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
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.
Nutter Field House-Lexington, KY: Brian simply woke up one day and declared: ‘I’m a UK fan, dad.’ Uh, ok, that’s fine, I guess. When I asked him ‘why’, he simply replied: ‘I just am.’ Again, ok. Kids are funny like that. I might not ever really know what event turned his loyalties to the Big Blue Nation, but at least it gave us an excuse to travel to Lexington for the Wildcats inaugural Fan Day hosted by the university’s baseball and softball teams.
They day started with a short clinic for the kids, then the teams split up for an autograph session. The players were separated by position (INF, OF, P, C), which made it easier for the kids to jump from table to table, and maybe converse with a player or two they share a position with. Brian even got to chat with a fellow North Oldham Little Leaguer (an alum, anyway) in Connor Heady, who is a senior infielder:
We’re still a big fan and supporter of college softball so Brian wanted to meet some of the girls and get some autographs from them, also. They were super nice to him and of course signed his poster and hat, as well as posing for a few photos. We’ll definitely try to catch some Wildcat softball games this spring. A baseball-softball double-header sounds like a good day to me, anyway.
In all, this was a great way to start out the 2017 baseball (and softball) season. College baseball is less then a month away, and we look forward to being in the stands. Oh, and Brian ran into more players in the parking lot he needed pictures with. After all, as he told them, he is the biggest Kentucky fan…Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Promotion courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats/NCAA
Black Cardinals vs. Red Cardinals
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: This past weekend has to be one of the busiest in this town that I have seen since moving down this way, since the Derby weekend, anyway. Since this is a baseball blog, I’ll be moving backwards and start with Sunday. Brian and I decided to check out a little Louisville Cardinal fall ball scrimmage, and it was a lot of fun. Simply a beautiful day and there’s not too many places I’d rather be than a ballpark. Granted, this was just an inter-squad scrimmage, and most may protest that these games don’t mean anything, but I disagree. To the kids trying to either earn a walk-on position, or a spot in the starting lineup, there games can mean plenty. I felt bad for the left fielder, who made a couple of errors, and we were within ear-shot to hear his frustrations loud and clear. Take this for what it is, just something to do, watching something we love, spending time with my little buddy. Final: Black 10, Red 4.
Now, on Saturday, there was some kind of college football going on, and I guess this could be considered the busiest day of the weekend. That’s probably why we stayed away from town. I think the whole ESPN College Gameday crew was in town, also. Although not a big football fan, I did watch some of the Louisville vs. Florida State game on TV, and was happy for a big Louisville win (63-20). It’s always good for the town and the school, and I’ve never cared much for the Seminoles much in any sport, anyway.
KFC Yum! Center-Louisville, KY: Friday was a fun day for the boys and I, also. This was both Trevor and Brian’s first WWE (I still call it WWF) show. Brian was happy to see his two favorites Bayley and Roman Reigns fight. It was a pretty good show, as the U.S. Championship, Tag-Team Championship, and Universal Championship belts were all defended. I’d much rather attend a ‘house show’ than a TV event, as all they do is talk and you don’t see as much action. We all had a great time, and will probably come again when the WWE is in town. As well as baseball, Louisville is a decent place for a wrestling fan to live, also. We have the local Ohio Valley Wrestling which is a lot of fun, and some other indy promotions in southern Indiana.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball