Thursday, April 22, 2010

Breaking Bad...Habits

Okay, so they weren't really habits, but we haven't to this point been playing well in midweek games. Yesterday wasn't our best performance of the year either (5 errors is way, way too many), but the offense picked up the slack and we got our first mid-week home win of the year. We are now 3-2 in midweek games, 1-2 at home, but few will argue that we play our best on hump day.

A quick look at the numbers: In our three midweek home games, we have a combined 16 errors in 139 chances, which is good for a .885 fielding percentage. That's over one-third of our total errors for the season if you're scoring at home. If you add in the two other midweek games we have played (3 errors in 93 chances, .968 FLD%), we have committed 19 errors in 232 chances which is a shade under a 92% success rate (.918 FLD%). Now let's look at our numbers without the midweeks. In 21 games, we have committed only 24 errors in 702 chances (.966 FLD%). That's pretty good. In fact, that would rank us in a tie for the 22nd-best fielding percentage in the country (out of 359 teams). Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the walks and how 23 of our 93 base-on-balls have come in our three home games, but that's for another post.

At the moment, we are still fielding a respectable .954 through 26 games (43 errors in 934 chances) and over the past five years, the four teams that have advanced to the conference tournament have averaged a .952 fielding percentage (the average team has committed just under 72 errors in 1502 chances for a season). So there is no need to push the panic button because the bottom line still is our winning percentage (.808). But it is obvious that we need a different approach to our business during the midweek. The good news is we will have at least three more opportunities to work on this.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos from our weekend series with Carthage (where we committed only four errors in three games). Featured in the gallery are pics of kids from Triple Threat Mentoring who made a trip to The Zimm on Saturday (article can be found here) as well as some great action shots of our new featheredge stirrups.

Full View of Photos

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back to Business

Selective memory. That is one thing we all try to have but it is always a challenge to perfect. It is easy to forget bad things that happen throughout the course of a bad day or a bad game. But it becomes more difficult to separate the bad moments from the teachable moments. I think, based on our performance this weekend, that is what we were able to do after the Wednesday's game. That was clearly not one of our better games thus far. But there were moments for each of us where we could take a step back and say, "Yep, I could have done that better."

Conversely, after a good (and emotional) weekend, it is easy to only remember the good moments. I have been a part of games as a player and a coach where we have had comeback wins and walk-off wins, but I have never been a part of a game like the game one on Saturday. Trust me, I will remember the ending of that game for a long time. But there are still lessons to be learned from this weekend. But these lessons become a personal matter. There were things I picked up to help me as a coach as there were things that each player picked up for their own game, but that will be dependent on the individual and what they are trying to accomplish.

But for now, we have to vault those memories and filter everything out that won't help us become a better baseball team, and take from the weekend those lessons that will help us win more ballgames.

HOME SWEET HOME
Five of our next six games will be at The Zimm starting with Wednesday's non-conference game with the University of Chicago (3:00 pm). We will play a single game on Friday at Alexian Field in Schaumburg against Wheaton (4:00 pm) and then welcome the Thunder back to The Zimm for a double-header on Saturday (12:00 pm). The final two games on the homestand will both be non-conference games. First, we will host Fontbonne on Sunday (1:00 pm) and finish with Benedictine next Wednesday (3:00 pm).

COME ON BACK
This Sunday's game against Fontbonne is also "Camper Comeback Day" at The Zimm. We will welcome back campers who participated in our winter camps to spend the day at the ballpark with the players and coaches.

LOUD AND PROUD
I can't say enough about the crowds at The Zimm (this weekend and all season)! The support of the parents, students, and administration has definitely not gone unnoticed. We hope to continue to see everyone at The Zimm over the remainder of the season. Thank you fans!

Monday, April 12, 2010

TCB

I don't want to spend too much time on what happened this weekend. It was a great weekend. Let's make sure we get that out there. Anytime you can get three wins and score double figures in all three, it is a good weekend. But our attention has turned towards our game on Wednesday. After an off day today, we will have a workout Tuesday to get ready for Millikin. I'm quite certain the players understand what is going on here, what needs done, and what is at stake, so there shouldn't be a need for any motivation from the coaches this week. But there should only be one game on our minds this week, and it is Wednesday at The Zimm with the first pitch at 3:00 pm.

Shifting gears...there are brand new photos from games against North Park and Aurora. Once again thanks to Mrs. Kloss for the pics. One more item of note...the crowds have been great thus far in 2010! I don't think there's a better place to watch baseball than The Zimm and we have been blessed with great weather so far. But we would like to thank all the fans who have come out to support the 2010 Cards at home and on the road! We appreciate your continued support!

Full View of Photos

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One in the Books

It was a good end to the first CCIW series of the year. After an ugly game two against North Park on Friday night, the players collected themselves (just as they did after the Aurora game) to get things right today to earn a series win and get off to a 2-1 conference start. Junior Nate Arenson was efficient and scattered seven hits over seven innings to pick up his fourth win of the season. The bottom of the order was fantastic with hitters 6-9 combining for nine hits with senior Andrew Wulbecker stealing the show (3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI). If you add that to senior Nick Robinson's 4-for-4 day you have an 11-1 series clinching win. This entire weekend was a testament to how our guys are handling their business from the first pitch in game one on Friday to the last single by Robinson. The next test will be a weekday double-header at Millikin University on Tuesday afternoon.

As promised are some pics from the home opener last weekend against Carroll University. Once again thanks to Mrs. Kloss.

Full View of Photos

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Opportunity Knocks

For those who have been following this team this season, they know that yesterday's game was an anomaly. Not because we lost the game, teams lose in baseball. It happens. In fact, eight teams in the Top 10 have at least two losses. It was an anomaly because the team on the field yesterday was not the team that had a nine-game winning streak and got off to an 11-1 start.

But with this loss, we now have a new opportunity. We have an opportunity to reflect on what we did as a team and as individuals to get off to such a great start. We have an opportunity to prove that we are that same team in Florida and that we can compete in the CCIW. Individuals on the team have an opportunity to step-up as leaders and prove they can handle a little adversity even after it seems like nothing can go wrong. We have an opportunity to get back on track.

The beauty of baseball is there is always a game tomorrow. In our case, it is tomorrow. Conference play opens Friday with a double-header at North Park and I can't wait for the opportunity to get back on the field!