Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Movin' on Up

Wednesday featured some impromptu SFL baseball. Originally it was scheduled for a practice but with rain in the forecast for the weekend, it was an opportunity to take advantage of the weather so the games from Friday were moved up to Wednesday. In the first game, Green had the first shot to slow down the Gray attack. For most of the game, they were succeeding. The action started in the top of the first when Nick Lovick drove home Garrett Emling and Matt Vanni after a no-doubter to left. It was Lovick's first home run of the fall. Gray answered with two in the second after a Josh Crout RBI-double. It remained 3-2 until the fifth when Gray brought home the tying run. The Gray team hasn't lost a game since game four of the opening weekend. It was also the third-straight SFL game to end in a tie.

After the tie, the Black Team would have the opportunity to end Gray's string of defeat-less games. The Black Team used a three-run fourth to snap Gray's five-game winning streak and pull within a half-game of second place. Consecutive RBI singles by Jae Leeworthy, Matt Toth and Pat Kilway extended the Black lead to 4-1. Gray made an attempt at their second-straight comeback with a run in the fourth on Josh Crout's second RBI-double of the day.

With rain in the forecast, Sunday's games have been moved up to Friday and Sunday will feature a split-squad game preceded by a short practice. "Family Day" is set for Saturday, October 9th. Festivities will begin at 10:30 am during the SFL 3rd Place game of the SFL and will continue through the SFL Championship Game at approximately 12:30 pm. Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the game.

Wednesday, 9/29
Game 13: Gray 3, Green 3
Game 14: Black 4, Gray 2 (W: Sinko 1-0, L: Birch 1-2, S: Shaw 1)

Friday, 10/1
Game 15: Green v. Black, 3pm
Game 16: Gray v. Green, 4:30pm

Standings W L T .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 7 2 1 .778 - 30 47
Green 2 4 3 .333 3.5 38 30
Black 2 5 2 .222 4.0 35 24

Monday, September 27, 2010

School Ties

Sunday's SFL action left a lot to be desired. No, not in the play, which was much improved from the previous two days, but the results. After a very speedy outcome in the first game, an outcome for game two was left in limbo. The game would end in a 5-5 tie when Ryan Anstaett (2-for-3, 3 RBI) and the Green Team watched as their 4-run lead slip away. Trailing 5-1 after 3 1/2 innings, the Black Team scored four unanswered runs with the final two coming in the final inning thanks to RBI singles by Matt Toth and Cody Blood. Black had the winning run on third base but Green held off their best effort and maintained their hold on second place.

After the Black Team escaped defeat in the sixth, they had a chance to grab victory and close in on second place by scoring a run to pick up a win from the suspended Game 8 from last weekend. Black had loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth but Garret Emling pitched out of the jam to preserve a 7-7 tie.

Aside form the overall dominance thus far of the Gray Team, the story of game one was the red-hot bat of Kyle Kemp. In the top of the first, Kemp belted his third round-tripper of the fall over the left-centerfield wall. Kemp would walk and score an insurance run in the third en route to the Gray Team's seventh win of the fall, in a 3-1 decision.

The SFL heads into its final weekend of the regular season with games resuming on Friday. The Storm baseball team has announced Saturday, October 9th will be "Family Day." Festivities will begin at 10:30 am during the SFL 3rd Place game of the SFL and will continue through the SFL Championship Game at approximately 12:30 pm. Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the game.

Sunday, 9/26
Game 11: Gray 3, Black 1
Game 12: Black 5, Green 5
Game 8 (Resumed from 9/17): Black 7, Green 7

Friday, 10/1
Game 13: Green v. Gray, 3pm
Game 14: Gray v. Black, 4:30pm

Sunday, 10/3
Game 15: Green v. Black, 9am
Game 16: Gray v. Green, 11am

Standings W L T .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 7 1 0 .875 - 23 42
Green 2 4 2 .333 4.0 35 27
Black 1 5 2 .167 5.0 33 20

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Downright Offensive

Easily the highest offensive output of the fall, the Gray Team extended their lead in the SFL standings with a pair of wins Saturday morning. They now sit at 6-1 and hold a three game lead over the Green team. The first game of the day featured 18 total runs, with Gray scoring a dozen themselves, doubling up Green 12-6. Green jumped out to a 2-0 lead after a half-inning, but Gray answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles by Ryan Rua and Kyle Kemp. Gray was nursing a 5-4 lead when they put up a four-spot in the fourth thanks to RBI hits by Mike Fabri and Zach Mosbarger. Jae Leewothy provided some offense for Green, knocking his second home run of the fall in the fifth, but it wasn't enough to spark a comeback. The Ump Cam, Chris Mason, picked up the win in relief.

In game two, the Gray team used the long ball as their weapon of choice. Kyle Kemp's bat was still scorching when he belted a go-ahead two-run home run in the third and Josh Crout added some insurance when he blasted a two-run shot of his own to dead center field. There was cause for concern with the number of errors committed throughout the day and the slow pace of play. Hopefully the weekend finale will see improvement in both categories.

The Storm baseball team has announced Saturday, October 9th will be "Family Day." Festivities will begin at 10:30 am during the SFL 3rd Place game of the SFL and will continue through the SFL Championship Game at approximately 12:30 pm. Stay tuned to for updates from the field for recaps after the game.

Saturday, 9/25
Game 9: Gray 12, Green 6 (W: Mason 1-0, L: Minnich 0-3)
Game 10: Gray 6, Black 4 (W: Nordquist 2-0, L: Ingalls 0-1)

Sunday, 9/26
Game 11: Black v. Gray, 9am
Game 12: Black v. Green, 11am

Standings W L .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 6 1 .857 - 22 39
Green 2 4 .333 3.0 30 22
Black 1 4 .200 3.5 25 14

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome to Ump Cam

During the second game of today's SFL action, there was a little experiment being conducted and I think the results were conclusive...we want to see more of Ump Cam! Junior pitcher Chris Mason threw in the first game of the day and was scheduled to call the balls and strikes for game two. He geared up and got behind home plate and was armed with a digital camera. Here is the trial run of Ump Cam which took place between innings. Check out the rest of the videos from Ump Cam at The Cave's YouTube page at

Running Away?

Two weekends of the SFL are now complete...almost. Today's SFL action ended with the Black and Green teams in a 7-7 tie after five innings of play in the second of two SFL games. The Green Team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after two innings but the Black Team rallied with seven unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings. Pat Kilway led the attack with a pair of hits and drove in four. Mike Morgan, Bobby Seda and Cody Blood each scored a pair of runs during the two-inning span. The Green Team put their own rally together in the fifth to plate three when four of the first five hitters recorded base hits. The game was officially suspended and the teams will resume play next weekend.

In the opening game, the Gray Team showed why they are sitting in first place and have no interest in letting up by scoring in each of the first three innings. Zach Mosbarger led off the game with a triple and later scored on a Ryan Rua sac fly. Rua has now driven in a run in each of Gray's five games. Gray loaded the bases in the second and Johnny Christani singled in a pair and Rua added his second sac fly of the game to extend the lead to 4-0. Christani came through again the very next inning with another bases loaded single which plated two. The Green Team started a late rally but only managed a pair of runs when Nick Lovick doubled in Jae Leeworthy. Lovick would score on a Ryan Anstaett ground out. Brandon Grunda recorded his first win of the fall throwing an inning of scoreless baseball.

The team will have practice Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before resuming SFL action on Saturday. Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the game.

Sunday, 9/19
Game 7: Gray 6, Green 2 (W: Grunda 1-0, L: Minnich 0-2)
Game 8: Green 7, Black 7 (Suspended in 5th)

Saturday, 9/25
Game 9: Gray v. Green, 9am
Game 10: Gray v. Black, 11am

Sunday, 9/26
Game 11: Black v. Gray, 9am
Game 12: Black v. Green, 11am

Standings W L .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 4 1 .800 - 12 21
Green 2 3 .400 2.0 18 16
Black 1 3 .250 2.5 19 10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Black, Black Satruday

Only four games into the 2010 Storm Fall League, each outcome can completely change the landscape of the standings. The Black Team came into play sitting a half game out of first place, but a pair of losses on Saturday, sent them spiraling towards the basement.

In the first game of the day, the Green Team made their push to get out of the cellar, led by the corner combo of Jae Leeworthy and Ryan Anstaett. In the fourth inning, Leeworthy broke a 2-2 tie with a 2-run shot to right field, his first of the fall. Two innings later, Anstaett broke the game open with a bases loaded single which plated a pair. Adam Beach worked two innings to get the win, stranding a key runner on third in the fifth, maintaining a 2-run lead. The Black Team threatened in the sixth, but Chris Mason induced a game-ending double play to close out the 7-2 victory for the Green Team's second win of the fall.

The Black Team's troubles continued in the nightcap, trailing 1-0 after a half inning, back-to-back hits with runners in scoring position by Cody Blood and Bobby Seda gave Black a 2-1 lead. The lead was short-lived when Mike Fabri led off the second with a solo shot to center. After back-to-back walks, Kyle Kemp deposited a fastball over the left field scoreboard for his first round-tripper of the fall, giving the Gray Team a 5-2 lead in which they would not relinquish. Gray would add one in the fourth and a pair in the sixth for an 8-4 win to extend their lead in the standings. Tim Birch worked a scoreless inning to even his record at 1-1.

The SFL will resume play on Sunday with a pair of games beginning at 9 am (weather permitting). Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the game.

Saturday, 9/18
Game 5: Green 7, Black 2 (W: Beach 1-0, L: Dempsey 0-1)
Game 6: Gray 8, Black 4 (W: Birch 1-1, L: Minnich 0-1)

Sunday, 9/19
Game 7: Green v. Gray, 9am
Game 8: Green v. Black, 11am

Standings W L .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 3 1 .750 - 10 15
Green 2 2 .500 1.0 12 14
Black 1 3 .250 2.0 19 10

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Going Camping

We will be hosting a Fall Prospect Camp on Saturday, October 16 from 12-5pm. The camp is open to all high school baseball players in grades 9-12 interested in playing at the collegiate level. While the Lake Erie baseball practice facility is receiving a face lift, we will hold the camp at Mentor High School. For more information, visit the Lake Erie baseball website or contact the baseball office at (440) 375-7484. Hopefully there will be a PDF posted shortly.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Wrap

The first weekend of the Storm Fall League is in the books and one things is apparent, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters. The Storm pitchers are holding the hitters to a .264 average (37-for-140) with 18 runs allowed thru four games. Contributing to the cause was the Gray Team trio of sophomore Logan Nordquist, freshman Josh Porter, and junior Ryan Rua. In Sunday's first game, these three pitchers combined for a one-hit shutout of the Black Team. Nordquist picked up the win after posting a line of 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 K, 0 BB and induced three ground ball putout. Porter came in relief and also went six up and six down giving his defense some work with four ground ball outs. Rua allowed the only two Black Team base runners allowing a hit to freshman AJ Gobar and a walk to junior Matt Toth but induced a key double play and added a strikeout to earn his first save of the fall. On offense, Rua drove in the only run when he hit a sac fly in the first to score Zach Mosbarger who led the game off with a single.

The Green team got off the schnide with a 5-2 win in the nightcap. Junior Jae Leeworthy paced the Green offense with a 2-for-3 day and a run scored. Green got a run in the first but Gray tied the game on Ryan Rua's second home run of the fall. Green answered with a 4-run third inning thanks to some defensive miscues which sandwiched base hits by Leeworthy and junior Matt Vanni. Freshman Mike Oley bounced back on the mound after suffering a loss in game two on Friday by striking out the side in the fifth to earn his first dave of the fall.

The team will practice Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before resuming the SFL next Saturday. Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the game.

Sunday, 9/12
Game 3: Gray 1, Black 0 (W: Nordquist 1-0, L: Shaw 0-1, S: Rua 1)
Game 4: Green 5, Gray 2 (W: Raley 1-0, L: Birch 0-1, S: Oley 1)

Saturday, 9/18
Game 5: Black v. Green, 9am
Game 6: Black v. Gray, 11am

Sunday, 9/19
Game 7: Green v. Black, 9am
Game 8: Green v. Gray, 11am

Standings W L .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 2 1 .667 - 6 7
Black 1 1 .500 0.5 2 4
Green 1 2 .333 1.0 10 7

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Pitch of SFL

Here's a short clip some of the first pitch of the 2010 SFL from junior Michael Backes to sophomore Zach Mosbarger. Missed high for ball one...and we are underway.

Friday Night Smackdown

It was not a great day to be the defending champs of the Storm Fall League. The Green Team opened the 2010 SFL with a pair of losses Friday night as they began their title defense. In the opener, the pitching was the story early on as the champs and the Gray Team managed only four hits total thru the first three innings. It was in the fourth inning that the goose eggs were cracked when Gray Team junior Ryan Rua broke the game open. After two quick outs in the inning, sophomore Zach Mosbarger sandwiched a single between a pair of walks which helped load the bases, and Rua cleared them with a grand slam over the left field fence to give the Gray Team a 4-0 lead. The champs showed signs of a late rally but that fizzled falling in their opener 4-1. Freshman pitcher Cameron Sheehan picked up the win in relief. Both Rua and Mosbarger finished the game with two hits apiece.

Game two was much like the opener as the pitching was dominant in the outset and it wasn't until the 5th inning until any runs were scored. The Black Team broke a scoreless tie in the 5th when junior infielder Mike Morgan led off with a double to right. After a sac bunt by sophomore Cody Blood advanced Morgan to third, freshman Bobby Seda brought him in with a sac fly to deep center. The Black Team would add three more runs in the inning when they recorded four straight hits, capped by a RBI-triple by junior Matt Toth. The Green Team would again rally late but fall 4-1 and drop to 0-2 in the SFL. Freshman Jeff Throckmorton picked up the win in relief.

SFL action will resume on Sunday when Gray and Black square off at 9am in the first of two games on the day. Stay tuned to for updates from the field and for recaps after the games.

Friday, 9/10
Game 1: Gray 4, Green 1 (W: Sheehan 1-0, L: Fox 0-1)
Game 2: Black 4, Green 1 (W: Throckmorton 1-0, L: Oley 0-1)

Sunday, 9/12
Game 3: Gray v. Black, 9am
Game 4: Gray v. Green, 11am

Standings W L .PCT GB RA RS
Gray 1 0 1.000 - 1 4
Black 1 0 1.000 - 1 4
Green 0 2 .000 1.5 8 2

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are You Ready for Some...Fall Ball?

Sure the NFL season kicks off tonight and all of America will be focused on New Orleans. But for me, it's hard not to be thinking about the SFL. Practice thus far have been going great and the team has been busting it so today's off day has given the team (myself included) time to rest and reflect, and to build up anticipation for the 2010 Storm Fall League, which begins play on tomorrow (Friday, 9/10/10).

The third year of the SFL will begin with the 2009 Champion Green Team facing off against both the Gray and Black teams. First pitch is scheduled to start around 2:30 pm at Mentor High School. The league will run through the second week in October (SFL Finals, 10/9/10). Games are open to the public and all fans are welcome to attend. For recaps, scores, and standings from SFL action, stay tuned to the blog as well as The Cave's twitter feed at for updates throughout the fall.

Rosters will be available at the field but may also be viewed below. The full schedule will be posted tomorrow. It should be a fun fall...see you at the park!

GREEN TEAM (2009 Champions)
Pitchers: Michael Backes, Adam Beach, Tim Dempsey, Doug Fox, Tyler Minnich, Mike Oley, Brad Raley, Matt Vanni*
Catchers: Nick Lovick
Infielders: Ryan Anstaett, Jae Leeworthy, Dillon VanDyne, Matt Vanni*
Outfielders: Garrett Emling, Josiah Ring

Pitchers: Cameron Castro, JD Ingalls, Brian Kilway, Zack Justice, Mike Morgan*, Pat Sinko, Jimmie Shaw, Jeff Throckmorton, Ricky Volante
Catchers: AJ Gobar*, Pat Kilway*
Infielders: Cody Blood, Pat Kilway*, Mike Morgan*, Justin Rebhun, Bobby Seda*
Outfielders: AJ Gobar*, Bobby Seda*, Matt Toth

GRAY TEAM (2008 Champions)
Pitchers: Tim Birch, Brandon Grunda, Chris Mason, Logan Nordquist, Josh Porter, Ryan Rua*, Cameron Sheehan, DJ Stastny, Glenn Stewart
Catchers: Johnny Christani, Mike Fabri*
Infielders: Josh Crout, Kyle Kemp*, Reid Rizzo, Ryan Rua*
Outfielders: Mike Fabri*, Kyle Kemp*, Zach Mosbarger

*Plays multiple positions

Monday, September 6, 2010

And with the First Pick...

One thing about going to a new program is finding out about ongoing traditions and rituals that exist and how they compare to what you've seen in the past. The 2010 Storm Fall League Draft was held last night after practice and there was a lot of extra buzz about these intersquad games. What makes these games unique is the team rosters stay the same from year to year instead of just resetting the rosters. There will always be bragging rights involved but the SFL carries over each year and there is a little more intensity and competitiveness with each game.

This is something new to me because there seemed to be so much turnover in player personnel this would be a difficult format to maintain. But the players have embraced the idea and added an extra element in the fall and with the first game of the year still six months away, it always helps to make the fall more competitive.

Stay tuned throughout the fall for SFL scores, standings and other updates.

Cave Notes
Congratulations to former North Central Cardinal and Cave Correspondent Justin Moriarty on being named head baseball coach at his alma mater of Fenton High School in Bensenville, IL. Good luck JMo! Read some of his past posts here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

High Fives to Better Judgement

Whenever baseball coaches factor in the weather in any decision regarding games, practices, workouts, etc., they (we) begin to worry a little extra...and for no real good reason. Sure there is always the threat rain could pop into the picture and postpone or cancel practice, or sometimes just make it miserable to work through. But that is just part of the life we have chosen. Today we were faced with the decision on whether or not to cancel practice, and the percentages were not in our favor. Practice had already been pushed back three hours to give the field a chance to dry from the overnight rain, and at the time of the executive decision, it wasn't raining. The skies did not look promising and there was no doubt it would was just a matter of when. Luckily we decided to "Stay The Course" for a second straight day and it worked out for the best. Pitchers threw bullpens on schedule and we are all set for the showcase day tomorrow preceding the Storm Fall League draft later on Sunday night. The weather was going to do what it did regardless of our decision so we were damned if we did and damned if we didn't. So we figured we would rather be damned by doing and it was the best decision of the far.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Today was a long day, which for me started when my phone alarm went off at 3:45 am (the battery was fine so I did get up, sorry Jim Furyk) for a 6am lift. Getting up that early for the 45-minute drive didn't bother me because today was the first day of fall practice. The weather forecast didn't look promising but why would it? It hasn't rained for two weeks so naturally it would for the fall opener. Surprisingly, the rain stopped and the field was able to take some water so practice went off pretty much without a hitch.

There were a lot of good things that happened today but frankly, I am too tired to remember everything, or at least too tired to write everything down. I'm sure I'll have a post later in the week to recap the first week of practice. But it's about time to hit the sack before another early morning wake-up call. Until next time...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A New Beginning

It's been awhile since I've posted. In fact, the last time I was still in Chicago. The location has since changed but the subject has not. I recently took a coaching job at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. This, of course, means I must close the chapter at North Central, which started only two years ago. Making sure I sound like an old man, the past two years have flown by and it seems like only yesterday I packed up and moved from Alliance to Naperville. But that was two years ago and now I'm ready to get going at Lake Erie. I leave a lot of great friends in the Windy City, where I will try to visit any time I can (Chi-town is one of my favorite cities ever) and take with me with a lot of great memories but am excited to begin new relationships and create new memories.

So The Cave will still revolve around baseball and coaching and I invite everyone to stay tuned. I will still try to provide insight into the world of college baseball and get a glimpse into life outside the lines. I wish everyone at North Central the best of luck and I have no doubts that the program is back and here to stay. Stay tuned and enjoy!