Tennessee Volunteers vs. Belmont Bruins (NCAA)
Lindsey Nelson Stadium-Knoxville, TN: The first game of our trip this year (not a pure baseball trip, but vacation non-the-less), was a college game in Knoxville. Knoxville is a beautiful town, and the Tennessee campus is great. The only real beef I have with this ballpark is that they didn’t let be bring a bag inside. For many of us that attend games, we know we must have all of our ‘stuff’, including baseball gloves, sun block, camera, rain ponchos, etc. Working for DHS, I understand safety protocal, but not allowing fans to bring their ‘stuff’ in is simply laziness of the security staff, and not wanting to do their jobs.
As for the game, the Volunteers were hosting another Tennessee team, the Belmont Bruins. This was a solid game for the home team, as they put up some runs. Leading the way for the Volunteers were Justin Ammons, who went 2-3 with two runs scored, and Jay Charleston, who went 1-2 with a run scored and three RBI’s. On the mound, Will Heflin earned the win. He pitched three innings allowing one run, and striking out one. FINAL: Volunteers 6, Bruins 2.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Western Carolina Catamounts (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: It’s that time of year again, when college baseball fans can rejoice because baseball for us starts so much sooner than the pros. This can make for some rough game weather wise in February and March, but for us we had a perfect day in the ‘Ville for our first game of the season.
The Cards were hosting the Western Carolina Catamounts for a non-conference series, and were looking to stay undefeated. Leading the charge offensively for Louisville was second baseman Devin Mann, who went 1-3 with an RBI and a run, and Danny Oriente who also went 1-3 with an RBI. On the mound, Liam Jenkins started the game, throwing three innings while giving up one run on one hit, and striking out six. Reid Detmers earned the win in relief, throwing three scoreless innings and striking out seven. Final: Cardinals 3, Catamounts 2.
The weather has turned cold and nasty again, so we haven’t been to any more games. We have lots to look forward to this summer, though, and Brian has already started his Little League practices, so more to come.
University of Kentucky/Nutter Field House-Lexington, KY: What a weekend this was, the first annual Father/Son Baseball Camp hosted by the Kentucky Wildcats baseball program. After a small nap Saturday morning, Brian and I made the trek to Lexington. Upon arriving on campus and heading into the Nutter Field House, we were greeted by Wilcats’ head coach Nick Mingione. He introduced himself, and let us know where to go to get checked in. After getting all checked in and playing some catch, coach gave us all a quick run down on the weekend activities before we separated into our groups and got to work.
We started out with some fielding, which went well, then onto throwing. Brian has always had a bit of trouble with some throwing mechanics, but some of these drills really seemed to help him out. It’s fun to see the smile on his face when he does well. Same thing with the hitting drills, as Coach Fanning gave him some pointers and he was hitting off the tee really well. It was nice to get the camp off to a good start.
After the first set of drills were completed, we broke for some pizza and rest. Pizza is always a hit with the kids. When our bellies were full, the fathers and sons were separated into groups. The coaches talked to us about the family atmosphere of the Kentucky baseball program, as well as the joys and struggles of raising baseball players. The kids were taken by the players and they wrote us ‘thank you’ letters that I look forward to receiving in the mail. After a few more drills, we walked over to check out the Wildcats clubhouse. As you can imagine it was a very nice facility.
When the tour was completed, we spread out our sleeping bags on the turf and tried to get some sleep. Tried being the key word. I was really tired and drifted off, but since Brian couldn’t sleep at first, he wasn’t about to let me get any shut-eye, either. We did finally get a little sleep, and woke up to a breakfast of sausage biscuits and donuts, which wasn’t all that bad. The team provided us with a church service right there in the field house, also, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that just about all of the families attended.
Our group started the morning with a Fathers vs. Sons ballgame. This was a lot of fun, and it felt good to hit and play the field like I was a kid again, also. Brian hit the ball well and made some good plays, so he was happy. No one was keeping score, but I’m sure the Fathers plated a few more runs, at least that’s the story I’m sticking to… After some wall-ball and base running, we ended the day at the batting cages. Brian hit the ball well, and it was good to end the camp on a positive note.
I’m very grateful to the University of Kentucky, and feel blessed that I could experience this weekend with Brian. He did have fun, and I hope he looks back on this experience one day as a positive one. Camps like this just reinforce that our move to Kentucky was a good one. Also looking forward to seeing at game here this spring, as Coach Mingione seems to have something really special going on with this program.
Promotion courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
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.