OPENING DAY – 2016 – HDL Baseball is Back for Another Season

Opening Day was as good as advertized.

In the past week the HDL has quickly shifted into high gear.  From 0 to 100 in 7 days!  One week ago players were getting together to work on basic baseball skills and meeting a lot of new faces. Then one week later they were organized into 4 teams and blasted into competitive baseball.

Sometimes if you want something to happen you just have to take the first step and make the best of what happens.  That is what the HDL did when we conducted the annual player/team drafts to “get this party started.”

As I watched the two HDL games on Sunday, I could not help but feel a tremendous amount of pride in seeing a full roster of HDL players showing up to participate as part of their respective HDL teams games.

A few players asked why the first games yesterday counted as a “regular season” game?  I have 2 reasons.

1. HDL veterans don’t show up until the games “count.”

2. We have been scheduling “practice” sessions since early March, enough practice – PLAY BALL!

I could tell from the start that players were ready for a challenge.  Their intensity and individual efforts exceeded all I could hope for.  I saw players making good appearances at the plate and equally good focus in the field.  The weather turned out to be a little chilly at the start of the first game but by the time the 2nd game started, players were shedding their long sleeves and hoodies.

It turned out to be a great day, except for some ferocious wind that was much greater than the 23 mph wind that was predicted. Wind gust had to be more than 30 mph at times.  The wind blown dust, at times, halted the 2nd game to allow the air to clear.

Highlights

(Note: Photos used in this particular Blog were taken from photo library due to this writers camera being stolen.  A new camera has been ordered.)

P1030212Game 1 was filled with outstanding pitching with PW Burnett starting for the Cardinals and Juan-Jose Castillo on the mound for the A’s.

PW has been working in the off season to improve his conditioning so he will be a complete pitcher in the 2016 HDL season. With a work schedule that allows him to play regularly, look for PW to be giving his opponents fits.

Juan-Jose Castillo also wants to pick-up where he left off during last season’s post-season play-offs where he was dominating and had his team on the brink of winning it all.

With lots of new players being tried at different defensive positions, starting pitchers did not know what to expect. They quickly found out which players could make plays and those who still need to work on their fundamentals a little more to become more reliable. Normally when two good pitchers are throwing more strikes than balls, you can expect their defenses to be on their toes.

The normal time limit for an HDL double header is “no new inning after 2 hour and 20 minutes”.  We do not say any minimum number of innings is required to be played.  If pitchers throw strikes and batters swing at strikes, the game goes a lot quicker and all players get plenty of action.

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The storyline of game 1 was PITCHING!

PW Burnett and Andrew Waddell shut down the A’s over 7 innings  Together they recorded 13 K’s.  During the season, these 2 teams, in head-to-head matches, will be fun games.

Hitting-wise only three players had multiple hits.  Cory Morgan and Adam Scales (Rookie) who had 2 hits each for the Cardinals.  The A’s had only two hits (total) but one of their hits was a 3-Run Home Run by catcher Greg Bacchus who crushed the ball over left center field.

Game 2 – Lots of Hits

 

IMG_20160410_145123Another great opening game as Lost Pizza Orioles faced the “loaded” Lomax Dodgers. The tone of this game was established in the first inning as Jake Hatchett came right at the Orioles hitters throwing lots of strikes that Orioles hitters were not ready for.  Then in the bottom of the first inning the Dodgers offense sent 10 batters to the plate producing an early 5 run lead. In the top of the 2nd inning the Dodgers turned a rare 5-4-5 Double Play.

In 2nd inning the Dodgers sent 7 batters to the plate and notched 3 more runs before Orioles pitcher, Bo McMinn, started finding his rhythm when he struck out Jake Hatchett and Travis Hill. For the next 3 innings the Dodgers were unable to get any base-runners.

Meanwhile the Orioles scrambled to score 2 runs in the 4th, one run in the 6th.  Going into the top of the 7th, the score was 10-3 after the Dodgers had two runners on in bottom of 6th when Will McPherson shot a “bullet” just inside the first base bag for a bases clearing triple.

But the Orioles managed to score 4 runs in top of the 7th inning when they had 3 hits by Ramon Moretta, Casey Engan and Luis Perez.  In total, the Orioles collected 8 hits and Dodgers had 13. Pat Belote, Brett Delk, Judson Belote, Travis Hill and Will McPherson all had 2 hits each. Will McPherson had 4 RBI’s. Overall it was a fun 1st game for both teams. P1030019

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Where were all the players?

     Even though team rosters are overloaded, a total of 52 drafted players were present on opening day. With 72 players drafted, attendance was 73% .  Notable “No-Shows”: A’s=>Nick Harris, Otis Edwards, Jeff Allen, Glen CoombsCardinals=> Wes Hill, Will Barrett(R), Brad Barnard(R); Dodgers=> Kevin Latham, Michael Hudson, Jason Nilsen, Kris Klinger, Josh Luttrell(R), Ennis Cerezo (R); Orioles=> Juan Blanco, Tim Harris, Paul Baioni, Cesar Roman, Zenorio Niew(R) There were two additional “new” players who showed up unannounced. 

      For the next 3 weeks we (officers) will monitor attendance and players who promised to pay full dues.  How each team manager manages their extra players will be important.  Don’t be surprised if managers do some creative line-ups to get as many players as possible into the game.  In years past when a team had more than 10 or 11 players they might insert 2 players into the 8th, 9th or 10th places in the batting order.

     The way this works is the first player listed would bat the first time through the line-up then 2nd player listed would bat the next time through the order.  The players would continue to alternate in this position in the order for the remainder of the game.  Yes, these players might only get 2 at bats but this actually works better than listing 13, 14, 15 or 16 batters in the line-up because the line-up will turn-over more often and the better bitters at top of batting order helps the players at bottom of order actually get more at bats. Playing defense is another free substitution benefit of accommodating extra players. Swapping out with a certain position can allow everyone a chance to play defense.

Money Back Guarantee:

      I want to mention that the HDL is about fairness to all paid-up players.  If the HDL way of accommodating players is not your “cup-of-tea”, then don’t make yourself miserable and allow your dis-satisfaction to spoil other players acceptance of making the best out of their chance to play baseball. The HDL officers will be happy to refund a pro-rated balance of a players dues if they choose to go to another adult baseball league to satisfy their baseball ambitions. This offer is available to any paid player who decides to “opt-out” before June 1st of any current season.

Next Week games: 

Sunday, April 17 

9:00 AM – Cardinals vs Dodgers;

11:40 AM – Orioles vs Athletics

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