Wood Bats Rule!

In a return to our roots, HDL baseball enjoyed the tradition of using wood bats today at Tobey Park.  This special format had been on the schedule for 2012.

Based on the scores of two games played, the impact of wood bats seemed to have a positive effect.  There were less errors than any other weekend of games played to date.  Was it the bats or was it pitchers being rewarded for making good pitches and the ball not exploding into the outfield or through a hole for extra bases?  Instead, we saw every defensive player having opportunities to field a ball and make plays.  Pitchers, Nick Harris (Red); Kevin Latham (White), Andrew Waddell (Blue) and Kevin High (Green) and relievers, Bo McMinn(Blue) and Cory Pratt (Green) all combined for 34 Strike-outs today. Nick Harris and Bo McMinn each had 8 K’s. The stuff these guys were throwing probably would have been the same if players were swinging metal bats. Their stuff was working.

Game One recap:  Peterbilt 4 – Homer Skelton/Metlife 2

Both teams were looking for their first win of the young season so we knew it was going to be a good ball game.  The previous game between these two teams was washed out on a Friday night two weeks ago.  But today the weather was dry and warm.  In the first inning, the Homer Skelton/Metlife team had runners in scoring position but Nick Harris got Kevin Latham looking at strike 3 to end the threat. In the bottom of the 1st, when Charles Mister walked, Tim Harris and Nick Harris came out stroking some hot wood bats.  Two runs scored with the help of bases loaded fielders choice ground ball by Peterbilt rookie Patrick Belote.  The 2nd inning was scoreless.  In the 3rd inning it was Charles Mister again who reached base when his soft fly ball to right field was bobbled. This is when Nick Harris attacked a good pitch and drove in his 2nd RBI of the day.  Kevin Latham then got DJ Clark to send a bouncing ball to White Team 2nd baseman, Bruce Monti, who leaped up to make a crotch catch of the ball. Luckily when he reached down to grasp the ball he got the right one to throw out DJ.  It was a funny moment that everyone enjoyed.

For the next two innings the game belonged to defense and good pitching. Then in the bottom of the 6th with Peterbilt leading 3-0, it was Nick Harris again getting a base hit to top off his day going 3 for 3. Nick scored on  passed ball after stealing 2nd and 3rd.  With Peterbilt runners, DJ Clark and Patrick Belote on 2nd & 1st, the White team “almost” recorded a triple play when Mike Tollison’s line drive was speared by Cory Morgan who flipped to Travis Hill at 2nd base for out # 2. Travis then turned and fired to first to try to get Patrick Belote but the quick footed Belote beat the throw, but it was a close play.

Trailing 4-0, the Homer Skelton Ford/Metlife team scored 2 runs but ran out of outs and the game ended 4-2.

Game Two RecapNationwide 9Xtreme Transportation 5

By 11:30 AM the day had really started getting steamy with temperatures near 90 degrees.  The visiting Nationwide team scored 3 runs by blistering the baseball with their 1st time to swing the wood bats. The first 6 batters all shot the ball to the Green team outfield off starting pitcher, Kevin High. Bo McMinn and Jeff Combs were the run producers for the Blue Boys. Andrew Waddell once again started for Nationwide to get his inning total up to 12 innings and get closer to the mandatory 15 inning restriction for HDL rookies. Andrew was tough to hit but the Green team managed to have a productive inning in the bottom of the 2nd when they sent seven batters to the plate and score 3 runs to make the score 3-5 in favor of Nationwide. In the 2nd inning, singles by Otis Edwards, Aaron Sinzheimer and Green Teams newest slugger, Johnny Birkenstock did some damage to Mr. Waddell’s 4th outing.  Blue team pitchers then shutout the Green team in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th innings.  Meanwhile, the Nationwide Blue team continued to get runners on base and find timely hits that helped them extend their lead to 9-3 going into the bottom of the 7th.  All day long, rookie Brian Nilsen was the thorn in the Green team’s side as he too went 3 for 3, making the statement,”Can we use wood bats all the time?” The same thing went for Bo McMinn as he too was 3 for 3 with 3 RBI’s. Mike Morris displayed his enthusiasm for HDL baseball by going 2 for 2 with a walk and a scored run.  In all, the Blue team had 13 hits recorded by 8 of their 12 batters in the line-up.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Green team got their 1st two batters on base, Jason Nilsen and Otis Edwards. After 2 outs failed to move the runners, John Birkenstock dropped a soft line drive down the 3rd baseline to score Otis and Jason.  “Johnny Birkenstock, Welcome to the HDL!

Some Wood Bat Comments:

Chico Orlando(JDiG) “Good to try this change of pace. I liked the game and would like to see HDL do more Wood Bat games.  Anything to mix up special games during the year will add to value of HDL.”

James Skinner said, “It felt like pure baseball. I liked the way the balls came off the bats when pitchers made good pitches. Balls from a wood bat appeared to turn into outs that would have been cheap hits coming off a metal bat.”

Glenn Coombes, “I liked it,  It had the feel of Real Baseball.”

Aaron Sinzheimer, “I liked it.  HDL should do more wood bats games.”

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