The home opener has come and gone and after posting a 4-0 record, it was (ob)viously a good weekend. There were a lot of good things that happened over the weekend and it started and ended with the pitching, more specifically the starting pitching. Senior Mike Kloss set the tone for the weekend with a complete-game shutout in game one against Carroll University. Kloss allowed only three hits while striking out seven en route to an 8-0 win. Sophomore Tyler Herman followed suit with a complete-game shutout of his own. Herman allowed only five hits and only struck out two but the key stat for Tyler was he didn't allow a single base on balls. The offense got on the board early, scoring four runs in the first two innings and added another run in the sixth for the 5-0 victory. The defense sparkled all day not committing an error. There were many offensive stars on the day. The entire lineup contributed in both games so for all the details, check out the box scores for each game.
On Sunday, the pitching again started the day as the story. Dating back to the Cards last game in Florida, the pitching staff had compiled 15 straight scoreless innings heading into the double-header with UW-Superior. Junior Nate Arenson did his part to keep the streak going after he escaped several early Yellow Jacket scoring opportunities. Arenson kept the Jackets off the board for five innings until he ran out of gas with one out in the sixth. The scoreless innings streak ended at 20 1/3 after UW-Superior put a 5-spot on the board. Thankfully the offense built an 11-0 lead led by junior Michael Corrigan's 4-for-4, 6 RBI day, which included his second home run of the season.
Game two featured the Cards second comeback victory of the season. After spotting the Jackets a 4-0 lead due to some fielding miscues. The Jackets had a few miscues of their own which opened the door for three runs in the fifth to take an 8-5 lead. Senior Micah Yarbrough battled through five innings and kept us in it long enough to pick up his second win of the year. Senior Kevin Krajewski threw two innings of scoreless relief to earn his first of the year. Junior Matt Abraham added four hits to his team-leading total of 22 for a team-leading .537 average.
I am currently sorting through photos from the start of the season through Saturday's home opener. A photo gallery should be posted later today or tomorrow morning at the latest. Thanks again to Mrs. Kloss for taking the shots.
We wrap up our first homestand of the year on Wednesday against Aurora University. First pitch is set for 3:00 pm. See you there!
Nearly 24 hours after wrapping up our fifth win on our Spring Trip on a sunny day with temperatures in the 70's, we return to reality. Met by rain on I-65 and blustering winds when we unloaded the bus, we were quickly reminded of the fact our vacation was over. Sure we played hard over the past week, but having been there myself seven years ago, I know it's easier to play baseball in Florida. Having nothing to do with the competition we faced, playing ball during spring break is a different animal then when we return home. Classes are not an issue, no one has to be at work at a specific time. All anyone has to do is eat, sleep, and play ball.
But today was a reminder that there is a lot more work to be done this year and we have barely scratched the surface of the 2010 season. This weekend will be another challenge for the club and it starts with tomorrow's workout.
CAVE DRAWINGS: There is a lot to do in the next day and a half in preparation for the 2010 home opener but at some point I will have a recap of the trip along with a photo gallery courtesy of Mrs. Kloss.
If there was ever a day to have a game start at 9:30 am, today was the day. About the time we were wrapping up our second-straight 10-1 victory, the rain started to fall. In fact, it is still raining. There will no doubt be a host of games canceled this afternoon. Nevertheless, we were able to play and play well.
Nate Arenson went 7.0 strong innings to pick up his second win of the season, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out six and walking only two. It was a similar performance to Tyler Herman's outing in game two of the Luther double-header. Arenson was good, the defense played well, even after one of the worst pre-game infield/outfield sessions I have ever seen, and the offense seems to be starting to click.
Matt Abraham had another three-hit performance, his second in as many games, giving him eight hits on the trip. Nick Robinson added three hits and Dan Scott scored a trio of runs. The top of the order of Robinson, Scott, and Abraham went a combined 7-for-13 with six runs scored and three driven in.
With the rain still coming down, the rest of the day will be spent in the hotel room until a team dinner later tonight. The Cards will take on D'Youville, NY tomorrow in a double-header. Check out http://twitter.com/thecoachscave for updates during the day.
We should sleep well tonight. Spending six hours out in the sun can take it out of you. So can grinding it out on the diamond for 14 innings. It was a beautiful day at Chain O'Lakes Park in Winter Haven, FL, but it didn't start out that way.
We fell behind 2-0 after the first and it took awhile for our offense to get going. Six innings later to be exact. Sure we had some scoring opportunities but we couldn't seem to string any hits together until it was too late. Mike Kloss pitched well enough to win, but made a few mistakes that cost him. We talk about it all the time but when pitchers fall behind in the count, they're going to get hurt. It didn't happen much, but when it did, the Luther hitters took advantage. We trailed 3-0, when we pushed a pair of runs across in the sixth and started a rally in the seventh but it ended with the tying and go-ahead run on base.
Being delt our first loss of the young season, we had a chance to see how we would respond as a team. What would transpire could be a good sign for the remainder of the year. It took about as long for the offense to get going as it did for Tyler Herman to retire the side in the first. Herman was great, for the most part he was ahead of the hitters and he did a nice job keeping the Luther hitters off balance. The offense was led by Matt Abraham and Brennan Hagensee, which was reminiscent of last season.
It wasn't the ideal outcome heading into the day, but we'll take the split and move on to tomorrow's game against Knox. Keep updated with http://twitter.com/thecoachscave.
We've been at the hotel for about three hours now with some time to relax after about 22 hours on the road. I'm busy crossing off some of my bracket teams after a few upsets in early action and a few upsets that didn't pan out as the second set of games get underway. Overall the trip wasn't bad. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 EST. The coaches are getting some plans together for tomorrow's practice at Lake Gibson High School, which is right down the road from the hotel.
We have been very fortunate so far this season with our ability to practice outside. We have played only two games but have practiced outside close to a dozen times including our first practice at The Zimm yesterday before leaving campus. It wasn't the reason we swept Franklin but it definitely played a role. I think getting on a grass field for the second time tomorrow will no doubt help us this week.
Quick review of the movies from the trip: 1. Dumb and Dumber: Haven't watched this movie (not on TBS) in years. So many classic quotes throughout the movie...virtually every other line. Set the tone for an quasi-old school list of movies for the night. 2. Slap Shot: An even older-school selection but still a classic. I can't remember the last time I've watched this movie from start to finish. It has been playing a lot on the VS. channel and I usually catch it in the middle. 3. Bravehart/Coach Carter: These movies get grouped together because I fell asleep and saw a combined five minutes of both movies. 4. Ace Ventura: Another Jim Carrey flick, not as good as our first choice but still solid. Though it may have been staring Andrew Wulbecker. On numerous occasions you can hear Wulbs quoting lines from this movie around the batting cage and this was no different. To be fair, it was hard to pick out any particular player with the number who were quoting the movie.
Overall, some very solid movie choices. I was just happy we didn't watch any Will Ferrell movies. Lukily the ball fields are close enough to the field where we won't need to be entertained for the entire week.
It feels like last season when we opened the season against Franklin but we're roughly eight hours away from loading up the bus and heading to Florida. Today is a full day starting with the culmination of final exams. We haven't had a full team workout since Saturday because of finals, the past two days have been mostly open hitting sessions between exams. But today will be a full team workout right before we load the bus. It will be roughly 24 hours before we arrive in Lakeland, FL so we will have some time to kill on the bus. Once we arrive, I will have a review of the movie choices during the trip. And during the week I will have some takes on what has transpired during the games and practices.
Also, stay tuned for some different takes on the week. I will try to get some player's perspectives on how things are going along with some video. I am also experimenting with this twitter thing so if there is not enough time to write a full post, check out http://twitter.com/thecoachscave for updates. The latest Dugout Club Newsletter is available on the NCC baseball website, but it can also be viewed here. Don't forget to check out the 2010 Media Guide. We'll see you in the Sunshine State!
We are faced with challenges everyday. Whether they are big or small, there is always something on our plate that we must overcome. Life on the baseball field is no different. The 2010 Cardinals came into this season with a lot of questions that needed to be answered. Can we win close ballgames? Will our pitching improve? Does this team have what it takes to compete with the CCIW's best? The answers to the first two were an astounding "Yes" after this weekend's season opener against Franklin College. The third will remain to be seen.
In 2009, we were faced with several opportunities to win close ballgames. And most of the time, we ended up on the short end. Granted it has only been two games, but we have overcome one of our challenges that we could not from a year ago..twice...against a very good Franklin team that won 30 games last year. But this is not last year. Not for them, not for us. Most importantly not for us.
After taking this first step in the young season, our next challenge is being able to handle success. We did not experience much of that last year, so we are in somewhat uncharted waters. Many of our players have come from winning programs, but we have not won together, so this is new to us as North Central Cardinals. The questions that will need to be answered over the next few weeks, and more importantly, the next few days will be: Can we handle winning? Will our approach be the same after a 2-0 start as it was during the five weeks of morning practice when we were 0-0? Can we handle a ten day layoff between games? Can we still focus at practice even with the end of the term and final exams coming up? All questions that will need to be answered. Discipline is a daily decision. If we keep that in mind, it will go a long way in answering those questions.
Special Thanks: On behalf of the Cardinal coaching staff, I would like to send out a special thanks to the Kloss family for sponsoring our between game meal. There was a lot going on in the baseball office once the weekend plans were changed and the between game meal fell to the bottom of the priority list...at least until we secured hotel rooms and a charter bus. But just like yesterday's sweep, it was a total team effort and everyone did their part...especially the parents.
We are nearing twelve hours to Opening Day 2010 and the suspense is killing me. Coach Bogan and I are going stir crazy in the hotel room just waiting for the morning to come. The bus ride was fairly painless and we arrive in The Buckeye State about 6:30 pm EST where we stopped for a team meal. There has been some fun but this is a business trip and the team is treating as such.
We are trying to keep occupied in the room by looking over our notes and scouting reports. I have taped and re-taped my fungo just waiting for the time to pass. With all of our morning workouts my body clock sets its own alarm and that is usually around 4:15 am. So when that happens tomorrow I'll have some more time to kill and unfortunately, this hotel does not have a fitness center so that rules out a morning workout.
So it's official. We have been postponed for the first day of Opening Weekend 2010 due to poor field conditions in Indiana. But have no fear, we will still be able to get in two games on Sunday (starting a 12:00 pm EST). The only difference is we will be playing in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday. We're still playing Franklin College but we'll just add an extra hour or so to the drive time as we head into The Buckeye State. So the Cardinals will still debut the news lids, and quite possibly the new jerseys this weekend. Stay tuned to www.northcentralcardinals.com/baseball for scores from the double header.