…And Then Lose Game Two of the Doubleheader

Matt Jackson warms up prior to the game

The Silverhawks were not so lucky in the second game of the doubleheader. The offense never got going, and they were shutout again. The Tincaps scored the same two runs that they scored in the first game, but this time got the W. This game was hard to watch as a Hawks fan. They led off the game with a double by Mike Freeman in the first, and added a triple by Chris Jarrett in the second, but could not get another hit. That was due to a strong pitching performance by Matt Jackson. He pitched five innings only giving up the two hits and striking out five.

Closer Adam Dominick warms up before going in the game

The Tincaps relievers were good as well. Yefri Carvajal pitched a scoreless 8th, and Adam Dominick pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game. Not only did they not give up a run, they did not give up a hit.

Silverhawks pitching coach Wellington Cepeda makes a mound visit to talk to J.R. Bradley during Saturday's game

This was my third trip to the Cove this season, and the third time I have seen J.R. Bradley pitch for the Silverhawks. Sadly it was also the third time I have seen him lose as well. He really did not pitch badly. He just didn’t have the defense behind him yesterday. If you can to almost six innings only giving up two runs you should have a shot at the win. He did not though.

Zach Walters flips the ball to Mike Freeman in between innings

This game will be remembered by me more for the weird top of the sixth inning than anything else. I had three Silverhawk errors on my scoresheet, but the official scorer only gave them two. The inning started with an error by Silverhawks third baseman Matt Helm. After a fly out to left Wande Olabisi hit a ball to second baseman Zach Walters who was near the bag. After a moment of indecision he flipped the ball to shortstop Mike Freeman who was on the bag. The ball was wide of the bag, and hit off the edge of Freeman’s mitt. I gave Walters an error on the throw. Reading the official log of the game I see where it was just scored a fielder’s choice with no error given. To me that is a play that should be made. In my mind the batter gets a fielder’s choice, and the runner that was on first before the hit only makes it to second because of the error. I kept my sheet how I had it. I am way too easy usually when it comes to giving errors, but this definitely was one. Another error by Helm allowed the second run of the game to score. This was rough for Bradley who was pulled after the third error of the inning, but when he received no run support from his team it would not have mattered.

During the game a ball was hit by Zach Walters just a section over to my right. A grown man took the ball from right in front of a little girl after it landed. I went many years without getting a ball at a game, but I would never take one from a kid. The little girl moved over a section and started crying just a few rows behind me. A Silverhawk usher made his way through the construction zone to try and find a ball he knew was hit there earlier in the game. He found the ball and surprised the little girl with it. That made here day, and showed once again why I love going to games at the Cove. He went out of his way to make her happy. They really are trying to give the fans the best experience possible. If you have the time make your way out to the Cove to see what they are doing this year.

Here are some of the pictures that did not make the main portion of the post:

Roberto Rodriguez pounds a ball into the dirt. The Silverhawks had a rough time getting good wood on the ball in game two

Ramon Castillo is easily thrown out at second after a failed hit and run

Rabbits love carrots

Here are my scorecards for game two:

The Tincaps game two scoresheet

The game two scoresheet for the Silverhawks

I Finally Get to See the Silverhawks Get a Win…

The young fans ready to attack the eggs on the field prior to the game

This was my fourth Silverhawks game of the year, and the first time that I saw them win. I really wanted to go because it was a beautiful day, and besides that it was another doubleheader. When I walked into the stadium I realized that I may have made a mistake. On the way in I saw a young kid crying, and his mother up in arms over how they were charging to get into the game. Because of the charge her daughter would not be able to attend the Easter Egg hunt. Of course we all know that you have to pay to get into games, or at least I thought everyone did. The field was full of kids when I sat down, and then I realized that I was about to be surrounded by them. I moved as far towards the left field wall as I could, and had a peaceful Saturday. Continue reading

Beautiful Day, Tough Game

I am way behind on this blog. I have been to two sporting events that I have written absolutely nothing about. The first of those was Wednesday night when I went to Coveleski Stadium to watch the Silverhawks take on the Fort Wayne TinCaps. This is only the second year that the TinCaps have existed (they previously were the Wizards), but I have seen them play five times already. Whenever I head to South Bend it always seems to be Fort Wayne or Lansing that is in town. Continue reading

Simon Castro Is Nearly Part of Another No-Hitter

Last night I was at the Silverhawks game against the Fort Wayne Tincaps. This was game one of the Midwest League Playoffs. As I was driving over to South Bend the rain really was coming down. I got soaked just going from my car to the will call window, and then into the stadium. I talked to the reporter from the local station who told me that the rain was only supposed to last for 10 minutes according to the local weather guy. Of course that was almost an hour before I talked to him. Sometimes weathermen have bad days. The weather did clear up, but not before a 44 minute rain delay. The weather might have had a negative impact on the fans, as only 586 showed up for the game.

When the game started I was excited to see Simon Castro pitch again. I saw him earlier in the season, but that was well before his no-hitter. As the innings piled on I kept looking at my scorecard wondering if he could do it again. He hit a batter in the fourth to lose the perfect game, and walked another batter in the fifth. He had an easy time with the sixth inning striking out two. I really thought that maybe this could happen now. In the seventh he got the first two batters out before walking two straight. That was the end of the day for Castro. Nick Schumacher came in and hit Rossmel Perez to load the bases. He got Clayton Conner to strikeout to end the inning, and bring the Tincaps to within six outs of another no-hitter. Zach Herr came in to pitch the eighth, and although he looked shaky he got the first two batters of the inning out. Four outs away. The Silverhawks Reynaldo Navarro was not going to be part of a no-hitter though, as he singled into centerfield. Alfredo Marte followed that up with a hit to give the Silverhawks a threat late. Ryan Wheeler struck out to end the inning. Brad Brach pitched a perfect ninth to seal the game for the Tincaps. Two lousy hits that amounted to nothing kept me from seeing a no-hitter. As long as it was going to be ruined why didn’t it happen in the seventh when it would have meant something to the Silverhawks? It was a good game, but the Silverhawks ended up losing 3-1. They now trail the best of three series 1-0, and they head to Fort Wayne for the next two games. They need some help if they want to advance. This may have been my last Silverhawk game of the season.

Hawks Down the Tincaps in the Nightcap

The second game of the doubleheader was much more of a nail biter. Going into the bottom of the fifth it was only a 1-0 game. The Silverhawks got that run on a double by Rossmel Perez in the first. In the fifth they scored three runs off of reliever Colin Lynch. Lynch pitched 1 1/3 innings walking four. Two of those four walks came around to score. Reynaldo Navarro did not play in game one, but went 3-4 with two runs scored in game two. He was setting the table the way leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock should be doing. He is shown in the upper left picture warming up pre game. The sweep of the doubleheader was so crazy because the Hawks had only beaten the Tincaps once in the previous sixteen times that they had played this season. Today the Silverhawks looked like the team leading the division. Rossmel Perez looks like the real deal at catcher. From what I saw today he is a good hitter who can also field. He switch hits too! We might be seeing this guy up in the bigs soon. He is shown to the right hitting his double in the first. Not only is a great asset to the team, but he has a great walk up song. The real stars of the game though were the Silverhawk pitchers. Jordan Meaker and Brian Woodall combined to shut out Fort Wayne. They only gave up two hits and two walks in seven innings. They held the team that is currently 3rd in the league in batting to two hits. It was a great effort by these two hurlers. The closest the Tincaps came to scoring was in the fourth when a walk, a hit, and a fielder’s choice put runners at first and second with one out. A fly out to left followed by a great catch by Pollock in center ended the threat. Maybe the team is finally coming around. They are now one game under .500. Of course they will have to beat the Tincaps tomorrow to get there. The road does not get any easier.
A lot of fans in the stands are wearing Notre Dame apparel. That is no surprise considering that the campus is a stones throw away. That is what makes the fact that A.J. Pollock is playing for the Silverhawks so cool. He is the local boy that has hit the big time. He was the highest drafted player out of Notre Dame when he was picked #17 this summer. For some reason I thought that he had a bad day today, but looking at my scorebook I see that he went 3-8 with two singles, a double, and a run scored. I guess I just expected him to get a hit everytime. It did seem like he made an out in every big inning the Hawks had though. He made a few nice plays in the field though. He got some great jumps on balls that made the plays look easy. In the fourth inning of the second game he came from left center to make a running catch on a Allan Dykstra drive. When the ball was hit I thought that nobody could get it. Not only did he get it, but he had some room to spare. If he can cover that kind of ground, then the sky is the limit for him.
Tomorrow I will be at Wrigley Field to see two teams from the Pacific Coast League square off. The Iowa Cubs will be taking on the Las Vegas 51′s. I always knew that it was a minor league park.

A Super Way to Start a Doubleheader

I was debating what to do this morning. I wanted to go see the Charlotte Knights play in Indy, but at the same time the South Bend Silverhawks were playing a doubleheader against the Fort Wayne Tincaps. What made that game appealing besides the fact it was a doubleheader was that as my promotion post showed anyone wearing super hero apparel would get in for free. 14 guaranteed innings of baseball for free? My choice was made right away. It looks like I missed seeing former Sox farmhand Dexter Carter by one day. I am sure I will hear from him in the future though.

The game started out badly for the Hawks. The Tincaps turned an error and some timely hitting into three runs in the top of the first. Fort Wayne is the best team in the Midwest League right now, so things looked bleak. Something happened in the bottom of the inning though. The Silverhawks scored five runs to take the lead. Tincaps starting pitcher Simon Castro struck out the first two batters that he faced. He also struck out the last two that he faced. What he had trouble with were all of the batters in between. He gave up six runs in the three innings that he faced. All nine Silverhawk batters came up in the first innings. The scoring was highlighted by the three run home run by Alfredo Marte. The Silverhawks scored three more the rest of the game to win it 8-4 in seven innings. For a team with only 18 second half wins this was a big deal. The team was hot. If only they could play another game right away. Oh wait…in thirty minutes there would be a game two.

Stadium Guide: Parkview Field

At the begining of May I was lucky enough to get to see the finest single A stadium that I have seen to date. That is Parkview Field in Fort Wayne. This stadium is by leaps and bounds a better ballpark than any other single A stadium that I have been to. That list is still short, but I can’t imagine many better than this. The park looks like it could be a Triple A ballpark very easily. They have done a lot right with this park. One of those things has to do with the seating arrangements. Pick a way that you would like to see a ballpark and they have it. You have the normal stadium seats, pinic tables, a lawn area, lawn seats (not the same because they are built into concrete tiers with grass on top to sit on), and suites. This place has it all. I sat in the second row on the first base side, and had a great view of the Fort Wayne dugout while watching the game. No more hidden players. This could be looked at as both a positive and a negative I guess. Another shocking thing about the stadium was the bathroom smell. It smelled like fresh paint, and not underpass hobo. I know the stadium has only been open a month or so, but it is refreshing not having to hold your breath in the bathroom. The stadium has no shortage of picnic areas. Both the first and third base lines have a nice picnic area near the foul poles. They also have a new take on the lawn seating philosophy. They have constructed concrete tiers with grass as a seat. These are not your normal everyday seating in the lawn.

The stadium is fairly easy to get to, and the parking is affordable. It was only $4 to park just across the street from the stadium. Right now they are busy building the surrounding area to the park up, so it takes away a little from your overall view as you walk around the stadium. It also makes it a long walk around the outside of the park.
One feature that I really enjoyed about the park was the fact that they have the batting cages for the players on the concourse. If walk down the right field line you will run into them. It was fun watching the kids eyes get big watching the players get their swings in before the game. The picture on the right shows one such family watching a Tin Cap get ready. Once the players leave the area kids can pay $2 and take some swings themselves. Another cool feature of the park is the menus at the concession stands. They are not the normal jumble of letters put together on the board. They have nice LCD screens that seem a little over the top, but it did give me something to talk about.

As usual the focal point of the guide centers around the scoreboard. This can make or break a game. With this being a new stadium you would expect a great scoreboard. It does not dissapoint. It is not even in the ballpark. It is attached to a parking garage that is located just outside of right field. The board gives you the linescore, the lineups, a great amount of detail of each batter, and even replays! It is really nice to be able to see a replay at a minor league stadium. Unfortunately with only two umpires on the field for Midwest League games this may cause some issues with the umpires. As you can see it has been done in such a way that is matches the rest of the stadium. The one thing that they do not do well with the scoreboard is announce/show the pitching changes. This makes keeping score a little harder if you don’t know both teams. They do encourage keeping score by handing out free programs with scorecards. Lots of families were keeping score on the gorgeous day that I was at the park. This is a beautiful stadium that is not too far from here. Being in Fort Wayne it is not really to bad of a drive from most parts of Indiana. If you can make it to a game here I would suggest that you try it out.

Parkview Field By the Numbers:
Date of Groundbreaking: December 26, 2007
Date of First Game: April 16, 2009
Cost of Construction: $30.6 million
Seating Capacity: 8,100
Left Field Fence: 336 ft.
Center Field: 400 ft.
Right Field: 318 ft.
Date of visit: 5/2/2009

Tincaps for the Nightcap

Today I was in Lake Winona for a cycling event, and decided to make the short trip to Fort Wayne to see Parkview Field. This is a brand new beautiful stadium that puts other single A stadiums to shame. This looks more like a triple A stadium than a single A one. We will get into that more in another post though.

The Tincaps are the former Fort Wayne Wizards. They changed their name when they moved across town. They won 6-1 today to improve to 16-6 on the season. Dayton on the other hand fell to 6-16 on the season. The Dragons only managed five hits on the day, and were shut down once reliever Matt Latos entered the game in the fourth. Adam Zorn did not have the best average coming into the game, but he went 2-4 with a walk, scored twice, and hit a home run. Every Tincaps player got on base at least once today. They belted out 14 hits, walked 8 times, and had one hit by pitch. That was very ugly. Tincaps first basemen Allan Dykstra took a pitch to the wrist and appeared to be in a lot of pain. As he was standing on first I watched it turn a deep purple very quickly. He toughed it out, and stayed in the entire game. If you zoom in on the picture below I suppose that you could read Midwest League Commissioner George Spelious’ name on his wrist.
I have heard rumors that this team was good. They are supposedly the future of the Padres organization. If the way that they are playing against the competition is any sign, then the future is bright. Once again I was very impressed with a new ballpark, and will probably end up back here someday. I could not find a bad seat in the house, and the home team seems to be pretty good. It will be interesting to see what happens to these players as time goes on.
This game featured a matchup of managers with past pro experience. Todd Benzinger manages the Dragons, and Doug Dascenzo manages the Tincaps. Benzinger was a former Red so managing their farm club makes some sense. He just ran into a buzzsaw today.
May is starting out just like April ended. In April I went to 12 baseball games including two new stadiums. I have been to a game on every level of baseball except double A so far this year. That may have to wait a while though. We really don’t have any close double A stadiums around here. Who knows where my next game will be?