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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Florence Freedom vs. Traverse City Beach Bums (Frontier League)
UC Health Stadium-Florence, KY: Second double-header in as many days due to a rain-out the night before. Again, because I’m so far behind, I’ll be combining both games into one post. We settled in to see the Freedom take on one of my old teams from Michigan, the Beach Bums. My dad was pulling for TC all the way, but I was torn a bit (or more accurately, didn’t really care much as long as I was watching a good game). The stadium in Florence is nice, and usually has a pretty baseball savvy crowd, with Cincy just across the river. It was another game without much of a crowd, however, mainly due to the possibility of rain.
The first game was a close one, and one my dad was happy with the outcome of. Leading Florence offensively was Daniel Fraga, who went 2/4 with two runs scored. Jose Brizuela drove in four of the Freedom’s five runs, and also went 2/4. On the mound, Tony Vocca took the loss, pitching 5.1 innings of the shortened game. He gave up all six runs on ten hits, while striking out five. FINAL (7) game 1: Freedom 5, Beach Bums 6.
In the second game, the home team was able to even the score. On the bump for the Freedom Cody Gray pitched all seven innings, only allowing three hits and striking out seven. He was helped on the offensive side by Andre Mercurio, who went 3/3 with an RBI. Jordan Brower pitched in going 1/2, also. FINAL (7) game 2: Freedom 4, Beach Bums 1.
It was a fun night of baseball, and really the seven inning games move along pretty quickly. We enjoyed the ballpark and I still would like to get the kids up here for a family Sunday game. The next posts will be starting the games at the ACC Tournament, and I’ll also use some space to plug my social media, as you can follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @minorbaseball. You can see real time photos instead of having to wait for me to finally get all of these posts up!
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
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.
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.
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.
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.
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