Archive for the 'College' Category

United States Shuts Out Japan

Friday, July 19th, 2019

The United States collegiate national team went up two games to one on Japan with a 2-0 one hit victory. Reid Detmers went five innings and only allowed one hit. Cole Wilcox and Andrew Abbott completed the final four innings to complete the shutout. Heston Kjerstad gave the United States team all the runs they needed with his solo shot in the fourth. They added an insurance run in the fifth on an Alika Williams RBI single.

The United States and Japan have two more games to complete the series.

Vanderbilt Wins College World Series

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Michigan was the talk of Omaha. They were the Cinderella team that had eliminated number one UCLA in the Super Regionals. Now they had to beat the equally strong Vanderbilt. They won the first, but they could not finish it. Vanderbilt won the final two, taking it to Michigan in the final game 8-2.

The game started off well for Michigan early, scoring in the first to take an early 1-0 lead. A Pat DeMarco solo shot in the second tied the game. After that Vanderbilt piled it on, rallying for three runs in the third after two were out. Michigan helped them out with three walks in the inning. Michigan also walked two in the fourth that came around to score to give Vandy an unrelenting 6-1 lead. In total, Michigan pitchers walked 8 hitters.

Myworld could only watch videos of the dog pile. Perhaps next year we will stay long enough to watch the final.

Kumar Keeps Vandy Alive

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Kumar Rocker did not have his best stuff, but it was good enough to shut Michigan down to just one run in 6.1 innings. His 93-94 mile per hour fastball early in the game had dropped to 88-90 after the third inning. He still battled relying on his breaking stuff to lead Vanderbilt to a 4-1 win over Michigan. Tyler Brown pitched the last 2.2 innings to preserve the win.

It did not look like this game was going to be played today. Thunderstorm warnings with threats of tornados and hail were in the forecast. Two hours before game time the rain was coming down pretty hard. But by 5 PM it had stopped and despite the dark clouds encircling the stadium the game was played with no rain.

It was a classic pitcher’s duel between Isaiah Paige and Kumar Rocker. Rocker gave up just one hit in his first five innings. Paige went four innings allowing just two hits. Poor fielding and walks were the Wolverines undoing.

The collapse began in the fifth. Harrison Ray began the inning with a single to left center. Ty Duvall swung at the first pitch and grounded what looked to be a double play ball up the middle. Wolverine shortstop Jack Blomgren appeared to try to run to second to start the double play before he actually fielded the ball. The ball zipped past his glove into centerfield for an error, Ray advancing to third. Paige struck out Julian Infante for the first out. Ben Keizer came on in relief. Austin Martin topped a slow grounder to third, Blake Nelson fielding the ball, but his only play was to first, giving the Commodores a 1-0 lead. The Wolverines chose to walk J.J. Bleday intentionally and then a wild pitch put runners on second and third with two out. Ethan Paul was walked intentionally to load the bases. Keizer ran the count to 3-1 to Philip Clarke who appeared to swing at ball four and grounded out to short to end the inning.

It got worse in the fifth. Pat Demarco started the inning with a single. A walk to Stephen Scott put two runners on, Ray bunting the runners to second and third. That ended the day for Keizer and the call went to Jack Weisenburger. Weisenburger had trouble finding the strike zone. He threw a wild pitch to allow DeMarco to score. After walking Ty Duvall he threw another wild pitch to allow Scott to cross the plate. Another walk to Julian Infante was the end for Weisenburger. Angelo Smith came on to strike out the next two hitters to end the inning.

Angelo made it three whiffs in a row when he struck out Ethan Paul to start the seventh. Philip Clarke then smashed a pitch into the right field bullpen to extend the Commodore lead to 4-0.

Kumar gave up a leadoff single to Jack Blomgren in the seventh. A balk advanced Blomgren to second. The Commodores turned early to Tyler Brown to finish the game, knowing that tomorrow they would be done if they did not get the win. Ako Thomas greeted Brown with a single into the third base hole, scoring Blomgren and ending the shutout.

Brown was solid the rest of the way, not allowing a hit after the Thomas single and retiring the last seven hitters in a row.

Game Notes: Myworld prefers to sit on the left field side for general admission. There, you can see the scoreboard and don’t have to continually turn around to eye the video screen…Kumar struck out the side in the second inning and at one point had struck out four in a row. Hitters were swinging and missing at his high fastballs. He finished the day with 11 whiffs…Beach balls were bouncing around the general admission stands between innings while pitchers warmed up. Once the game started the fans showed enough restraint to hold the balls…Fans in general admission chant back and forth “Leftfield sucks” and the people in leftfield would counter with “rightfield sucks”…Vanderbilt likes to use whistles during their at bats. The NCAA would not allow them to use whistles inside the stadium. So they whistled using their mouth instead…The Vandy team has a lot of lefthanded bats in the lineup. A team with lefthanders in the bullpen might be able to tame a number of Vandy rallies.

Michigan Keeps on Rolling

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

That got on the College World Series road map when they upset the number one team in College Baseball, UCLA, beating them in the Super Regionals. Now they are one win away from being crowned College World Series champions after they dominated Vanderbilt 7-4 tonight.

Drake Fellows, the Vanderbilt ace did not have his best stuff struggling with command. He walked the leadoff batter in both the first and second innings and it came back to bite him. In the first after walking leadoff batter Jordan Nwogu he appeared to get a little reprieve from his defense. Jessie Franklin singled to center, Nwogu tried to advance to third and centerfielder Pat DeMarco gunned him out short of the base. Franklin advanced to second on the throw, but scored when Jordan Brewer lined a pitch into the right field corner. Brewer scored on a clutch two out single past the shortstop from Blake Nelson. The Wolverines had attacked quickly to take a 2-0 lead.

Fellows walked the first two hitters he faced in the second inning. They both went on to score, Jack Blomgren scoring on a Ako Thomas bloop double down the left field line. Despite trailing by three the Vanderbilt defenses were back and Joe Donavan scored on a ground out.

Tommy Henry pitched a masterful game, going two outs short from getting a complete game victory. He did run into some trouble in the second, giving up a leadoff single to Philip Clarke to end his no hit bid. After two whiffs Harrison Ray and Ty Duvall hit back to back singles to score Vandy’s first run. Harrison Ray scored the second run on a wild pitch from Henry.

In the fourth Michigan threatened again, putting runners on second and third with just one out. Jordan Nwogu grounded out to the pitcher and Jesse Franklin grounded out to second to diffuse the rally. Fellows would work two more innings without allowing a run, taken out with two outs in the sixth after walking the number nine hitter Ako Thomas to put runners on first and second with two outs. Zach King struck out Jordan Nwogu to end the threat.

J.J. Bleday gave the Commodore fans hope when he blasted a pitch from Henry into the right field bleachers to lead off the sixth. This put the Commodores to within one. A Jack Blomgren error and a wild pitch put a runner on third with two out. Tommy Henry was able to strike out Stephen Scott to strand the tying run on third.

Michigan used the long ball to run away from the game after that. Jimmy Kerr hit a two run homerun in the seventh to cushion the Michigan lead to 6-3. Joe Donavan hit a solo shot in the eighth to up the ante to 7-3. Michigan was able to load the bases with two walks and a single and only one man retired in that eighth inning. Jimmy Kerr went from hero to goat by popping up to third. Blake Nelson flew out to right to end that threat.

In the top of the ninth Michigan put runners on first and third with no outs. Patrick Raby kept the damage contained, striking out the next two hitters and allowing Jordan Nwogu to fly out harmlessly to right.

Tommy Henry was two outs short from throwing a complete game. He struck out eight. Pat DeMarco hit a leadoff double off him in the ninth. Jeff Criswell came on to retire the last two hitters to put Michigan one more win away from a College World Series championship. Criswell was used as a third starter for Michigan, but he has been used as closer for this College World Series.

Game Notes: Though it was a sellout crowd with 24,707 in attendance it was not a raucous crowd. Because Nebraska is a Big Ten school most people in attendance were rooting for Michigan…The General Admission ticket I bought did not guarantee me a seat. It was standing room only, but the early birds got to sit…During batting practice there was a player walking around with a bag collecting the batting practice balls. Other players would throw balls at him that they had retrieved during batting practice. They were eventually used to refill the basket for more batting practice. You don’t see them do that in the major leagues…The video screen listed all the people who played Little League ball (I think it was 1 in 20), all the people who played high school ball, all the people who played college ball and then all the people who played in a college world series. That last figure was 1 in 20,000 people get an opportunity to play in the college world series…It takes some getting used to hearing the ping off the bat instead of the crack of the ball off the wooden bat. College baseball uses aluminum bats…Drake Fellows struggled with getting his breaking ball over in the first two innings. In the third he only threw two balls as he struck out the side. He walked four on the day…Vanderbilt used three pitching visits in the first four innings. The fourth pitching visit in the sixth inning led to the departure of Fellows…Tommy Henry did not walk a hitter until he walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth inning. Jordan Brewer rifled a throw to third on a Ethan Paul single to get Austin Martin to eliminate him as a baserunner.

Bucketlist Reviewed

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Myworld is in Omaha to watch the last two games of the college world series. First we will enter into Papillion for a day game for the Storm Chasers, which will be a DHer of sorts, i.e. a finish to the second game that was suspended last night and a new game. Then we will travel down to Omaha for the first game of the finals of the College World Series. That will be a first, three games in one day.

Since this college world series was on my bucket list myworld thought we would summarize some of our bucket list accomplishments since 2011 after we first wrote of our bucket list down. At the end we will identify those adventures still on the list. These are only our baseball bucket lists. We have plenty of non-baseball adventures we would still like to capture.

October 2011 - Went to Panama to watch the last Baseball World Cup. The event is not quite as strong as the soccer World Cups. Attendance was sparse. Netherlands went on to upset Cuba for their first World Cup win. Lots of rain at the event. The third place game was not played because of rain but Canada was awarded the bronze. The gold medal game was delayed by about five hours. This would be the last World Cup before a major reorganization.

November 2011 - Visited Taichung, Taiwan for the Asian World Series. This is another event that was discontinued. Another upset as the Samsung Lions defeated the Softbank Hawks to become the first non-Japanese team to win the Asian Series.

February 2012 - Traveled to the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to see the Series del Caribe. Cuba had yet to be allowed to participate. This is another event that is struggling for survival. At the time the teams played pool play and the team with the best record was declared champion. This event was anticlimactic as the Dominican Republic won it easily. On the last day, win or lose the Dominicans had won the pool. They added Cuba later and went to a pool play and playoff format to make the finals or last day more meaningful.

September 6-11 2013- Japan trip. This was my fourth trip to Japan to watch baseball so not really bucket list material. Some of the events were. Witnessed Wladimir Balentien hit his 54th homerun on his way to a record breaking 60 for the year, smashing the record of Sadaharu Oh and Randy Bass, who each had 55. Also saw a pitcher’s duel between Masahiro Tanaka and rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani, won by Tanaka 3-2. Tanaka would go on to break a baseball record of 25 consecutive wins and then went on to play for the New York Yankees the next year. Ohtani is now with the Angels.

November 7, 2013 - Visited Arizona and watched the Arizona Fall League for the first time. Aaron Sanchez and Travis Shaw were two players who impressed me during that visit.

July 8th 2014 - Traveled to Dyersville Iowa to see the Field of Dreams. Also around that time went to Durham, North Carolina to see the old stadium that was used for the Durham Bulls movie. Myworld loves the Durham park and we have visited there at least three times.

November 11 2014 - Revisited Taichung, Taiwan for the 21 and under World Cup. Taiwan won it, upsetting Japan. Chun Lin Kuo pitched seven shutout innings in the 9-0 rout. Myworld was strangled in blue confetti after the win.

June 20th 2015 - These bucket lists can not be predicted. Witnessed my first no hitter, Max Scherzer doing the honors in Washington D.C.. The only previous no hitter I had seen prior to that was a seven inning minor league no hitter. I never really counted that since it was only seven innings.

June 23 2016 - Did not see a Little League World Series but I did go to Williamsport and visited the park. Went to a minor league game in Williamsport and watched Triston Mackenzie pitch for the Indians minor league team. The minor league park is located next door to the first field where the Little League World Series was played. They are still playing Little League games at that field.

July 2016 - Went to Haarlem, Netherlands to watch the Honkball tournament. It was my first experience of European baseball. The facility where they held the tournament is pretty impressive. I do believe Japan may have been the winners of that tournament, upsetting the Netherlands in the finals but I could be wrong. I did not see the finals preferring to enjoy some of the sights of Haarlem instead.

February 8 2017 - Witnessed my second Series del Caribe, this one in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico beat Mexico in the championship match. This was the first Series del Caribe that Cuba was allowed to play.

March 12, 2017 - Travelled to Miami, Florida to watch a World Baseball Classic game and it was wild. The Dominican Republic beat the United States and the crowd was probably more entertaining than the game. Also saw a couple World Baseball Classic games in Miami in 2013. Kenley Jenson was a catcher for the Netherlands.

July 7-9, 2018 - This was my first Futures game. The United States defeated the World. Talk is that they will be changing that format for this year. The homerun derby and the All Star game followed after that. The experience was awesome. The only downside is I had to leave early because the game went into extra innings and Metro was closing.

June 24 2019 - In Omaha to see the College World Series

November 2019 - Hope to return to Tokyo to watch the Premier 12

2020 and beyond.

The Olympics is on the agenda. I’ve already been to an Olympic event when they were in Los Angeles but watched the volleyball. The prices for these events seem a little steep.

World Series game is still a must see. I may have to travel for that since the Nationals and Orioles may never give me that opportunity.

Been to every ball park in Japan but Hokkaido. That is on the list. Will be going to Saint Louis after the College World Series leaving Tampa, Seattle, Oakland, Chicago White Sox, Detroit, Arizona, Toronto and Colorado as the only major league parks I have not visited. Went to the old Seattle park and if I don’t hurry the Oakland and Tampa parks may no longer be available. Still lots of minor league parks to visit.

Hope to see a European championship tournament. On my bucket list is a visit to Italy so seeing a game there and visiting Italy would fulfill two accomplishments.

Myworld has seen games in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Panama and Dominican Republic so going to another country to see a game would be cool. We’ve also played softball in Australia and Sweden.

Myworld has also been to Cooperstown, but it might be cool to visit it again to see how time has changed it.

That is it for now.

Going to Omaha

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Michigan pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in the College World Series, knocking off the number one seed in the tournament, the UCLA Bruins, in a three game Super Regional. The Bruins had 13 players drafted by major league baseball and had never lost a weekend series. They were the number one rated team entering the tournament with a record of 47-8. For Michigan, it is their first appearance in the College World Series since 1984. It is the first time since Indiana appeared in 2013 that the Big 10 has had a team travel to Omaha.

Michigan won the opener 3-2 fighting off a rally from UCLA in the bottom of the ninth. UCLA had already scored two runs and had the tying run on third when Jeff Criswell came on and retired the final two hitters on a pop up and strikeout. It took 12 innings but UCLA won game two 5-4. Criswell got the start in that game going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs. In the finals Michigan won 4-2 getting two innings of shutout relief from Benjamin Keizer. Christan Bullock doubled and tripled and scored twice while Ako Thomas drove in two runs to fuel the victory.

Most of the teams advancing to Omaha were number one seeds. The number one seeds advancing are Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Louisville and Mississippi State. Michigan and Florida State and two number threes to advance. Auburn and North Carolina and Ole Miss and Arkansas are two series that are tied at one game each. Only Auburn, a number two seed is not a number one seed.

Myworld hopes to be in Omaha for the College World Series finals.

Rocker Throws No Hitter for Vandy

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

In a super regional match, freshman Kumar Rocker struck out 19 hitters in throwing a no hitter against Duke in an elimination game for Vanderbilt. Talk about coming through under pressure. Vanderbilt went on to win the game 3-0. It was the first no hitter thrown in a Super Regional game. The two teams will play the elimination game today to see who advances to Nebraska.

Rocker threw 131 pitches in the game. He was one of the highly rated pitchers in the 2018 draft and would have gone in the first round if not for his commitment to Vanderbilt. The Rockies selected him in the 38th round but he did not sign. He is the son of NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker.

Rocker broke the Vanderbilt record for strikeouts in an NCAA tournament game that had been held by David Price at 17. He will not be eligible for the major league draft for two more years. Meanwhile, there is an NCAA tournament he would like to win.

Luke Heimlich’s Signing in Taiwan Put on Hold

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Luke Heimlich was considered a first round pick by major league baseball while a junior pitching for Oregon State in 2017, until it was discovered he pled guilty as a 15 year old of molesting his then six year old niece. He was required to list himself as a sex offender, though that history was not known until a local newspaper discovered it after he was required to report his status after moving to Oregon. He removed himself that year from the NCAA championship playoffs and the major league draft.

As a senior this year he was the ace pitcher who led Oregon State to the NCAA championship. Even though he was eligible for the draft major league teams refused to draft him, even lower in the draft when risky players are often selected. Many scouts changed their opinion on him, calling him nothing more than a mid or back end of the rotation pitcher at best. His tools did not justify facing the backlash of signing him, even though his sex offender status was recently removed after his probationary status had passed without any further violations. It should be noted two other players from Oregon State were drafted in the first round.

The Kansas City Royals considered signing him as an undrafted free agent, but nothing ever came of that review. Shunned by the major leagues the La Miga Monkeys of the China Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan signed him to a contract. Once the facts came out of his molestation charges there was fervent backlash from the Taiwan fans. The CPBL immediately terminated the contract citing their “zero tolerance policy on players with a criminal history.”

Perhaps the Manny Ramirez signing after two major league drug violations did not meet the “criminal” standards. Heimlich denies the molestation charges saying he only pled guilty to protect the niece from having to go through a trial. The parents of the girl molested have stated they would not trust any child to be alone with Luke.

So the Heimlich saga continues. Some league somewhere seeking publicity of any sort may take a risk of signing him. Otherwise he may have to find another craft to try to make a living since most baseball leagues are reluctant to sign him.

United States Wins College Series Over Japan

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Japan did not seem to be bothered by jet lag in the opening game of the series, taking the United States 1-0. Yukiya Ito strung together three hits including an RBI single in the sixth to drive in the only run of the game. Masato Morishita blanked the United States for five innings on one hit, picking up the win. Four different relievers followed to complete the shutout.

The United States returned the favor in day two with their 1-0 win. Josh Jung roped an RBI triple in the ninth to earn the 1-0 victory. Zack Hess pitched three innings of perfect ball, striking out four of the nine hitters he faced. Four other pitchers followed and restricted the Japanese hitters to just two hits. Wataru Matsamoto pitched an excellent game, going seven innings and striking out 16 United States hitters.

The two teams brought out the bats in the United States 3-1 win in game three. Neither team could collect an extra base hit. The United States scored their first run on a double steal in the second inning when the catcher threw the ball in the outfield and a runner scored. In the third inning the United States scored another run on two Japanese errors, a failed pick off attempt and a wild throw from the second baseman to third that allowed Zach Watson to score.

Zack Watson started the rally in the eighth with a single and moved to third on two ground outs. He scored on a wild pitch. The United States scored three times but not one player was credited with an RBI. Japan scored their only run in the fifth on a wild pitch. Zach Watson led all hitters with three hits and two runs scored.

The United States clinched the series with a 7-6 win in game four. Wataru Masamato was not so effective in his second start, though he began the game with five shutout innings. He gave up three runs in the sixth to allow the United States to tie the game 3-3. Japan scored the first three runs in the third. Motoki Mukoyama started the inning hitting the first homerun of the series with a lead off homerun off Andre Pallante. Teruaki Sato chased Pallante with his RBI double to drive in the third run of the inning.

The United States waited until the sixth inning to score off Masamato. A two run homerun from Bryson Stott finished the game for Masamato and tied the game 3-3. The United States added two more runs in the seventh on a two run double from Andrew Vaughn. Dominic Fletcher smashed a two run homer in the eighth. Japan scored one in the eighth and took advantage of two United States errors to score two in the ninth to close to within one. With the tying run on third and the go ahead run on first Max Meyer was able to retire the last hitter on a pop up to earn a sloppy save.

Japan salvaged the last game 4-3 winning it in extra innings. With two runners placed on first and second Japan bunted the runners over a base and Takashi Imino ended the game with a sacrifice fly to center field. Yukiya Ito drove in two runs with a double in the first, Bryson Stott drove in two runs with a single in the fourth. The United States out hit Japan 15-4 but stranded 16 men on base, including not scoring in the tenth and eleventh innings when they put two runners on base.

Beavers More Than Abel to Win NCAA Championship

Friday, June 29th, 2018

The Oregon State Beavers rode the arm of freshman pitcher Kevin Abel to the NCAA championship. He was the winning pitcher in the last three games the Beavers won. He started and threw 95 pitches in the Beavers 5-2 win over Mississippi State that got them to the finals. The Beavers lost the first game of the playoffs against Arkansas, but Abel pitched one inning of relief in the second game and got credit for the victory when Oregon State rallied for the win. Yesterday he pitched nine innings of shutout ball, throwing 129 pitches in their 5-0 win. That is 247 pitches in six days.

He did have three days of rest prior to his one inning of work. The 129 pitch work load is something even major league managers try to control. But Kevin Abel appreciated his manager keeping him in and it was probably pretty sweet to be part of the bottom of that pile after the Beaver victory.

Adley Rutschman collected three hits, his first single driving in the first run to give the Beavers an early 1-0 lead. An error in the first inning scored the second run to give Oregon State an early 2-0 lead. Rutschman made it 3-0 with his RBI single in the third. Finally, in the fifth he started the rally with a single, eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Abel was virtually unhittable in the championship game. The only two hits he gave up were in the third inning. With runners on first and third with one out he got a strikeout and pop up to end the threat. That started a string where Abel retired the last 20 hitters he faced. So despite the 129 pitch count Abel was never stressed in the later innings.

Oregon State wins their third NCAA baseball championship. Arkansas will have to wait until next year to win their first, after coming so close this year. This was the second time they have lost in the finals.