Friday, May 28, 2010

A Study in Contrast and the Sun Delay

Sorry for not having time to fire off a SHOUT yesterday from the Baseball Championship, but I'm back today with more to share...

Gotta share quick stories on the two games I worked Thursday on the Big South Network, doing play-by-play for the video stream. Talk about two fascinating and different ballgames...whew...

The 3pm game was Coastal Carolina vs. Radford, and it was all about the bats.
I've seen a lot of baseball in my day, but the 2nd inning for the Coastal hitters was an amazing sight. CCU sent 14 batters to the plate, and ten men scored! Felt like we saw one of everything in that frame, and we may well have. The hitting display was impressive, and quite demonstrative of how talented and aggressive the Chanticleers can be. They built a big lead but kept the foot on the throttle, expanding it as wide as they could for as long as they could.

So 10-0 after two and RU facing over early?
No quit in the Highlanders: grand slam in the fourth, another four runs in the fifth, and surprise: it's 10-8 and a whole new ballgame for the final few innings.
In the end, it was 11-9 Coastal...the Chants stay unbeaten (both in the tourney and in overall Conference play this season), while the Highlanders hit the high road back home. Radford showed a lot of heart after getting blitzed up front in that game, but the hole was just too deep. A three-hour ballgame, it had 20 runs and 26 hits combined (making the result not unlike Radford's first game, a 10-8 loss to High Point: 18 runs and 24 hits).

So clear the decks and prep the field, it's time for the nightcap with Liberty and High Point...
Total opposite of the last game--no runs at all in the first five innings. The pitching showdown would theoretically been a quick game as well, but with so many deep counts, walks, hit batters, and the like, the game was methodical but not efficient time-wise. That said, the hits were scattered and the pitchers were largely in control of the game...which made the first run that much more ironic: bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, HPU runner comes in to score. Oh my.... So the 1-0 score lasts from the 6th to the 9th, and then the game changes again. The Panthers got the sought-after insurance run in the top of the frame, taking a 2-0 lead in a game with runs at a dear premium (as opposed to the scoring-in-bunches approach seen just before).

You wouldn't believe it...but here we are, bottom of the 9th--strikeout, 0-2 count on the second batter--single, HBP, HBP, and the BASES ARE LOADED, one out, bottom of the ninth...and PASSED BALL, run scores--two runners in scoring position with a one-run game!
Every minute that passed seemed to ramp up the drama another notch.
But the next two batters would go down--game over, 2-1 final, High Point defeats Liberty.

So two games with fascinating scripts, but different stories from start to finish.
That's baseball, folks.

One sidebar before I head back to the ballpark for today's action...
I've often said with regards to baseball (after several years working in the minor leagues), "Every time I think I've seen one of everything, I see something else." Well, Thursday night was one of those times. Early in the game, I witnessed my first "sun delay."
Yeah, you read it...not a rain delay or anything like that, but a sun delay.
You see, The Winthrop Ballpark is a wonderful facility, really it is...but it's not facing the right way, not in any traditional baseball sense, anyway. The setting sun shoots right into the face of the place--right at the hitters, the fans, the press box, etc. To counteract that problem, a huge wall was built in center field years ago as a super-sized batter's eye. Okay, but yesterday the angle was just right, and the sun hit the press box windows just right, causing a reflective glare that was fully in the face of a pitcher standing on the mound. And so we waited...for several minutes...while the sun slowly set...changing the angle in question...and moving the reflective glare away from the mound...eventually disappearing altogether. Strange but true--the story of the sun delay.

Back to the ballpark for me--enjoy the games, and have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend everyone--get some family time and start your summer, catch the races, do what you do, but above all, remember what the holiday commemorates, okay? And with that in mind, a quick note for Saturday:
In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, all Military veterans and active members of the armed forces and national guard will be admitted free to Saturday's 1:00pm Big South Baseball Championship game at The Winthrop Ballpark. Immediate/accompanying family members will be admitted to the game for $5 each.

Sound good, don't you think? Stay safe, everybody...SHOUT--out!!!

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