Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cave Drawings

This month marked the fifth year of The Coach's Cave's existence and I thought it warranted a look back. This is more than just a retrospective, rather, it is more of a tribute to those who have helped me over the past five years.

The blog was created back in December of 2007 when I was in my fourth and final year coaching at Mount Union College (that's Mount Union College, not University). After the 2008 season, the original posts were scrapped and the blog was rebooted the following fall when I started coaching at North Central College. The blog has has seen a few minor alterations in color and content, there is now a YouTube channel, and the blog is now featured in The News-Herald's Media Lab (thanks to Cheryl Sadler), as well as the Lake Erie athletic site (thanks to Jason Tirotta). But the one area that has seen the most change has been the logo.

The Evolution of the Logo
It's not much of an evolution, really. It hasn't been around for too long and hasn't really undergone too many alterations (a color change in 2010) but has been used in different forms. The logo was designed by one of my former players, Jimmy Habecker, who is now an assistant coach at Finger Lakes Community College in New York. I coached Jimmy from 2004-08 at Mount Union, where he helped with various off-the-field projects, among other things but it wasn't until after we both left Mount when the logo was conceived. The logo received some outside interest in 2011, where an anonymous emailer inquired as to the availability of the logo. As you can see, there are a few different versions, which all serve a purpose in some capacity.

                                    2008-10                                                               2010-11

             2011-Current (Primary)                                 2011-Current (Lake Erie website)

2012 T-Shirt Design

I want to send out a special thanks to Jimmy, Cheryl, Jason, and all those who have helped me along the way. Here's to five more years!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Tweeting Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...except maybe a few birds tweeting away on their smart phones and ipads. But before we turn off our ringers for one silent night, a few members of the Storm baseball team would like send out some holiday wishes.

I hope everyone is having a joyous holiday season, spending time with friends and family. The Storm baseball team would like to send our very best wishes to you and yours...Happy Holidays!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Opening Presents Early

Merry Christmas to Lake Erie baseball players and their families. Here is an early Christmas present from The Rattlesnake, Heath Kelley. Enjoy this one!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Not Another Top Ten List

Because we are nearing the end of the year...and possibly the end of the world (if the Mayans are correct), every magazine, website, blog has put together some kind of top ten list to wrap-up the year. I did something similar last year, but I refuse to do that again. Actually, instead of a top whatever list, I am taking a different approach this year by taking a month-by-month look at 2012. So in cased you missed it, this was 2012.


20: Close.

24: After slow start to season, Storm opens conference play with a win over #10 Grand Valley State. 
25: Storm sweeps day two of conference opener to take 3-of-4 from #10 Grand Valley State.

1: Storm jumps out to 7-1 record in conference play after four-game sweep of Hillsdale.
6-7: Storm splits double-headers on both Day 1 and Day 2 at Tiffin in four, one-run games.
11: Storm regains possession of 1st place after comeback win on the road.
22: Day 2 sweep of Northwood ties single-season wins record...

2: Storm clinches first postseason berth as Division II program.
8: Storm land seven players on All-GLIAC team.
9: Late-inning comeback seals deal on first postseason win on the most exciting moment of the season!
17: Brayan Cacique made Daktronics All-Region team.
22: Brian Kilway joins Cacique on ABCA All-Region team.




14: Fall Ball begins.

24: Green team wins SFL Cup in 14th inning.


10: Reid Rizzo Bike-A-Thon Highlights.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Gearing Up for Charity: Part 2

The 24-Hour Bike-A-Thon is nothing new to the campus of Lake Erie College but this year, all proceeds from the event went directly to the Reid Rizzo Foundation. The event raised over $400 for the Foundation. We would like to send out a special thanks to Mary Walter, Student Government President, and the others who set up and worked the event, those who rode, and those who donated. Everyone's contribution was much appreciated. PRESS ON!

There were over 70 riders for the event and in addition to the baseball team, we would like to thank and recognize the following riders:

Gary Carr, JD Dorn, Louis Eron, Grace Ferut, Brian Gelter, Rich Graves, Kevin Hoogenboom, Kyle Humphrey, Michaela Isbell, Leah Jones, Richard Keay, Captain Richard Klein, Kim Mariotti, Megan McKenna, Ben Miller, Erin Nunn, Jordyn Parrigan, Venessa Patfield, Mike Prince, Deb Remington, Mike Robare, Jay Schiffbauer, Michaela Schock, Erin Stanforth, Sarah Stroope, Brittany Swansboro, Tyler Tesny, Jason Vitek, Rob Walton, Casey Wendall, Megan Wessels, Stacy Woodford

Friday, November 30, 2012

This is StormCenter

Zach Mosbarger and Garrett Emling put the finishing touches on the 24-Hour Bike-A-Thon presented by the Lake Erie Student Government (special thanks to Mary Walter and Billie Dunn) on Thursday. The event raised over $400 in student donations for the Reid Rizzo Foundation. Thanks to all those who showed their support!

Find out more about the Reid Rizzo Foundation at Stay involved on social media by visiting the Foundation's Facebook page at and on Twitter @RRF_4PRESS ON!


Check back later for the full video. Opening Day is February 22 at Southern Indiana. See the full schedule here

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gearing Up for Charity

Join the Lake Erie baseball team along with the Lake Erie Student Government for a 24-hour Bike-A-Thon starting at 10am on Thursday, November 29. The baseball team will be riding starting at 5:30pm in the Osborne Center during the men's basketball game against Ferris State. Come out and show your support. The Student Government will be taking donations throughout the event. All proceeds will benefit the Reid Rizzo Foundation.

Find out more about the Reid Rizzo Foundation at Stay involved on social media by visiting the Foundation's Facebook page at and on Twitter @RRF_4. PRESS ON!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I love infield defense. I love infield drills. I love watching great defenders work on their craft and show off their skills. I love everything about the infield, which is why I am always looking for new drills, trying to improve upon an old one, or creating my own. Here is my latest article featuring a new take on an old drill (and the old drill).

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Cabin Fever

We are two months away from the start of Spring Training, which is unfortunately indoors. Unless you live in SEC or Pac-10 country, there is a good chance you'll be inside as well. So if you're a coach looking for different ways to get through the winter, check out these indoor practice tips.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Hitting Drills As Easy As 1-2-3

The fall officially came to an end tonight after individual workouts concluded at the Osborne Center but that doesn't mean our training is over. Countless swings will be taken over the next two months before the start of Spring Training in mid-January. If you're looking for a few hitting drills to keep you busy this winter, check out my latest article here. Don't forget to check out my STACK Media archive for any drills you may have missed. Happy training!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Who's on First

We have spent a lot of time over the past three years working on speed training as it relates to base stealing. The majority of the time, the focus has been on position players. In the video below, one of those position players who is no stranger to my speed videos, Zach Mosbarger, makes another appearance. But we have a surprise visitor demonstrating some of our base running drills. Say hello to DJ Stastny, who makes his video debut. For the full article, along with past articles, check out For more videos, check out The Coach's Cave YouTube channel.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crunching the Numbers: Pitching Stats

In our continuing look at the fall season, we take a look, albeit a quick one, into the pitching stats in Crunching the Numbers

The collective staff posted a 5.16 ERA during the fall and held opposing hitters to a .282 average and had a WHIP of 1.64. This included the two scrimmages against Lakeland Community College where the staff strung together 9-straight scoreless innings. On the individual side of things, there were a few players lobbied for some increased playing time in the spring. The innings were regulated by the coaching staff but there were several individuals who made the most of their opportunities. Here is a look at the top five pitching performances of the fall.

5. Freshman Parker Devenney crossed state lines to get a taste of college baseball. The Indiana native posted a 3.52 ERA in 7.2 IP this fall. Parker issued five walks in the fall but he minimized the damage by allowing only a .172 opponent average.

4. Red-shirt sophomore Brandon Grunda added some velocity to his fastball but more importantly some movement to his secondary pitches. The change in his game showed on the mound, limiting hitters to a .171 average and a team leading 0.93 WHIP.

3. Senior Logan Nordquist is no stranger to this list. Logan posted a team low 0.96 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP. Opponents only hit .275 over 9.1 IP. Nordquist was the winning pitcher in the SFL championship game, throwing two innings in relief.

2. Junior Brian Kilway had another impressive fall where he was at times unhittable. The 6'4" right-hander posted a 1.86 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and a .250 average against in 9.2 IP. Had the Black team hung on for a SFL title game victory, Kilway was in prime position for the Cy Young Award.

1. If there was one person who benefited most from increased velocity, it was junior DJ Stastny. The extra zip on DJ's fastball allowed for his secondary pitches to dazzle. In 9.0 innings, DJ kept opposing hitters to a mere .194 average while posting an even 1.00 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP. Stastny averaged an impressive 13.0 strikeouts per nine innings, leading the team.

1. Nordquist 0.96
2. Stastny 1.00
3. Kilway 1.86
4. Beach 3.00
5. Devenney 3.52

1. Wargolet .160
2. Grunda .171
3. Devenney .172
4. Stastny .194
5. Ingalls .211

1. Grunda 0.93
2. Stastny 1.11
3. Kilway 1.14
4. Ingalls 1.25
5. Devenney 1.27

1. Stastny 13.0
2. Wargolet 12.3
3. Beach 12.0
4. Ingalls 11.5
5. Fox 10.2

1. Kilway 1.9
2. Minnich 2.3
3. Grunda 2.8
4. Nordquist 2.9
5. Fuller 3.4

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Crunching the Numbers: Hitting Stats

It has been almost two weeks since the fall ended with the Green team walking-off with an 8-7 victory in the 14th inning of the SFL Championship Game. Now that we've had time to take a breath and digest the 5-week fall season, it's time to look at how we did by Crunching the Numbers. We will start by taking a look at the offense and some of the individual performances at the dish.

The offense collectively hit .288/.365/.399 with 45 extra-base hits, including 9 home runs. As far as the team's overall productivity, they were sitting at 1.48 (meaning the average hitter touched 1 1/2 bases per at-bat). These numbers include every intersquad and SFL, and both scrimmage games against Lakeland Community College.

On the individual side, there were several breakout performances. Here's a look at the top five.

5. Sophomore Josh Hudeck (.359/.457/.410) was top five in virtually every offensive category, but Josh separated himself by the way he ran the bases. A very opportunistic base runner, Hudeck routinely put himself in scoring position with a combination of stolen bases, dirtball reads, and good anticipation. 

4. Freshman Louie Peterlin (.303/439/.576) brought home the Ryan Rua MVP Trophy (not really called that) after going 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles and 3 runs batted in during the SFL championship game. Peterlin's performance in the SFL finals just added to his fall totals where he tied for the team lead in doubles (6), extra-base hits (7), and was the leader in runs batted in (11).

3. Dylan Yankle returned for his sophomore season with something to prove. With the starting catcher job wide open after the departure of 4-year starter Nick Lovick, Yankle made his case (.425/.489/.550) by tying for the team lead in hits (17), leading outright in on-base (.489) and was second in average (.425).

2. Senior Cody Blood continued to swing the bat well after being named to the All-GLIAC team in 2012. Cody quietly put together a great fall (.405/.419/.595), and was at the top in hits (17), runs (9), doubles (6), among other categories. Add his steady defense at the hot corner, and you have a great fall season.

1. It would take a lot to surpass what Cody Blood did this fall, but if there was a performance that did, it was turned in by junior Garrett Emling. Garrett (.432/.447/.838) won the batting title by seven points hitting .432, belted four home runs, three more than any other player, and was four RBI's shy of winning the triple crown this fall. In addition to the triple crown categories, Garrett was second in hits (16), tied for the lead in runs (10), and was the most productive (2.05) with each of his at-bats.

Honorable Mention: Sean Mathews (.385/.429/.436), Pat Kilway (.345/.371/.517), Rutger Luebke (.343/.415/.371)

1. Blood 17
1. Yankle 17
3. Emling 16
4. Mathews 15
5. Hudeck 14

1. DeCamp 10
1. Emling 10
3. Blood 9
4. Mathews 8
T-5. Hudeck/Mosbarger/Yankle 7

1. Peterlin 11
2. Kilway 10
3. Emling 7
3. Hudeck 7
T-5. Blood/DeCamp/Mathews 6

1. Emling .432
2. Yankle .425
3. Blood .405
4. Mathews .385
5. Hudeck .359

1. Yankle .489
2. Hudeck .457
3. Emling .447
4. Peterlin .439
5. Mathews .429

1. Emling .838
2. Blood .595
3. Peterlin .576
4. Yankle .550
5. Kilway .517

1. Emling 2.05
2. Kilway 2.00
3. Peterlin 1.82
4. DeCamp 1.81
T-5. Hudeck/Mathews 1.74

Be sure to check back later this week when Crunching The Numbers looks at the pitching stats. RAGE ON!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

2013 Schedule Released

Believe it or not but we are a mere four months from the start of the 2013 season, and just like last year it will open on the banks of the Ohio River in Evansville, IN against the University of Southern Indiana. The Storm will square off with the Eagles in a 3-game set beginning February 22nd. The Storm's spring trip will begin March 2nd in Charleston, WV featuring a 4-game set with the University of Charleston before continuing down I-77 to the Carolinas to complete their 7-game trip. The Storm will face Limestone College (SC), Greensboro College (NC) and Pfieffer University (NC) before heading back home.

The Storm will make what is hopefully one of two trips to Chillicothe, OH when they take on Notre Dame College at Veterans Memorial Stadium March 16-17. The all-turf field will again play host to the GLIAC Tournament May 8-11.

Conference play will begin on the road on March 20 at Ohio Dominican University. Exactly one week later, the Storm will play their home opener against the very same ODU Panthers on March 27 at the KZone. The regular season wraps up May 4-5 when the Storm hosts Northwood University at Braggs Field. The playoffs will begin the following week.

Click here for the complete schedule, and stay tuned to for the latest news on Storm athletics.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm Not Brad, I'm Me. Nice to Meet You!

The fall season ended last Wednesday with the Green team taking the title with an 8-7 victory in the 14th inning. The Green team continued their success against the Black team, picking up from where they left off in mid-September when they took two of three games in the opening weekend of SFL play.
Freshman Louie Peterlin was named the offensive MVP going 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles and three driven in. Junior Brad Raley was named the pitching MVP after throwing a perfect inning in relief. Three up, three down, three strikeouts. It was Raley's first live game action since April 11, 2012 when he went on the disabled list due to a SLAP tear in his right shoulder. "My shoulder feels much stronger than it did before the surgery," said Raley. Brad spent all summer rehabbing and was able to light throwing during the fall season but didn't throw in any game situations until the SFL finals. "It felt great to get back on the mound," said rejuvenated hurler. "I was chomping at the bit all fall."
Smaller Sample Size: In the four previous years of the SFL, there have been three teams with games every weekend, compared to only two teams this season. This fall, the weather played a bigger role than ever before, cancelling several weekend contests. Another contributing factor in the lighter SFL schedule was the addition of scrimmages against Lakeland Community College, playing on consecutive weekends.
Up Next: The off-season workouts are in full swing as the semester winds to a close. The Storm will workout both as a team and in individual position groups for the next four weeks before preparing for finals week. The semester ends December 7th.
Spring Training 2013: Once students return from winter break, the team will hit the Osborne Center floor for six weeks of spring training begining January 15th before opening the season at Southern Indiana on February 22nd. The full schedule will be released later this week.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Green Machine

The fall season concluded in dramatic fashion on Wednesday in the bottom of the 14th when the Green team walked-off with a 8-7 victory to claim the 2012 SFL title. The Green team erased deficits of 2-0, 3-2 and 6-5 on Saturday, and 7-6 on Wednesday before scoring finally walking-off in the 14th. Sophomore Sean Mathews got the offense going in the final frame with a double to left which was just out of reach of the left fielder, tipping of his glove. Mathews advanced to third on a ground out and scored two batters later on a passed ball.

There were offensive stars galore for both teams. The aforementioned Mathews went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two driven in. The freshman combo of Zak DeCamp and Louie Peterlin were major contributors to the Green movement. DeCamp went 2-for-6 with a pair of runs scored, runs batted in with a double and a stolen base. There's an old adage that "it's not what you hit but when you hit," and Peterlin did both. All three of his hits either tied the score or gave his team the lead. Senior Zach Mosbarger, sophomore Dylan Yankle, and freshman Matt Avromov all had a pair of hits.

The Black team had their share of hitters as well. Sophomore Josh Hudeck led the way with four hits and two runs scored.Seniors Patrick Kilway and Cody Blood each had three hits and a run batted in, as did freshman Rutger Luebke. Kilway drove his run in by belting a solo home run in the top of the 1st. Junior Garrett Emling followed suit with a solo shot in the 2nd.

There were just as many stars on the mound for both teams. With it being a staffed game, everyone had an opportunity to pitch, and there were definitely those who took advantage. Among those for the Black team were senior Tim Birch, red-shirt sophomore Josh Porter, and freshman Parker Devenney, each of which threw a scoreless inning with at least one strikeout. Junior Brian Kilway threw three scoreless innings but was on the mound when the Green team scored the winning run.

On the side of the victors stood four pitchers who didn't allow a run. Freshman Connor Fuller went a single inning, as did junior Brad Raley, but Raley came in and stuck out three straight hitters in his first action of the fall. Junior DJ Stastny and red-shirt sophomore Brandon Grunda also had scoreless outings in two innings of work. Senior Logan Nordquist picked up the win in two innings of work where he allowed three unearned runs.

Lake Erie College is on fall break and the team will take a few days off before strength, speed, and agility workouts begin on Monday. Individual position workouts will also begin next week. The four-week workouts will wrap just before finals and the team heads home for winter break.

Stay tuned this off-season for updates on the Storm baseball team, including the MVP and Cy Young winners from the SFL championship game. The coaching staff will announce the winners on Monday.  Who is your vote for MVP and Cy Young? Let me know on Twitter @thecoachscave #SFLMVP. Thank you to all the fans who attended SFL games this fall...see you in the spring! RAGE ON!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunny with a Chance of Long Balls

Today's conclusion of the 2012 Storm Fall League Championship has been postponed until Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for approximately 4:30pm at Kiwanis Rec Park. The forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 70's. Hope to see you there! RAGE ON!

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SFL Uncaged

Green Team 6. Black Team 6. Sure play on Saturday ended in a tie but don't go kissing you're sister just yet. The SFL Championship Game will finish its play tonight at Kiwanis Rec Park at 3:30pm. The Green and Black squad have three of the 13 innings from Reid Rizzo Day (@RRF_4) left to finish and it is guaranteed to be an uncaged, drag 'em out, battle...literally. The hitting shell that was used due to the parking situation for the football game on Saturday will be sitting comfortably down the left field line, outside the field of play.

The game ended in a tie when the Green Team rallied late to push a run across just before the cover of darkness fell on Braggs Field.

            1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  -  R
Black   1  1  0  0  1  0  0  3  0  0  -  6
Green  0  0  2  0  2  0  1  0  0  1  -  6

For the Black Team, Pat Kilway (@PatrickKilway), Josh Hudeck (@jhudeck8), Rutger Luebke (@rut_lueb), and Cody Blood (@cblood17) all have three hits through the first 10 innings. Kilway started the offense with a solo shot in the 1st and Garrett Emling (@GarrettEmling) followed that in the 2nd with a solo shot of his own.

The Green Team matched the offensive output thanks to multiple hits from Zach Mosbarger (@Bossbarger), Sean Mathews (@smathews21), Zak DeCamp (@ZeekersTweeters), and Louie Peterlin (@Skip_2_My_Lou). Freshman DeCamp and Peterlin each drove in two while DeCamp also scored twice and swiped a base.

Game action will continue tonight at 3:30pm at Kiwanis Rec Park. Rain dates are scheduled for Tuesday, October 16 and Wednesdat, October 17.

I would like to send out a special thank you to friends and family, alumni and colleagues who partook in the festivities on Saturday. Your support makes a world of difference as we "Press On" through the 2012-13 year and beyond. Thank you for just being there!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Reid Rizzo Day

Family Day has been a staple among the Lake Erie fall season. This year is no different. But the 2012 version has undergone a facelift. After the passing of Storm shortstop Reid Rizzo this past June, the day has been renamed in his honor. Reid Rizzo Day was originally scheduled for Sunday, October 14 at 11am, following Homecoming events which consisted of the Lake Erie Baseball Alumni Game on Saturday at 4pm. But impending weather has forced a change in the Storm's schedule, yet again, and the Alumni Game has been rescheduled for a date in the spring while Reid Rizzo Day will now be held on Saturday, October 13 at 3pm at Kiwanis Rec Park.

The first pitch will take place while the Storm football team is still on the field taking on Malone University and will continue well after the football game ends. The game is scheduled for a 13-inning contest, the number of innings Reid played in his final game with the Storm. A ceremony is scheduled to take place during the 7th inning stretch, where the team, family and friends will release balloons to celebrate Reid's life. The balloons will be on sale through the top of the 7th inning along with Storm Baseball apparel (available the entire game). Proceeds will benefit the Reid Rizzo Foundation.
The primary goals of the Reid Rizzo Foundation will be to: (1) Provide financial assistance to those seeking to enhance their primary or secondary educational experience (2) Enhance education, awareness and research relative to medical conditions that affect the cardiovascular system & (3) Support athletic organizations wishing to enhance the support structure provided for the athletes they service.
The game itself will feature the Green and Black teams of the Storm Fall League in a winner-take-all 13-inning battle royale. The Green team holds a 2-1 SFL advantage, after a 3-game series in mid-September. The event is open to all those interested in attending and is free of charge. Donations to the Reid Rizzo Foundation will be accepted the entire day.

Schedule of Events
1:00 pm - Storm Football v. Malone University
3:00 pm - First Pitch (13-inning Game)
4:30 pm - On-Field Ceremony (During 7th Inning Stretch)
4:45 pm - Picnic
6:30 pm - Conclusion of Events

Find out more about the Reid Rizzo Foundation at Stay involved on social media by visiting the Foundation's Facebook page at and on Twitter @RRF_4.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Little X-tra

Technically, there have only been three SFL games in 2012 and the Green Team still holds a 2-1 advantage, but there hasn't been a shortage of games during the fall season. Split-squad scrimmages have been played about three days a week, leaving two days for individual and team drills. There are ten new players in the Storm program this year and the multitude of games have given them plenty of opportunities to audition for playing time this year.

One of the main stats the coaching staff concerns itself with is a player's "X-Bases" total, or better yet, his productivity number. Simply put, the "X-Bases" are the number of bases a player touches per at-bat. To find the player's productivity, we add runs batted in, sacrifice bunts, X-Bases and divide by at-bats. This gives one number and lets the staff know how much a player is contributing. A player who reaches on an error, steals a base, advances on a ball in the dirt, and scores on a ground out would actually have a higher productivity number for a single at-bat than a player who doubles in the gap to drive in a run and is later stranded on second. That doesn't make much sense in a conventional sense, but when given a sample size of 50 games instead of one at-bat, the numbers make more sense and reveal which players have done the most to put runs on the board.

Here are the statistical leaders in X-Bases and Productivity:

Runs Batted In
1. Pat Kilway, 8
1. Lou Peterlin, 8
3. Josh Hudeck, 6
4. Garrett Emling, 5
5. 3 tied at 4

1. Garrett Emling, 41
2. Sean Mathews, 35
3. Zak DeCamp, 33
4. Dylan Yankle, 32
5. Lou Peterlin, 29

1. Garrett Emling, 2.25
2. Zak DeCamp, 2.00
2. Pat Kilway, 2. 00
4. Lou Peterlin, 1.82
5. Josh Hudeck, 1.68

Lab Notes:
  • The Storm's scrimmage game at Lakeland Community College will be held as scheduled on Saturday, October 7 at 10am.
  • The 2012 Alumni Game will be held on Saturday, October 13 following the Storm football game v. Malone. Alums who plan on attending should contact the baseball office.
  • Reid Rizzo Day will be held on Sunday, October 14. More information can be found at
  • Check out my latest video and article available on
  • The Lake Erie athletic department has opened its online merchandise store. Get the latest Storm gear at
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday Surprise

After today's practice, Brad Raley (@bralez30), Jimmie Shaw (@JimmieShaw) and the rest of the Storm baseball team had a little birthday surprise in store for Garrett Emling (@GarrettEmling) and Sean Mathews (@smathews21). Now that's teamwork...Happy Birthday guys!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Foot in Both Camps

There is still time to sign-up for Lake Erie Baseball's Fall Prospect Camp being held on Saturday, September 29th from 10am-3pm at Kiwanis Park. This is a great opportunity for high school players to not only work on their craft for the upcoming season by receiving elite, college-level instruction, but also to showcase their talents in front of college coaches. To register, print out this camp flyer and return to the Lake Erie Baseball Office. For more information, go to RAGE ON!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

The first weekend of Storm Fall League action is in the books with the Green team taking two out of three from the Black team. Contrary to usual beginnings, the hitters were clearly ahead of the pitchers in the first weekend. In 140 at-bats, Lake Erie hitters racked up 47 hits (.336 AVG) with 17 extra-base hits including 4 home runs. I'll focus on the offense for today because that is the area with the most unknowns heading into the season. This says nothing about any of the players returning, but it's hard to ignore the fact that the Storm offense lost 6 of the 9 everyday starters from last year's lineup. But the Storm lost a pair of .400 hitters after the 2011 season and improved by six wins in 2012. So despite the advanced stats, baseball is not an exact science.

The Green team took the weekend series by averaging almost 7 runs per game compared to 4 per game for the Black team. There was also quite a discrepancy in other offensive categories as well. Here's a look inside the numbers.

Green Category Black
  .400     AVG     .250
  .473     OBP      .356
  .613     SLG      .383
    32        H          15
    20        R          12
     3        HR         1
    19      RBI        11
  128       XB        78

SFL Scores
Game 1: Green 8, Black 2
Game 2: Black 6, Green 4
Game 3: Green 8, Black 4

The pitching will come around but the first two days clearly belonged to the hitters. Stay tuned throughout the fall for updates on the SFL. Stay updated on Twitter with the hashtags #SFL and #SFLStats. RAGE ON!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Ready for First Pitch

After rain delayed the opening weekend of intersquad games, the Storm got a week of practice in before gearing up for the opening weekend of the Storm Fall League. The first pitch will be thrown tomorrow (Saturday, 9/15) at 9:00am at Kiwanis Rec Park. Fans are encouraged to attend all SFL games this fall. Rosters will be available on site and on Twitter starting tomorrow. Here's the latest happenings in Storm baseball.

Lab Notes:
  • Mitt Romney is holding a rally at Lake Erie College today which has cancelled the Storm's Friday practice. The team will be back on the field Saturday with SFL play.
  • SFL play begins on Saturday and the rosters are set. Check out Twitter tomorrow for lineups and rosters complete with numbers.
  • The Green team will be wearing throwback "LE" jerseys during SFL games this fall while the Black team will wear the "ERIE" tops. The returners will be sporting their uniform numbers whereas the newcomers will be wearing random numbers.
  • The Storm's Fall Prospect Camp is filling up, interested high school players can get more info with the camp flyer.
  • The Storm will be volunteering to build the new State Street Park in Painesville next Friday. The project is part of NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods Initiative in cooperation with the City of Painesville and the Western Reserve Community Development Corporation. Interested volunteers can get more information in this article.
  • Check out my latest article on base running available on
  • Here's an infield warm-up drill video that should be appearing on STACK later this month. Thanks to Sean Mathews (@smathews21), Dillon VanDyne (@DVD_VanDyne), Tyler Kmitt (@YouGottaKmitt), Josh Hudeck (@jhudeck8), Cody Blood (@cblood17), Zak DeCamp (@ZeekersTweeters) and Matt Avromov (@mavromov) for their help in the video.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump

There is only so much time to go around at practices and unfortunately, it always seemed like one of the areas that always gets neglected is outfield defense. As a former short-term college outfielder, our main responsibilities seemed to be serving as base runners for countless team defensive drills. So with that in mind, I give you one of the drill series' I came up with in my early days as a coach. This is a crow hop progression series to help improve an outfielder's footwork leading to a reduced catch to release time (the amount of time the player has the ball). When performed correctly, the crow hop can help an outfielder get more on his throw while being more accurate.

The articles appear on the STACK Media website while the video is featured on The Coach's Cave YouTube channel. Check out this, along with other videos on YouTube or on The Coach's Cave video page. Thanks to Garrett Emling (@GarrettEmling) for his work on camera and to Zach Mosbarger (@Bossbarger), Jake Ripma (@jrip20), and Rutger Luebke (@Frostee_Rutger) for their work the behind the scenes.

Crow Hop Progression Article: Part 1Part 2

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Start Your Engines

Welcome to the first edition of Lab Notes for Fall Ball 2012. Classes are in session and the students are back in full force. The official start to Fall Ball is less than a week away but the team has started their individual position work (indies or indy's) in preparation for the first official practice. Here's what happened this week with Lake Erie baseball.

Lab Notes:
  • Individual position workouts were held Thursday and Friday and will continue next week.
  • Pitchers threw a light bullpen session on Friday. They will each throw one more short pen next week to prepare for opening weekend of SFL play, which begins next Sunday at 8:30am.
  • The first official team workout will take place next Saturday morning at 8:30am.
  • Morning strength and conditioning workouts begin this Tuesday at 6:30am.
  • The Fall Prospect Camp date has been announced for Saturday, September 29 from 10am-3pm at Braggs Field at Kiwanis Rec Park. For more information, check out
  • Check out Part 1 of my latest article on the Outfield Crow Hop available on
  • Reid Rizzo Day (formerly family day) will be held on Sunday, October 14. More details to come.
  • In football news, Storm outfielder Aaron Lindgren (@lindgren_87) had a great start to the 2012 campaign with 6 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown in a 36-33 loss to Gannon.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Campers

The 2012 Fall Prospect Camp date has been set. Come out to Braggs Field at Kiwanis Rec Park on Saturday, September 29 from 10am-3pm for a day of instruction and competition. The camp has grown exponentially the past two years with a wealth of talent from Lake County attending so don't miss your chance to improve your game. Three players on the current roster have attended this camp in the past two years. For more information, visit the Lake Erie Storm website or view the camp flyer here.

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2012
Time: 10am-3pm
Grades: 9-12
Cost: $70 Pre-Registration; $80 On-Site Registration
Location: Kiwanis Recreation Park
Address: 99 Mill St., Painesville, OH 44077 (across from football stadium)

Lab Notes:
  • The Storm will hold their first team meeting of the year tonight (8/28)
  • Individual workouts will begin on Thursday (8/30)
  • The first official practice will be held on Saturday, September 8 at 8:30am.
  • Storm Fall League (SFL) games will begin on Sunday, September 9 with a double-header beginning at 8:30am.
Stay updated throughout the fall as well as during all SFL contests right here on The Coach's Cave.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Garrett Emling

Garrett Emling (@GarrettEmling) returns this fall for his junior season looking to have a breakthrough season. The outfield has always been a strength for the Storm the past three seasons with players like Matt Toth (@MattToth9), Brayan Cacique and Brandon James patrolling the wide open spaces of Kiwanis Rec Park, and this year Emling is trying to carry-on the tradition. Garrett earned more and more playing time as the season went on, starting in four of the Storm's last six games, including the postseason. Garrett's most memorable moment of the year came in the opening round of the 2012 GLIAC Playoffs after lacing a pinch-hit single to right, then scoring the game-winning run one batter later. I gave Garrett a chance to catch his breath and caught up with him to see how his summer went.

Where did you play summer ball?
This past summer I played baseball for the Stark County Terriers of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League.

Did you do anything exciting off the field this summer?
I didn't do anything too exciting over summer. I went to Chicago for a weekend and saw a Cubs game then went white water rafting in Wisconsin.

Did you keep in touch with or hang out with any teammates?
I kept in touch with some of my teammates. I hung out with a few of them here and there.

What are you looking forward to most during the upcoming season?
I am looking forward to getting back to the tournament and hopefully winning it.

What are some specific drills or parts of your game you focused on this summer?
This summer I worked on going the other way and staying up the middle while hitting. I played a lot of left field so I have a better feeling out there besides just playing center.

What are some personal goals heading into fall ball?
I can't really think of a goal for the fall season. Just to keep getting better and go the other way with the ball.

How did the end of the team's 2012 season change your approach this summer and heading into fall ball?
The end of last season didn't really effect me on the way I went into summer ball. For the fall, we just need to work harder as a team and have good practices.

With Toth and Cacique graduating, do you feel more responsibility to be more of a leader this season?
I don't feel more responsible to be a leader going into this season. I'm not a very vocal person during games so if I am leading, it's more with my performance. Everyone on our team is a leader in a different way.

Heading into your third year in the program, how has your game changed since you first arrived to LEC?
My game has mainly changed at the plate more than anything. I have to go the other way, move the runner over, and get my bunts down. Everything little thing that you could get away with in high school makes a big difference now. My attitude towards the game has changed. You want to win and see your teammates play well and win games. Winning now means a lot more than it has in the past.

Stay tuned for the next installment of How I Spent My Summer Vacation. In the meantime, stay up-to-date on Storm baseball on Twitter and the Lake Erie College official athletic website.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Passing of a Legend

The baseball world was hit with a loss this week. A loss of someone who never played in the major leagues, never had a highlight tape, doesn't hold any records, but had more impact on more baseball games than anyone could ever imagine. Harry Church, a community icon, passed away this week after a lengthy battle with cancer. Church was the groundskeeper for the baseball fields at the Conneaut Local Youth Organization (CLYO).

These fields sat less than a half-mile away from my house and is where my friends and I spent the majority of our childhood, and even then I can remember Harry always being at the fields working. He would be there in the afternoons when "pitcher's poison" and "opposite field out" were common rules and he was certainly there in the evening when the Cardinals and Red Sox battled it out for league supremacy. He made it so every game felt like a trip to Williamsport was at stake. But he also made it feel like he opened the park everyday just for us. 

Even while battling cancer, he knew he didn't have much time left, and outside his family, the upkeep of the park was what he cared about most. In Mark Todd's article in today's edition of The Star Beacon, community members illustrate his dedication to the park.
As recently as this past spring, Church  despite his illness  could be found astride a riding mower, Taylor said. 
"Harry was 150 percent dedicated to the park," he said. "I think that's what kept him going." 
Taylor was Church's neighbor, and the two spoke about the park and Church's fears about its upkeep in the years to come, he said. Church was comforted to hear the park will continue to receive good care, Taylor said. 
That was his biggest concern," he said. 
Church's devotion to the park has earned him accolades over the years. One of the fields bears his name, while the park entrance is known as "Harry Church Drive." In 1989, he was honored as Conneaut's Citizen of the Year.
For the past 50 years you were a staple in our lives, your efforts and service can never fully be quantified, and your impact on the community can never be overstated. You will certainly be missed. May you rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Know the Rules

Baseball is a game with rules...a lot of rules. The Official MLB Rule Book is 116 pages while the NCAA 2011-12 Rule Book is 146 pages. Most of the rules, players and fans alike know without knowing they know, or even knowing there's an official rule for what they know. For that, I present to you Rule 8, Section 1a of the 2011-12 NCAA Rule Book (page 90):
Base Running
Legal Order of Bases
SECTION 1. a. The runner must touch each base in legal order (first, second, third and home) and, when obliged to return while the ball is in play, must retouch the base or bases in reverse order.
A.R.—All base runners must touch their advance base.PENALTY—For failure to touch a base advancing or returning: The runner is out if touched by the ball in the hands of a fielder before returning to each untouched base. If the base missed was one to which the runner was forced, the runner is out when tagged or if the ball is held by a fielder on any base the runner failed to touch (including home plate) (see 8-6-a-[4]).
But there are many rules in which most fans, and some players are unaware. For this, we look at another base running rule, the "Force-Play-Slide-Rule (Rule 8, Section 4, page 97)." While I think it is common knowledge by now that the runner must slide directly into the base, they may slide away from the fielder as to avoid contact and not receive an obstruction call.
Force-Play-Slide Rule
SECTION 4. The intent of the force-play-slide rule is to ensure the safety of all players. This is a safety and an interference rule. Whether the defense could have completed the double play has no bearing on the applicability of this rule. This rule pertains to a force-play situation at any base, regardless of the number of outs.
a. On any force play, the runner must slide on the ground before the base and in a direct line between the two bases. It is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the base in the baseline extended (see diagram).
Exception—A runner need not slide directly into a base as long as the runner slides or runs in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder. Interference shall not be called.
With all the rules that can be referenced by these, and other governing bodies in the game of baseball, there is one set of rules that can make even the most astute player, fan or coach want to change their major...the unwritten rules. It seems like every year there are more and more pages added to the unofficial rule book, and no two people can ever seem to agree totally on which school of thought is correct. Part of that is the fun of baseball, sparking countless hours of debate. The college game, however, is not nearly affected by these "rules" to the extent of professional baseball, for the most part, coaches do a great job of teaching the game to their players, but every once in awhile, players will act out and opposing teams will feel the need to show their displeasure. But when something happens in MLB that stirs some major and sometimes minor controversy, it is important to gain some perspective. For that, there is The Baseball Codes. The book is a good read, but the website touches on current stories in the world of baseball. I have nothing to gain out of this plug except the enhancement of baseball knowledge. So take out your notebook, take some notes, and enjoy.

[Disclaimer: The Coach's Cave does not condone any vigilante justice by any player in the amateur ranks, this is merely for entertainment.]

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