If You Only Had One Shot

SandersonAtBat
It is finally the moment you have been waiting for all season. The entire dugout is fixated on your every move to see if you can pull off this miracle. You dig into the batter’s box and stare down the pitcher while every single one of your brain cells is focused on one thing: hitting the beautifully white pearl baseball a country mile.

As the pitcher starts his wind up your eyes grow bigger as each ounce of sweat trickles down your face while you think, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole career….”

One defining moment can make or break one’s college career. I can only hope this past weekend was not my defying moment, but I think it’s worth sharing anyways. Although my pressure packed situation during the fourth game of a four game weekend had me feeling all the nerve racking thoughts I’ve mentioned above; there is one major difference between the average position player and myself. I’m a pitcher.

Leisure time on the St. Cloud State pitching staff is usually dominated by one main topic: what we would do if we finally got an at bat in a game. Trash talking is common as well as the critiquing of swings that really aren’t worthy of such assessments.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to silence the critics and take one deep. The odds were forever not in my favor as my homerun history consists of one “duck fart” over a shallow right field fence in high school (time to close the year book).

Last weekend the Huskies took a comfortable lead over our opponents and as many seniors do, I began to plead head coach Pat Dolan for me to get an at bat. He gave me the nod along with a smirk that a five year old could have detected meant, “I can’t wait to see this.”

During the very rare occasion our pitchers get to hit during batting practice each swing is a piece of artwork. Well, the swing isn’t exactly the artwork. The artwork is what comes after the swing, commonly referred to as, “the pimp job.” For those of you who do not recognize the term “pimp job,” it is the over blown, proud reaction of a hitter after he hits a homerun that he would like to admire.

As a realist, I decided I probably wasn’t going to take one deep in an actual game. But, it was not out of the realm of possibilities for me to blast one to the warning track. I stared down that 2-1 fastball right down Broadway and did what every great homerun hitter does: I dropped my back shoulder, closed my eyes, and swung the bat so hard it would make my dad’s back ache.

Before I knew it, the ball was half way to the moon… if the wind weren’t howling in from right field at a GUSTING 5 mph. After months of mental preparation for my big chance at the plate, I had to settle for a pedestrian F-9 and face my fellow pitchers who looked at me with utter disappointment.

Quite possibly my last at bat as a collegiate player… and I blew it. For two months the pitchers on our staff debated on who would be the pitcher to get the first hit of the season and it would have been my Disney Land fairy tale if it would’ve been me.

So, the coveted award of the first pitcher to get a hit is still in tact at St. Cloud State. Until one of us finally comes through with a clean hit, trash talking will keep on and “pimp jobs” will continue to be rehearsed.

- Scott Sanderson
@scottie_111

NCBWA DII Regional Rankings – March 4, 2014

Atlantic Region

RK School -First-Place Votes- W-L Pts. Prev.
1 Shippensburg (Pa.) -8- 4-2 135 1
2 East Stroudsburg (Pa.) -5- 8-1 115 4
3 Millersville (Pa.) 7-5 95 2
4 Seton Hill (Pa.) 3-3 85 3
5 Kutztown (Pa.) 4-1 84 5 Continue reading

Tampa Continues Stranglehold Atop DII Rankings

Rank

(Last Week)

Team / Comment
1

(1)

Tampa Spartans

Tampa (15-1) only allowed four total runs during their weekend series with Walsh. The Spartans have a monster series at St. Leo upcoming which the upcoming Lions have had their eyes on.

2

(2)

Minnesota State Mavericks

The Mavs (5-1) had the week of as they headed down to Florida for their spring trip in which they will play nine games in eight days.

3

(4)

Lander Bearcats

The Bearcats (16-2) dropped their first game against North Georgia, but won the next two and the series against the Saints. LU hosts Mount Olive midweek and Francis Marion this upcoming weekend.

4

(9)

West Florida Argonauts

The Argos’ (13-2) swept three road games from Christian Brothers this week. UWF should have a tougher row to hoe this week against North Georgia and Union.

5

(10)

Southern Arkansas Muleriders

Muleriders (15-4) hurlers had three shutouts as they went 4-1 last week with their only loss to Ouachita Baptist’s ace Davis Ward. SAU has a midweek contest with Arkansas Monticello and a weekend series at Henderson State. Continue reading

Life Lessons

Last night, the Lewis Flyers were significantly outplayed by Ashland University for exactly eight and a half innings………and then something happened.  That “something” was the red team turning a 7-0 deficit into an inspiring and improbable come from behind walk-off win by scoring eight runs in the bottom of the ninth inning without recording an out.  The win gives us much needed momentum and a quality win versus an in-region opponent.  After pondering last nights events I have determined that there are some life lessons to be learned from this ordeal: Continue reading

Flyers Off on Spring Trip

Sitting on the runway at O’hare waiting to take off.  Its going to be a long day.  We left Lewis at 3:30am and we play tonight against a quality Ashland team who will have a chip on shoulder after we ended their season in dramatic fashion last year during the Midwest Regional in Springfield, MO.  We had a good week of practice during which a few mechanical adjustments were made and we got plenty of live plate appearances off of our pitching staff.  I had each one of my hitters provide a scouting report on themselves as is they were preparing an opponent to face them as a hitter.  The evaluation included a recommendation on to pitch them, as in pitch type, location and sequence.  This is a good exercise to compel the hitters to undertake because it forces them to not only take account of their strengths, bit also to recognize their weaknesses and flaws.  One they are identified, they can be corrected or minimized as needed.  Everyone did a good job on this project, and some of the players used the opportunity to work on their comedic wit.  Some highlights from the self-scouting reports include:

Mike  Barajas: “Makes @hi# happen when on the bases so pitchers need to mix up looks and try to stop his feet.

Ben Albano: “Strengths include being very handsome with a charming personality.”

James Burrell: “Best hitter in the nation.  Avoid at all costs”.

Special congratulations go out to Brandon Collins for his ultra-wise airport purchase this morning.  I don’t know what a $5 bottle of water tastes like, and I hope I never find out.

Hitters Make a Statement

msu-mankato-bsb

Greetings again baseball fans, we’ve had a few weeks of practice here in chilly Minnesota as the weather continues to baffle us and I’ve got a ton of new developments to update you on. Since the media here at Minnesota State is so excellent at what they do, you can check out the last four games we played through our website. The stats from day one in our series against Northeastern State can be found here and day two games against Southwest Baptist can be found here.

It’s incredible what one week can do for a baseball team after coming off a split series with UAM in our first games of the year. As a team, we try not to get too high or too low during the course of the season (as I mentioned in my last blog about not hitting the panic button) but there is something to be said about these last four games. Key components needed to reach our goal of winning a National Championship this year began to slightly shine. Continue reading

Tino Award Watch Spotlight: Tampa’s Nick Tindall

tinoawardxxxThe initial watch list for the 2014 Jaeger Sports Tino Martinez Award presented by College Baseball Lineup and D2baseballnews.com includes 125 names. If that list had to be cut in half, or to a third, probably even down to just a top ten, one of the names that would be on the roster of top DII players to watch would be Tampa’s Nick Tindall. Tindall played for Quincy University last season where he was a semifinalist for the award as he earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year and Midwest Region Player of the Year honors. As a slugging sophomore catcher Tindall led his team in batting at .372 and hit a GLVC high nine homeruns. His average was fifth in the league and his .620 slugging percentage was third. He also struck out just 14 time in 189 appearances. Even more amazingly, last season was Tindall’s first year as a collegiate player as he didn’t play as a freshman. Continue reading

NCBWA DI Baseball Top 30 – Feb 24

VIRGINIA TOPS NCBWA DIVISION I POLL
Virginia (6-1) has moved into the top spot in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. The Cavaliers were 4-0 last week and moved up three spots from number four, replacing Oregon State atop the rankings.

Cal State Fullerton (preseason No. 1) and Oregon State (Feb. 17) have also held down the No. 1 position in the initial three 2014 rankings. Last year Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conference schools were No. 1 every week until UCLA captured the 2013 NCAA title.

The current survey has representation by nine different conferences among the 302 baseball-playing schools in the 2014 NCAA Division I ranks. The rankings of 2013 had a NCBWA-poll record 22 different DI conferences and independents rated at least one week while 12 separate circuits had team rankings in ’13.

NCBWA DIVISION I POLL (FEB. 24)
Rk. School Conference Record Week Pvs.
1. Virginia Atlantic Coast 6-1 4-0 4
2. Florida State Atlantic Coast 6-0 3-0 3
3. LSU Southeastern 7-0 4-0 5
4. Vanderbilt Southeastern 7-0 4-0 6
5. Oregon Pacific-12 7-0 4-0 8 Continue reading