Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Brian’s back with another season of Little League baseball, and he’s back with the Mariners this season (completely different team and coach, but he had success last time, so he’s happy). The season started in April, but like most of the country our April was full of rain, snow, high winds, and all around crappy weather, causing many games to be postponed. The boys are just now starting to play catch up on the first part of the season, sometimes seeing three games a week. The Mariners are 4-4 as of this posting, so they’re playing respectable ball and keeping in the hunt. A couple of games got away from them and I think they’re better than there record so we’ll see how the next half of the season turns out. Brian is doing well at the plate. He’s had four hits in his last three games, and has some RBI’s and runs scored thrown in there.
In the field he’s done well, but still frustrated at being stuck in the outfield most of the time. The coach has talked with him and tried to keep him positive, but the season is warring on him already. Hopefully he’ll get to see some action at first base sooner than later, as that’s where he likes to play and can catch the ball pretty well. He’s got good coaches this season and they are very patient with Brian’s colorful roller coaster of emotions. Keeping him positive is the key, and when he does well and has confidence he’s very productive and has fun. If he can learn more about the game and let himself have a good time, that’s what it’s all about!
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The Louisville Bats had a great idea to wrap up the 2017 for their fans, hosting a movie night at the ballpark. Sitting in the stands or laying out on a blanket on the field with a movie up on the video boards is definitely a promotions most fans were excited about. The only thing that wasn’t exciting, was the movie selection the Bats posted on Facebook that fans could vote on. I honestly can’t even remember every movie listed, but I voted for the ‘Lego Batman Movie’, while the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was the big winner out of the four. I was a little confused why no baseball related movie was listed, especially ‘The Sandlot’, which I thought would be a runaway winner as far as family baseball flicks go. In fact, there was so much outcry to show ‘The Sandlot’ by myself and other fans, the Bats replied on Facebook stating that wasn’t a movie that they had the rights to show.
In all honesty, however, it really didn’t matter what movie they showed. Brian was able to bring a friend to the event, and we laid some blankets and pillows out to enjoy the show. For me, I was just happy to be on the field, and was more intrigued by how perfect the grass was than anything else. I went to buy the kids some popcorn and pop, and was really pleasantly surprised at the great turnout for the event.
This turned out to be a really fun event, and the movie wasn’t all that bad, I guess, but the kids enjoyed it and that’s what counts. I think in all there was a lot of positive feedback from the fans, so I’m confident the Bats will hold more of these events. Maybe ‘The Sandlot’ next time, though…. What family baseball movie would you all like to see on the big screen at a ballpark? Poll is below!
Promotion courtesy of the Louisville Bats
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
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…
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.
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Well, we’re almost a month into the season, and the North Oldham Little League season for the Diamondbacks isn’t going as planned. After starting out 2-0, the D-backs rattled off seven straight losses before breaking the slump on Saturday afternoon. Then they lost on a walk off in extra innings the next night. Brian went through a little slump of his own, although not very long. Being buried at the bottom of the lineup, he had a couple of game where he was 0-1 (yes, three out of four games during the stretch he only had one at bat). But we tweaked some things, and he’s back to being one of the best hitters on the team. From my calculation, he’s now hitting .647 this season. With all honesty, though, I think I missed a game in there somewhere, with all of the cancellations and re-scheduled games. Speaking of which…
If you’re wondering why we haven’t been to any more college or minor league games, the simple answer is that little league has become all-consuming. It’s not really the game schedule, but the re-scheduling that’s been hindering our plans to see other games. Even when we get a nice day on the weekend, more than likely the boys will be playing a make-up game due to all the rain we’ve had the last four weeks. Don’t get me wrong, though, there’s no place I’d rather be than watching Brian play, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to chill and watch a Bats game, or something. We do have tickets for this Sunday, but…. 90% chance of rain…
Back to Brian’s season. He’s been stuck in the outfield most of the time, which he doesn’t like, but has made the best of it when he gets his chances in the infield. He’s played some pitcher, second base, and his favorite: first base. He did well, and caught everything that was thrown to him, but only got to play there one inning so far this season. He’s keeping his chin up, though, and I’m teaching him to only worry about the things he can control, and do his best wherever the coach puts him. He had the chance to catch a couple of innings, though, but didn’t end up liking it. The mask didn’t fit well, and he took a couple of pitches in the foot. Maybe I can talk him into being catcher again later on in fall ball. He still has half a season left, and as long as he keeps doing his best and having fun, we’ll call it a win!
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: How nice is this, that Brian is playing outside in nice weather? In April! Brian’s back in Rookie ball this season, this time suiting up for the Diamondbacks, and ready to pursue another championship. The North Oldham Little League does a great job promoting itself, and has a pancake breakfast and parade to kick off the season. Unfortunately, do to work, we were unable to make this early morning festivities, but he’s made the two out of the three games so far (Tuesday night we had tickets to WWE Smackdown Live that we bought well in advance).
The first game of the season the D-backs won 13-4. Brian went 2-3 with an RBI at the dish. In the field, he made some nice plays and had some good catches to pitch in defensively. In the second game, the D-backs held on to win 6-5. Brian scored the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning on his second hit of the night. He was 2-2 with two ribeye steaks. He didn’t get anything hit to him in the field, so he was actually mad after the game. A little ice cream cheered him up, though. I’ll probably kick out a mid-season report in a few weeks!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Walsh Park-La Grange, KY: It seems as it just started, but Brian’s fall ball league has come to an end. I’m really happy that he chose to keep playing, and I think he had a good time. Honestly, I really didn’t pay too much attention to his team’s record, although I’m pretty sure they won more than they lost, and there are no playoffs. He got a chance to play some other positions, also, finding he likes to play some infield. He still needs to work on his throwing mechanics a little, but he’s fielding pretty good. Brian had a solid fall season at the dish, also. He hit well over .500, going 3-3 in two consecutive games. After that second one, he was given the game ball by his coach as player of the game. He had some good coaching this fall, as well, as they stayed very positive and stressed fun and learning above all else. He’s excited to play next year, and spring can’t come soon enough.