Opening weekend is in the books for everyone. We had everything you can think of across the country. Rain, snow, sunshine, wind, extra innings, upsets, blowouts, nail-biters – EVERYTHING a college baseball fan could hope for. What a way to kick off the year, and just think – there’s months of this stuff just waiting for you to enjoy!
For us, opening weekend brought rain. Now before all you east coast folks reading this (all 4 of you) start breaking out the Seattle rain jokes (all 4 million of them) bear in mind that it was just a dribble by our standards. We only had one delay and that was just a precaution. We could have played if needed. It did get a little nippy when the wind picked up but our opponents, Utah Valley University, are used to even colder climes so it really turned out to be a non-factor. In fact, UVU’s pitching coach Dave Carter, a friend, went certifiable bad-ass on us all and coached 3rd base without a jacket. Hats off my man, hats off.
As for the games, there was a lot to be hopeful about and encouraged by, but also some major holes in our game that the Wolverines exposed. On day 1 we had what I thought was quite a good day offensively in regards to approach, scoring 8 runs on 14 hits, and that’s taking into account my obvious bias as the hitting coach trying to keep his job. Most teams will take that day, no? To go with that solid day at the plate, our starting pitcher, a senior named Seafth Howe, did what he does and pulled the strings on all his pitches for 8 innings, allowing just 3 hits. He was brilliant. And he’ll do it again. He’s got to be the only starting RHP in all of Division I baseball that doesn’t break 80 MPH (OK, so that’s not entirely true – he smacked an 81 on a FB in the 6th). What he does is befuddle the other side over and over and over. Nothing is straight and nothing is ever the same speed it was the last time you saw it. It’s beautiful.
We skipped Saturday due to some high wind forecasts and enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day on Sunday. Our performance was far from gorgeous though. They day started early, as we bundled up in our rain gear and work clothes to remove the tarp and rake and squeegee. Really glamorous work for I’ll have you know for those that think the Division I lifestyle is like an episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. We get our hands dirty at the mid-major level folks! The field prep was not the only challenge we had that morning though. Prior to batting practice, we shared a moment with the family of Cam Christian, our fallen team captain. We circled the mound and huddled with his parents siblings, all of us a family forever now. His sister tearfully spread a few of his ashes as his brother led us in prayer. Tears were not in short supply. Whether that affected us in game 1 is not in doubt, why it affected us in the way it did is a mystery to me. We managed only 4 hits and 2 runs, all while giving up 15. Not the way we wanted to honor Cam’s memory. He may have felt compelled to smack us back into action though in the nightcap, however. Down 4-1 in the 7th inning, and on probably his only good swing of the weekend, Doug Kincaid blasted a grand slam into the Bellevue wetlands to give us a lead, one that we would not relinquish. Cam very well may have given that ball a little more loft. He also aided us in the 9th as UVU was rallying. All the momentum has swung in their favor thanks to some hits and a few errors on our part. Suddenly, the sprinklers sprung into action, causing a 5 minute delay. Utah would not score again. Thanks CC!
As you read this, we have probably already finished our game with intense cross-town rival University of Washington. Split the season series last year, but you can be sure we are gunning for more. If my next blog is rated R you’ll know how the game turned out. See y’all.