Thursday, July 14, 2011

While You Were Out...

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their summer! It has definitely been busy for the Storm baseball staff. Coaches are busy on the road trying to find the next crop of players to dawn the green and white, players are honing their skills with games in wood bat leagues across the country, while the incoming freshman are preparing for a new chapter in their lives.

Yes, it's been awhile since the last post. If memory serves correctly, it was at some point in the middle of the season. This is not characteristic because I've always tried to take the same approach to the daily grind whether the team is winning or losing, which includes updating Storm fans (and baseball fans in general) on the latest news and notes.

A coach I once worked with a few years ago, once addressed our hitters with these words of wisdom, "If you're going to be man enough to carry it up, you'd better be man enough to carry it back." These words have always stuck with me. That being said, there were other items during the playoff chase that bumped the blog from the priority list. So, in efforts to catch the Cave Dwellers up on Lake Erie baseball, here is a short recap on the year that was in the heart of Painesville, Ohio.

Season Highlights:
  • Program's first GLIAC win versus Hillsdale, 6-1. [Box Score/Recap]
  • Set program mark for wins in a season (21).
  • Junior/shortstop Ryan Rua was selected in the 17th round of the MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. [Full Story] Follow Ryan's journey through the minor leagues here and check out his twitter feed here.
  • Senior/outfielder Brandon James joined Rua as a 1st Team All-GLIAC performer. Junior/outfielder Matt Toth was selected as 2nd Team All-GLIAC and sophomore pitcher Doug Fox and junior/1st baseman Jae Leeworthy received Honorable Mention. [Full Story]
  • The accolades pile up for Rua and James, as they also earned All-Region honors. [Full Story]
  • Matt Toth won the program's first ever Gold Glove Award. [Full Story]
  • The Storm offense finished 2nd in hitting (.313), slugging (.422) and home runs (23) and led the GLIAC in stolen bases (75).
  • Brandon James walks-off against Ashland in the bottom of the 9th. [YouTube]
It was certainly a roller coaster season. The year started with a 3-game skid, followed by an 8-run comeback to get the first win of the year. There were ups and downs which featured a 5-game and a pair of 4-game winning streaks but also saw a pair of 5-game skids, and a season-ending slump that saw the Storm drop eight of their last ten to fall out of playoff contention.

All in all it was a great learning experience. We were reminded of what it's like to go through the grind of a conference season and how there is never a day off when it comes to conference play. We did fail reaching our goal of postseason play, but Truman Capote once said, "Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." If that is the case, next spring's barbecue should be plenty tasty.

Stay tuned for mini-updates throughout the remainder of the summer. Check out The Cave's twitter feed (@thecoachscave) for updates all year long. For more on the Storm (and other Lake Erie athletic programs, visit www.lakeeriestorm.com. RAGE ON!