Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So far with two hits in the game, Aaron Bray has 290 career hits, putting him one past previous leader Bo Robinson. He's trying to extend the season and keep playing with three RBI in a 6-6 game after six innings. Congrats Aaron!
After a long bus ride up from Charlotte to Dayton (see: 10 hours, including a quick 45-minute dinner stop in Charleston, WV), we pulled into the Dayton Marriott just short of 11 p.m. Monday night. That's a lot of card playing (I counted two spades games and a hearts game. )
Several Playstation Portables ran out of battery power and it was very funny to see guys plugging Iphones, Ipods and anything rechargeable in at every available outlet at the rest stop near the Virginia border.
So, my laptop would not connect to the Internet at the hotel or on the bus (yes, there was wireless Internet available on the bus - one of the reasons we love Rose Transportation - no relation to me, though I wish I could share in the profits...) so I finally am able to post when I get to the stadium for the team picture and walk-through on Tuesday afternoon. Only got the notes posted then... had to wait to Wednesday morning to post the All-Conference (Lyerly - first; Rivers, Williams, Wilson and Yermal - second) and Monday's Player of the Week announcement (Rivers).
Tuesday afternoon, we headed out to one of the malls in the Dayton area. When faced with about six choices for food, Waffle House was the clear favorite. It was one of the few times I went with the herd.
I'm not going to lie to you... the best part about being the baseball radio guy is traveling across the country. Unlike most sports, we get to stay in a town for more than a night or an afternoon, so we get to sample the local food places. It unnerves me to no end to watch guys eat at Burger King and McDonalds when we have access to those places at home. But, they are creatures of habit. (Coach Durkac complains that no one serves sweet tea when we travel - and he's from Western Pennsylvania, where they don't have sweet tea either, so his frustrations only make me laugh. He's a converted Southerner for sure...) Routine is what a coach wants for his (or her) players. Batting practice has a routine, in and out (what we call the defensive practice where guys take ground balls and outfielders take fly balls) also has a routine. I guess the eating has a routine as well. On the one hand, it might be better to go with food you recognize or feel comfortable with.
I'm from the other school of eating... when in Rome, eat what the Romans eat. I try to encourage my fellow travelers by pointing them to local places around the University when they visit us, and I rely on the word of fellow sports information contacts when we visit towns around the country.
I could probably write a book on the great eats in each town we get to go to. I do opine about it frequently when Web casting the games from the road. It's easily my favorite part of travel.
I think I will post my favorite road food places at some point, but for now the task at hand... Conference Tournament time... regardless of what the regular season tells you, this tournament is wide open.
Here are nuggets not found in any game note anywhere (a Touch of Green Exclusive)... Four of the six teams in the tournament mix have won 15 of their last 19 games (Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts and Rhode Island). Xavier was close behind with 14 of 19 and Fordham nearly backed into the tournament, winning just 10 of its last 19 games. Fordham also is the only team to face all five of the other tournament participants (which makes the Rams 16-11 mark even more impressive.) No conference team played all six tournament participants this season. Charlotte has a winning mark against 12 of 13 conference teams... The Niners are just 2-7 all-time versus Dayton... The Niners are 5-0 in tournament play against the five teams in this year's tournament field, including a pair of wins versus Fordham at Fifth Third Field in 2007... Ironic that Charlotte will face Xavier in the first game of this year's tournament, as the two met in last year's Championship Game, with Charlotte winning 4-3 in 11 innings.
Gotta get ready to call the action for the 3:30 p.m. game today. I'm sure you will be listening.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A 4.0 student, Currie has won A-10 Most Outstanding Track Performer and A-10 Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards during her career, including the A-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards in both the 2009 indoor and outdoor seasons. She is a member of a women's track senior class that has won all eight A-10 championships in her career (4 indoor;4 outdoor). She has copped ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors. She has qualified for NCAA competition, broken school and league records and will vie for her first NCAA All-America honor, this summer. She has been at the center of a women's track dynasty. She has followed in the impressive footsteps of former track all-everythings. And she has left her own indelible mark. Congratulations, Lamarra.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Only three teams each year in the NCAA get to end the season with a win. Sadly, Charlotte won’t have the opportunity to be one of them this year, but what a great year it was.
Single-game records, season records, career records, a fourth straight thirty win season. What more could you ask for? I can think of a lot more and let’s face it, if you get to interact with this team at all, they fit the majority of those things that you would ask for.
This senior class is certainly a special one. They’ll be missed by Niner Nation. Seniors always come and go but there are people who always leave an indelible mark on others and for this class, leaving a mark hits the nail on the head.
For some on the team, maybe things haven’t gone as they thought they would. But, you can always see a smile on their face and they can just brighten a room by simply being there (If you’re looking for a referencing point look no further than #7).
For others, it’s personality both on and off the field that gathers attention. Keri’s shimmy and shake down the first base line after a walk, Cee talking to herself at the plate, Jenny and Alyssa just being…well, Jenny and Alyssa. And the two Californians are well…let’s just say they are “so California.”
Yet for others, just the pure joy of watching them do what they do best can make you just shake your head. Whitney’s ridiculous speed down the first base line on a grounder, Serena’s clutch hitting, Sarah’s natural ability to swipe bases and Emily just taking over games so often with a dominating array of pitches that keep pitchers guessing, are just a few of the things that just make you shake your head.
Traveling with an all female team can be a challenge, but this group really made me feel like family, even though I’ve only been on the road with them since Tuesday.
Lou Holtz has a book called Wins, Losses and Lessons. Being a Notre Dame football fan, I of course read it. I was reminded of the book title today because this team had its share of both wins and losses. We celebrate the wins and are disappointed with the losses, but for me it’s the lessons of being around such a fine group that puts the biggest smile of all on my face. Of course, I enjoyed my 50 win seasons as an undergrad and I often remind myself of the perfect games and simple wins following a 49er loss, but I wouldn’t trade this 33 win bunch for the world.
To the seniors: In the immortal words of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, “Good luck, goodbye.” (The song’s named Bobby Jean if you don’t believe me, it’s on the Born in the USA CD.) Like I said, Niner Nation will miss you.
For the undergrads, keep busting your tails, you all deserve nothing less than the best.
Until next year, wear green and go NINERS!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Have you ever been at the top of the universe one minute and about two minutes later you are as down as down can be? That’s how today felt against UMass. We loaded the bases and really had Balschmiter reeling in the sixth, but we couldn’t drive a run in. But I thought, oh well, we’ll get them in the seventh. Well UMass had different plans as they took two pitches out of the park and changed the game before beating us 2-0.
I was thinking, we are going to beat a ranked team in the conference tournament and be unbeaten heading to the title game. But it just wasn’t meant to be.
The girls know they are so close to beating UMass, they can feel it and I know I can feel it.
We didn’t do anything extra special today, it was a gameday and the team was all business.
Tomorrow is a new day for the Niners. We play Saint Joe’s at 12:00 noon before hopefully earning a rematch with the Minutewomen at 2:00.
It’s a long trek now for a conference championship, but the Niners can do it. This team is still hungry and the senior class surely isn’t content. The underclassmen surely don’t want to send the most successful class in school history off without a conference title.
Until tomorrow, go ahead and do the norm: Wear green and go Niners!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
It rained down, it rained sideways. Shucks, sometimes it even rained up. No were weren’t in the middle of the Vietnamese jungle with Forrest Gump, but we could have gone shrimping in the small lake in left. The Bronx saw a heavy rain band delay action for five hours, but the artificial turf at Fordham took the rain incredibly well. The team was supposed to take the field at 3:00 p.m. for today’s semi-final game with Saint Louis, but finally got on the field at 8:00 o’clock.
So as a team, we did what this Niners love to do most, outside of playing softball: EAT! During a three hour period from noon to 5:00 p.m., Mark and I ate three times, while the rest of the Niners munched on popcorn in a basement dwelling turned movie theatre. I ate three times, twice when I was full, gotta feed that tapeworm you know!
Anyways, back to the game. Whew, what a thriller. LV had a killer day at the plate as she drove home our first two runs of the game as we jumped all over SLU early.
Earlier in the day, and early in the broadcast I reminded Mark that Saint Louis tallied seventh inning runs on us in last month’s doubleheader split, so we can’t take them lightly in the late innings.
Well, it was déjà vu as their catcher tagged a blast over the left field fence to knot the game up at two. I’ll admit it, that hit took the wind out of my sails.
But, in the eighth, the Niner bats got going and took the victory to advance to the semi-finals.
Tomorrow’s game with UMass will be another great pitching duel I’m sure. Tune in to Mark and I tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. as we bring you the live action.
It’s going to be a long night, but I’m sure the Niners will get a much needed night of sleep tonight at the hotel and get ready to take down the Minutewomen tomorrow.
Until then, wear grey (we are the visitors tomorrow) and go Niners.Click Here to Listen Live to Friday's Game Against UMass
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
What a treat today was! After an early morning wakeup call at 7:00 a.m. and a quick breakfast in our rooms, we headed back to Fordham for practice. Due to there being really no rain last night in the area, the team was able to practice outside today and get used to the speed of the turf outfield which could be very important down the road.
Coach DeVos has been sick since last night so she hopefully will be able to kick that by tomorrow for the game. Oh, about that, we will be playing Saint Louis tomorrow.
After our two hour practice window, we took the short trip through the Bronx and down to Times Square for lunch. The team split off into small groups to go their own separate ways for about two hours during the day to explore and eat. Mark Verburg and I split off and headed down Broadway for a few blocks until Mark spotted a McDonalds on the right. I thought, “Mark, we can eat at McDonalds in Charlotte, you’re supposed to be the smart one here.” Well, there was a method to his madness as he explained to me that this particular McDonalds with the marquee lights out front, was voted the Fourth-Best McDonalds in the world by the Travel Channel (I guess Mark’s an avid watcher).
So, that’s where Mark and I dined at before heading back to 45th street to catch the bus. In between we saw a few of the great sights of Times Square. You know the 2009 New Year’s Day Ball, the ESPN Zone and of course…the NAKED COWBOY!
As we trudged back to the bus, we asked every player if they saw him and everyone replied “No, can we go see him, is he close by, we want a picture.” That is until Cee, Gina and company came back. He wasn’t getting by them and their cameras.
After visiting with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, we headed back to Fordham to catch the second game of the day before heading to what was supposed to be this rockin’ pizza place in Little Italy.
Well, let’s just say “It was awesome, baby.”
New York Style Pizza in a place about the size of a thimble, now that’s what I call good eats. The pizza was phenomenal. I think Jenny ate a whole “pie” herself, while most of the rest of us locked in on two pieces.
Day two in the Big Apple is in the books but the business gets started tomorrow. Everyone has pretty much wrapped up a lot of their finals and now the sole focus is on Saint Louis. Our Fordham host greeted us today and pointed out that U2 played in a small field right across from the softball diamond. Being a classic rock nut, immediately U2’s The Saints Are Coming came to mind. I shared the thought with Mark and he immediately decided that, even if just between him and me, the theme song for tomorrow should be When the Saints Go Marching Home and that we need to send one marching home tomorrow.
Listen in to Mark and I tomorrow on the live broadcast starting at 3:00 p.m. Gametracker is also available on the A-10 website if you want to follow. Until next time, wear white (since we are the home team, we are in white uniforms) and GO NINERS!
Friday, May 1, 2009
The pressure was squarely on their shoulders. And the 49ers responded with Nagy winning the individual title, teammate Stefan Wiedergruen placing second and freshman Paul Ferrier posting his own all-conference performance with a fifth-place finish. Charlotte won by 11 strokes -- and will be back in the hunt at the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Golfweek, a national publication, highlighted the 49ers "Season-Saving" league title at the A-10 Championships in the article linked below.