even if there is snow on the ground, and the temps are more suited for hockey. We wanted to get a Whitecaps game in before the move, and give my dad a fun birthday present at the same time. Despite the cold, we had a great time together, and every trip we make back to Michigan during the season, we will always try to work in a Whitecaps game. In a strange way, the weather was a fitting ‘goodbye’ for us.
6) Our first Cards game: Sometimes you go someplace that just feels like ‘home’. That’s exactly what happened to us when we entered Jim Patterson Stadium for the first time in early March. Before Minor League opening day, and while down doing some house hunting, we couldn’t resist taking in a ball game. This is a great venue, and the Louisville Cardinals have a good baseball program, so this was a fun game for sure. It’s hard to believe the games are free with the ACC being such a competitive conference, so no surprise they pull in some good crowds. With my love for college baseball growing with every game, Cardinal baseball will be a staple in our lives for years to come.
5) Y’All Star Game: We lucked out, as the Frontier League All Star, or Y’All Star, Game was held in Florence, KY this season. We’re pretty familiar with the independent Frontier League, spending some time at some of the Beach Bums games in Traverse City. We were able to cheer on some of our Bums, as well as players from the home town Florence Freedom. The game hosted mascots from the Reds and other Frontier League teams, as well as Jake the Diamond Dog, and Myron Noodelman who was absolutely hilarious. In all, just an enjoyable night of baseball, and we’ll definitely make it back to Florence for a Freedom game next summer.
4) Loons Uniform and Logo Unveiling: It’s not too often you are able to enjoy a baseball event in February, but that’s just what we did when the Great Lakes Loons hosted an event to showcase the teams new logo and uniforms. Along with seeing the new logos, the mascots Lou E. Loon and Ral E. Camel entertained us. Brian was able to get his face painted and took the mic to try his hand at announcing. We ended the day by taking some cuts in the batting cages under Dow Diamond. Not a bad way to spend a winter day. I also wanted to add, that the Loons took their new look all the way to the 2016 Midwest League Championship!
3) Rose Number Retirement: Everyone has an opinion on Pete Rose, and whether you love him, or hate him, he is without a doubt one of the best hitters in the history of this great game! I met my best friend in Newport, and we had a great time at the ballgame, and seeing Reds legends like Rose and Johnny Bench in the pre-game ceremony. Like him or not, I did get to witness some history. 14 forever!
2) The San Diego Chicken!: Just like the afore mentioned Bench, I grew up watching the San Diego Chicken on the TV show The Baseball Bunch. He is far and above other mascots, and the skits he puts on are flawless and amazing. The Chicken has a magical presence that keep both children and adults tuned in to his every move. He was nice enough to meet with all his fans, also, and definitely made another one in Brian. This was an amazing night at the Bats game with the Chicken.
1) Mariners win the Championship!: Brian has really prospered from the move, but nothing more than what he’s been able to accomplish on the ballfield. He was lucky enough to join the Mariners a handful of games into the season when we moved down. The league down here is very different, and a lot more competitive. Brian fit right in, however, and had a great season at the plate. He was blessed with good coaches who pushed him hard but also let the kids have some fun. Being part of this team was a great experience and I’m glad he was able to be a part of it. The championship game was probably harder on me, but the kids were able to hang on for the win.
Looking ahead to 2017: I’m really looking forward to next season, and the adventures that baseball will take us on. We’ll have a full season with the Cardinals and Bats to look forward to, and the ACC Baseball championship here at Slugger Field, also. Brian will be playing ball again so we’ll keep tracking his success as he moves up a level next season. I’m looking forward to visiting new ballparks, especially some others here in Kentucky such as Lexington and Bowling Green. I wouldn’t mind hitting the road, either, for trips to Evanston, IN or Nashville, TN that aren’t all that far away, either. Until then, I wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas!
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball