Friday, March 22, 2013

The Febreze Brothers

Conference play. It's a new beginning, a fresh start. Everything to this point is just the preface to the new season. That is not to say everything that has happened to this point is moot, just consider it the foreword to the novel. It is important information but conference play can make or break a team's season.

Just like a fresh snow, much like the one northeast Ohio received over the past few days, conference play offers every team a clean slate, a new canvas in which to tell their story. After a split of Ohio Dominican on Wednesday, the Storm travels to Hillsdale, MI for the first weekend series of the year. Saturday will feature a double-header starting at 1pm, followed by a single 9-inning game on Sunday, with first pitch starting at 12pm. Of course, weather could play a factor this weekend, which could mess with start times. Stay tuned to the Lake Erie information network for any changes to the schedule.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Home Away From Home

We have been back from the Carolinas for about a week and are ready to kickstart the northern portion of our schedule. Still waiting. Yesterday's double header at Cedarville University was cancelled, which has delayed the continuation of our season. No worries. After a workout on Friday, we get on a bus and head back to the place our season ended a year ago in the GLIAC tournament on Saturday morning. We will take on Notre Dame College in a pair of double headers on Saturday and Sunday. Lake Erie will be the home team on Saturday and will be the visiting team on Sunday.

This part of the year is more of a grind than any other point of the year. It is worse than five straight weeks of indoor practice. It is worse than trying to navigate through finals while competing for a playoff spot in late April/early May. It is the time of year where a team has already played a few games outside, hopefully in the sun, got in a rhythm and have developed routines for being in the out of doors, only to be confined to the small spaces of your respective indoor facility for an extended period of time before getting back on the field. This is the time of year where it takes the most mental toughness to stay on track towards achieving your team goals.

North Carolina Tar Heel head basketball coach Roy Williams once said that toughness is not losing sight of your goal by what you do or by outside distractions. The weather is an outside distraction. It doesn't matter that we have already lost three games on our schedule due to snow or rain. There are still 38 games on the schedule that don't care. There is a team we will see this weekend that won't care. There goal is to beat us in four games. Our goal is to beat them once, and then do it three more times. Kansas Jayhawk head basketball coach Bill Self says, "It doesn't take toughness to lift a weight or start a fight, it takes toughness to bring what it takes to win, and bring it everyday." We now have an opportunity to show our toughness starting tomorrow.

Weekend Schedule
Saturday, March 16: Notre Dame College at Lake Erie College, 2pm
Sunday, March 17: Lake Erie College at Notre Dame College, 12pm

Conference Play Opens
Wednesday, March 20: Lake Erie College at Ohio Dominican University, 2pm (DH)
Saturday, March 23:  Lake Erie College at Hillsdale College, 1pm (DH)
Sunday, March 24: Lake Erie College at Hillsdale College, 12pm

Home Sweet Home
Wednesday, March 27: Ohio Dominican University at Lake Erie College, 3pm

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Monday, March 4, 2013

This Feels Right

It's finally a way. No, it's not Opening Day, but it's close. We get to play baseball. Outside. Sure the season opened last weekend but this was the feeling we were supposed to have against Southern Indiana. In three days in Evansville, we did not hit on the field once. We were able to take a few ground balls and go through our I/O routine but it didn't feel like Opening Day.

This week feels better. After a 10-hour bus ride which began at 12:30am Sunday morning, the Storm baseball team was able to practice outside, on a baseball field for the first time in 2013. In five weeks of Spring Training, we were able to get outside for a full practice once, and it was on the turf football field. This feels like baseball. Drop our bags at the hotel, eat lunch, and change for practice. Warming up on grass, taking live batting practice, infielders and outfielders reading balls off the bat, and running bases at a full 90 feet. Yesterday was a great day for the team

As a collective group, the coaching staff feels 100 times better about this week than last. Not because of the opponent, or anything to do with talent, but about our preparedness. I thought Spring Training was a good five weeks, but there's only so much you can do inside. Our hitters were no longer confined to hitting in a cramped cage having to guess whether it was fair or foul, and our pitchers are no longer pitching behind a L-screen and the batter's eye directly behind them. Yes, it's finally, as it was meant to be played.

Spring Trip Update: Lake Erie opens their spring trip today with a double header against Erskine College at 1pm. After the games, they will head to Gaffney, SC to take on Limestone College tomorrow in a single, 9-inning contest at 2pm. The Storm will continue their path north on Wednesday when they take on Greensboro College. The last leg of the trip features a double header with Pfeiffer University at 2pm. For the full 2013 schedule and to see LIVE STATS, go to RAGE ON!

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