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!
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.
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!
Louisville Bats vs. Cincinnati Reds (Exhibition)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: We’re so glad that Bats baseball is slowly creeping back into our lives! On Friday night the Bats (sort of) hosted the Cincinnati Reds for an exhibition game. I say ‘sort of’ for the Bats because in all reality, this was a Red’s Futures team, which probably very few from this roster will be actually seeing time in Louisville this summer. Probably more guys from the Reds roster will be here, but it’s still baseball, and it was still a fun game. We got there as early as we could, to get our Adam Duvall bobble-head and our free Reds hats (we still cheered for our ‘Bats’, though). As the Reds were warming up, we noticed catcher Rob Brantly, who we saw play up in Michigan for the Whitecaps. Since they were old pals, Brian decided to go chat with him a bit.
The game was low scoring, with both runs coming in the first two innings. Rookie Davis started on the bump for the Reds. He pitched three innings, allowing one earned run and three hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsman. Tyler Mahle started for the Bats/Futures team, hurling five solid innings and allowing one run and seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 87 pitches. He gave up his only run in the first inning, when Billy Hamilton scored on a Joey Votto base-hit RBI. The Bats scored their lone run on a Aristides Aquino solo home run. Final: Bats 1, Reds 1.
The game didn’t have a lot of action, but still a fun night with Brian. We have tickets for the Reds game on Thursday, but the weather calls for lots of rain, so I’m doubting we’ll get that game in. The Bats also start this week (officially), so we’ll still try to get a game in somewhere, somehow. I’ll leave off with a pic of Brian and Buddy Bat, who we were both glad to see for the first time in 2017!
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Sunday the Louisville Bats held an Open House for their season ticket holders and guests. It was a chance for us to get away to the ballpark, and enjoy a nice day that was just chill. After I picked up my ticket package envelope, we headed to the concession stand to get our free hotdog, popcorn, and pop. And what better place to enjoy these treats than our reserved seats? This will be my view for every Sunday game this season:
When we were done poking around the locker room area, we followed the hallway that lead to the Bats’ dugout. There is something just relaxing about sitting in a dugout for me, it just feels like home somehow. Brings back some good memories of Little League and high school, I guess.
After our rest in the dugout, we took a lap around the outfield. It’s always nice to be on the field, too… We ended our excursion by heading up to check out one of the suites looking over the ballpark. All I can saw is, I’ve seen the suite life, and it is good. If or when I win the Powerball, I now know my first purchase will be to secure one of these suites for my friends, family, and I to enjoy the games. We were able to sample some food up there, also, and it was awesome! Oh, well, I can dream, anyway… We have plans to be back here when the Cincinnati Reds visit town for an exhibition. Please help me pray for good weather!
John Cropp Stadium-Lexington, KY: Our original plan for after our adventure at the Stache-A-Palooza, was to check out some Kentucky Wildcat baseball. The team was scheduled to play Miami (Ohio) at 1:00 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Uh, however, when we arrived at the Cliff, we found it empty, with no baseball teams in sight. Apparently, the game had been rescheduled, but we never saw any notification of this. Still not sure WHY the game was changed, the weather wasn’t as bad as the day before, but maybe because the UK basketball team was playing at the same time? Personally, I think it’s stupid to re-arrange baseball for stupid basketball, but again, that’s just me. Not letting this ruin our day, though, we drove over to the UK softball venue, John Cropp Stadium, to find the ladies hosting a tournament there, aptly named the John Cropp Classic. The Michigan Wolverines were playing the Evansville Aces when we arrived, and it was cool to see a somewhat (old) home team on the field. We enjoyed the game, as the Wolverines made short work of the Aces. Final: Michigan 11, Evansville 2.
The next game in the tourney featured the home team Wildcats taking on the Kent State Golden Flashes. Between games, Brian and some of the other kids took time to make signs supporting their Kentucky team. Brian’s sign was a hit, as many of the girls acknowledged him, and one player even took a picture of him with it. To be honest, we only stayed a few innings as the cold was getting to us, but the home team ended up with the victory anyway. Not sure when we’ll make the trip to Lexington again, but will probably plan it around a Legends and Wildcats baseball game, and if the ladies are in town, we’ll hit another game here, too. Final: Kentucky 2, Kent State 0.
Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY: Despite having an easy winter, the weather isn’t cooperating a lot with us early this season. It was a balmy 35 degrees on Saturday, but at least we had the sun shining to help keep us warm during the Lexington Legends Stache-A-Palooza event. Brian was happy to meet the Legends mascots Big L and Pee Wee for the first time. He also had a blast on the slide and bouncy castle.
Inside, we were able to sample some of the new ballpark eats the Legends will be introducing this spring. My favorite was the bacon wrapped chicken nuggets. We were lucky enough to win a couple of small prizes at the wheel, but Brian wasn’t too enthusiastic about a credit card holder or a towel. They had some face painting available, but Brian declined on that. We still had a busy day ahead and he didn’t want to deal with it all day.
After our fun inside was done, we decided to check out the field. It still looks like a great place to watch a game, and I still plan on doing just that this spring. I just hope our spring is as warm as our winter! We spent a little coin in the gift shop and spent some more time on the bouncy stuff before calling it a day at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. It was a fun event, and always good to get a preview of what to expect from the Legends this summer.
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Well, the Sault Little League finally provided us with our team jerseys last week. Our lucky four-year run with blue came to a eye-clashing end. This year we pulled…orange. Makes me feel like I’m coaching in the Calinornia Penal League, or that maybe one of the local prisons should have been our sponsor. Oh, well, we’ll still have a lot of fun, and even though they’re not profesionals, they still don’t tank plays for personal reasons…
Photos property of MIB