Porcaro is back for his third season of blogging, while King gets his second crack at it. Today is their second entry for the 2014 season.
Brrrrrrrrr ... Hope everyone is staying warm in this ridiculous weather. Unfortunately, the cold temps are preventing us from going down to Kansas State this weekend. Pretty bummed out about that because we were looking forward to playing a team that made it to the NCAA Super Regionals last year.
Anyways, this last weekend in Florida in 80-degree weather was a treat. I’m sure most of you know we took two out of four. Sure was nice to get the first wins of the season, but for the way we played it’s a shame we didn’t come home with at least three wins. We were just a few plays/hits away from sweeping the whole weekend. It’s frustrating but that’s how baseball goes.
There were tons of positives from this past weekend. We played a lot better baseball than the previous week in California. It all started on Friday when we had to play a doubleheader starting at 10:30 in the morning. It almost felt like travel ball back in the day when we were youngsters. Cody Peterson (AKA CP3, AKA Cobra Commander) made his first career start and did an excellent job. Congrats to him on his first victory as a Panther. After getting the first win of the season, we had some momentum heading into the next game against Ball State.
Unfortunately, our bats decided to take a nap after being up so early. We really missed an opportunity there because Brian Keller pitched a great game and our bats just couldn’t give him any run support. But I’ll tell you what; we are going to win a lot of games this year when BK pitches like he did.
That Friday night, most of us were completely exhausted after the early morning and playing two games in the hot, humid Florida weather. Most of us grabbed something to eat and chilled by the pool at our hotel.
The next day was an early start as well. We took on Kansas, a solid Big 12 opponent who hadn’t lost a game yet. The game was pretty normal until about half way through when I feel like our team took a huge step forward. I think it was the fourth or the fifth and Kansas took the lead on a homer. They started to chirp a little bit and that kind of got us fired up a bit. We came back that next inning and belted two home runs courtesy of Nick “The Unabomber” Unes and Ryan Solberg. We were fired up! It was without a doubt the most intense game we have played all season. We got punched in the mouth, but instead of lying down, we punched right back. I was proud of how our team battled and came together that game. We became a unit, and if we compete and battle like we did that game all year long, we are going to be very successful.
On Sunday against St. Bonaventure we had a little fun. We got a big lead, scored a lot of runs, and a lot of guys got to play. One of the highlights of the game was when first-year player Sam Kohnke almost got his first career at-bat. This dude was so excited in the dugout and on the on-deck circle.
I’m not sure who, but someone made an impressive move by placing a cup on his helmet (check pic below).
Konks made it all the way to the on-deck circle with the cup still on his head. Our dugout was doing it’s best to contain our laughter. I think he took one warm-up swing when he realized a cup was on his head. He turned around and said, “Thankfully, I could see my shadow.” Ahhh man good times, good times.
Check out this pic of first base coach/cross-fit guru/All-American Mike Goetz. He said he was sick of the Florida sun beating down on his neck. What a boss!
We can’t express how thankful we are for all of the family and friends that made the trip to Florida. It is unbelievable how you guys travel with us. We can’t thank you enough. Out of all the teams in Florida, we had the most people there supporting us. So awesome, you guys are amazing!! Our parents are the best. There were times during the trip where I thought they were having more fun together than us. This program is one big family, and this season is going to be a heck of time!
Look at all of those beautiful faces! And to make a note, that’s not even everyone that was there!!!
Paco Thoughts ... Braun is going to go off this year. That is all.
EK, your turn…
Well I think Paco really summed up the weekend there! Again parents, thank you guys so much for making the trip to Florida, it means a lot! I’m sure you guys were all really upset that you had to take off of work to hang out in the warm and watch some great baseball. As Mike mentioned, this was a very encouraging weekend for the team. After a rough start in California, to come out and play with that energy isn’t the easiest thing to do! Not only did the pitching step it up, but the bats are continually getting better. This team is really something special and there is a lot of potential on the field and even more waiting for their turn. It’s a bummer that we aren’t going to be able to play this weekend, but that’s not going to stop us from getting better. Being able to relax a little and take in the first two weekends may be that extra deep breath we need to really settle in.
Seeing that this might be the last typed blog we do as we transition into more of a video blog, I figured I’d take this opportunity to pick on a rook. The first victim of the year will be Adam (Ken doll, Justin Bieber, Pretty Boy) Reuss. Adam is a freshman pitcher from Gurnee, Ill., who attended Warren Township. I had the chance to room with Adam this past weekend in Florida and I tell you what ... I don’t think I have ever met a baseball player who spends more time getting his hair ready before a game than him.
All joking aside, Adam Reuss is going to be a key component to the pitching staff this year. He made a big impression on the coaching staff and returning players this fall and it has carried over in the winter and the beginning of this season. He had his first opportunity in California and pitched great. Although he only threw one inning, he faced three batters and got three easy outs. This is definitely going to be a young kid who is going to be placed in big games/situations and I think we all look forward to watching him on the mound.