The Hounds defeated/lost to/tied(?) the Pirates at Veterans Memorial Maywood Park today (I actually have no idea of the score, it was a scrimmage). The field was underwater at 9:00 am, so for the second occasion this April the Hounds worked to get the game in by working the land. 5 full bags of quick dry and a lot of raking did the trick (well 4+ full bags, quite a bit was deposited in the back seat of my car). It was a blustery day, as the wind was really howling in from centerfield, making every fly ball an adventure (just like the Cubs/Diamondbacks games the last two days).
The Hounds utilized 5 pitchers in 7 innings on the strange uphill mound at Maywood (one even scraped his shin Tom Seaver-style on the mini-mound-within-the-mound between the rubber and landing area): Casey Peterson (#30, LHP), Nick Schmidt (#23, LHP), Phil Zelenka (#24, RHP), Tim Riggenbach (#8, LHP), and Matt Burch (#6, RHP). There were a couple rough innings, but also a few quality shut-down innings from the Hound hurlers.
The Hound batsmen were led by Joe Johnston (#20, 2B/3B, formerly of the Winnemac Cubs), who had three sharp singles. Nick Ingram (#36, CF) had a double off of third base (the actual base) and Alex Mora (#16, 2B [1B briefly, but that probably won’t happen again, and Burch just isn’t worried]) doubled off of the right field fence. Arron Kruse (#11, 2B/1B) reached safely twice, as did Matthew Steffens (#5, SS).
The Hounds (particularly me) were pleased to see Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) for his first spring outing–he patrolled the incredibly soupy third base area with his normal inner conflicts before departing after the game for his daughter’s birthday in the far, far northern suburbs. It took two lefty catchers to replace Tony Correa behind the plate (Tony was attending familial Easter festivities out of town): Garrett Eddy (#22, C/OF) and Riggenbach both handled the pitchers in fine fashion.
I cannot remember all of the other offensive or defensive positives, but there were some things the Hounds will have to work on before opening day–including baserunning, communication on fly balls, squeezing balls in their gloves (me included), and swiping foul balls down the infield line before they jump back into play–but that is what spring training is all about.
After the game, 3 of the Charlies, 3 veterans, and a newbie attended a local food establishment (4 of them for a shocking first time). While eating, a long-standing discussion amongst the Charlies was continued–is it considered “batting around” after (1) the whole lineup bats in the inning, or (2) does it require the whole lineup plus 1? Feel free to think about that on your own.
The Hounds have 3 more practices before the regular season begins at Winnemac on Sunday May 5 at 9:30 am.