Sunday, January 14, 2018's all over....until January of 2019

It's a bitter sweet day on Sunday - time to pack up and head back home to the cold. I love this week of camp but I truly am a home body and look forward to being back home to the "grind" of regular life.

Saturday is the finale night, silent auction, live auction, dinner, awards (team MVP's, individual camp awards), and goodbyes (both tearful and joyful) cap off the evening.

It was a lucrative night for the Lee Health as the camp raised over $40,000 (highlighting the $20,000 Golf cart outfitted by Yamaha and Tim Vernon) so a great night.

Awards were given out and I received 1 of the 3 team MVP's for the Ex-Terminators - we each received the pullovers the Pro Staff wear at the camp for the week with their signatures on the jacket. I had such a great week playing with my teammates these types of awards and recognition is nice but certainly not necessary.

They give out awards and while I certainly thought I would be the in the mix of potentially adding to some of my others -- I was nominated for MVP (under age 50) but it went to a very worthy player in Dave Prybilla -- who I was able to do some pre camp workouts with and while I did strike him out twice in game 1 (yes I get to say I struck the camp MVP twice.....) he went on a tear the rest of the week!  Great job Dave -- unfortunately as they were naming nominees for the award -- so many worthy guys but only one can take it! Andrew Williams took the Cy Young (under 50) award and he deserved that one as well.  I was a little bummed that our team did not get any awards as I thought we had the Rookie of the Year on the squad in a guy from Utah named Todd.  He was a sweet swinging lefty and hit the heck out of the ball, played more than stellar defense, and pitched flawlessly in the 2 appearances he made -- but in the end, the camp championship is more than worth any individual award!

Thank you to all my great teammates this week -- I truly knew we would have a great week on the Sunday evening team announcements!


~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Camp Finals!

Saturday is a great day at camp.  For half the campers they get one more game and a quest for a championship, the other half of camp may be just happy to be done playing baseball - for many campers 8 games in 5 days is plenty of baseball -- the rookie campers if you include the game on Sunday and the Pro's/Rookie game on Friday afternoon -- make that 9 games in 6 it can wear on a few.

The morning game was match up was the Belly-Ups vs. On the Rox -- this game looked to be pretty good match up on paper and it played out that way.

On the Rox scored 1 in the bot of 3 as Scott Ryan smoked a single to right field to get the scoring going. Rox scored 2 more in the 4th to make it 3-0.  Belly's finally plated a run in the top of the 5th to make it 3-1, but Rox came back with one more. Johnny Moore shut the scoring down the rest of the way and On the Rox went on for a 4-1 victory.  Both teams had good friends of mine on the team, but I was rooting for one guy, Randy Beran.  Randy has been at camp for 9 years.....the same 9 I have attended - this was his very first saturday.  Randy gets to go back to MN as a champion -- look for that plaque in 2-4 weeks Randy!!!!!!

The afternoon game match up was Ex-Terminators vs. ReLoads.  This blogger was the starting pitcher in this versus a solid pitcher (maybe the best in camp) in Andrew Williams.

Williams and I both traded scoreless first innings and I was ready to lead off in the top of the 2nd inning.  I fouled off two fastballs and finally connected with a solid single to RF to get on base.  I was able to reach 3rd on a base hit by Holmsman (probably Rookie of the Year at camp) and scored on a the next pitch as they turned a double play -- but the Ex-T's strike first and get a 1-0 lead.  We move forward to the top of the 4th inning with the still at 1-0.  We tack on another run and I was left on the on base circle again -- but we now up 2-0.  I get through the bottom of the 4th inning clean as well - we turned 2 double plays in back to back innings (3rd and 4th) so not throwing alot of pitches.  I had decided I was going for broke today and pitching as hard as I basically can since it is the last day of camp and I figured if I can get through 4 or 5 innings, Van Beach can close it out for us.  Top of 5 now and I lead off again - this time a simple 4 pitch walk.  Holmsman finds a way to square one up and I took off from first right away and score easily -- it was a great hit to left field and the fielder had no chance, the sun and wind were not easy out there.  My legs felt like jello after that and I let Beach know I am going to pitch one more inning.  Bot of 5, we are now up 3-0. They have the top of the order back up to bat -- so I start off the first guy 3-0 count.....but battle back and get him to fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch.  That was big.  Ended up getting the next two guys out and complete the 5th inning of zero runs.

The 5th inning was the last inning for Williams as well, Wolfe came in and pitched a scoreless 6th, Beach got through the bot of 6th (they had a few runners on) without giving up any runs and we head to the 7th inning.  Dr. Karon came in for the ReLoads and we started up a rally and we finished up by adding 3 runs, I had a nice 2 RBI triple to left to cap off the inning and we lead 6-0.
Beach finishes off the game in fine fashion and the Ex-Terminators are the Blue division Champions!

Final Score!

Van Beach!

The shortstop all week Ben Kepple!

The championship picture of the whole team!

Tonight is the final banquet, they give out individual awards this evening to the top talent at camp so we shall see how it happens.

Just had a great week, amazing teammates and new friendships formed this week.

We will have one more blog post tomorrow and wrap it up! 


~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday, January 12, 2018

Semi Finals Friday

Big day at camp -- the teams all vie for the right to play in the championship game by winning on Friday - we were seeded #2 so we will play the #3 seeded Overachievers.  This was the only team that defeated us at camp so far - we didn't play our best and they played a good game - so we wanted to turn the tables a bit.  We started Bill Clabots -- a solid pitcher (and steady catcher) here at camp.  Bill will mix up speeds and for the most part - throws strikes.  He pitched a gem of a game on Tuesday afternoon so we were looking for that type of outing.

We get into the top of the first and Bill was not throwing strikes -- we escaped only giving up 1 run, a couple hits, a walk, and misplayed ball gave them the opportunity to get on the board.  The top of the 2nd was more of the same -- this time we held them to just another run and down 2-0. Our bats were quiet in the first and I was the first out in the 2nd inning. The next batter got a hit and since he has a bad hammy I was ready to run for him, a wild pitch gets me to 2nd base, Bill hit a grounder up the middle and I rounded third, the first baseman bobbled the ball and then looked at the umpire -- I saw this and took off for home -- I slid in just before the throw and we finally get on the board for a 2-1 game.
The top of the third was real dicey, the Overachievers loaded the bases with nobody out -- a grounder to third created a home to third double play and Bill got the next batter out to do his best Houdini impersonation -- we escaped again.

Bat quiet in the bot of third for the Ex-Terminators -- Bill puts together a 1-2-3 fourth....nice inning Billy.  We catch a break by getting the first batters on -- one via hit and one via Hit by Pitch.  We load the bases with a walk and then score 3 runs via a walk, hit by pitch, and yes...another walk. So the pitcher really gave us those runs and we now lead 4-2.

Bill settled in very well in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings -- we turned 2 double plays in each of the last 2 innings to knock out the victory.

That was a close one.

Tomorrow's Match Ups as the "home" team won every game (#1 vs. #2 & #5 vs. #6)

On the Rox vs. Belly Ups - they play at 9:30am in Hammond

Ex-Terminators vs. ReLoads - 12:15 PM game in Hammond.

You can watch both games via internet stream by clicking on this link: 

We have Kangaroo Court in session this evening and look forward to seeing if the judge finds a way to make the campers pay!

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday -- it's all winding down - Round Robin Play ended today - Final Standings (unofficial)

We finish off the week of round robin play with 2 more games today - it was quite humid in the morning again and warmed up to about 80 degrees - a nice breeze out there made it feel manageable but the morning game was "sticky" -- my towel I had on the fence was extremely helpful.

Morning Game - make it short -- this was a completely ugly game -- we won 18-10 but took too long, too many walks, even the umpire called for a trainer!! I have been having a pretty decent camp hitting and continued that pace by going 2 for 2 and a bases loaded triple to help us get by the pesky "Last Call" team (which is not a very good team)

Moving on to the afternoon game - we played the undefeated ReLoads.  By courtesy of our poor pitching/defense we needed to beat them by more than 8 runs to secure a #1 seed -- well we got close we beat them 5-0 - we got 5 runs in the bottom of the first inning and that was it -- no more scoring. I capped my day by going 1 for 1 and a walk and finished the camp a sizzling 11 for 15 (now mind you had about 4 hits which were texas leaguers, bleeders, found the right spot.....etc etc) -- but I will take the .733 batting average. This week is by far my best week at the dish. Usually hitting around .450 or so -- this week I was pretty focused and not tired most times I was up at the plate.

UnOfficial Final Standings --

1) ReLoads   6-1
2) Ex-Terminators  6-1
3) OverAchievers  4-3
4) Dilly Dilly's  3-4

5) On the Rox   3-4
6) Belly Ups    2-5
7) Lombo Stingers  2-5
8) Last Call  2-5

Friday's games will be Semifinals -- 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3 for the "Blue" Championship bracket and the 5 vs 8, 6 vs 7 for the "Red" Championship brackets.  Winners move on and play a single game for all the marbles in Hammond Stadium on Saturday.  Should be a fun - generally these games are close and very competitive -- I hope we come out with an edge and fire.

I do think I am going to quit with my predictions -- I again had 4 right and 4 wrong -- so a monkey could have did just as well - I totally missed the ReLoads -- I am actually surprised they went 6-1, the offensive machine is not there - we pitched 4 different pitchers today and held them to 0 runs -- they had chances to score but overall that is a clear weakness - they have 3 very good pitchers....but used 2 of them today so they more or less just have 1 available tomorrow - so we will see how they fare.

Our team is in good shape a couple injuries might slow down a couple key spots but we feel good about our chances and hope we catch a couple breaks along the way.

Viola giving us some instructions!


~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It's Weds -- we play 1 at camp

 So we play one here on Weds and as a pre gamer I decided to go find Jo-Boo (see Major League -- and since his locker mate owner was not around --

It was a short shot of rum......

So this happened today -- my new battery mate for the day is Van Beach

Van's 7th camp, my 9th camp -- so we have followed this timeline:
1) I hit him with a pitch in his rookie game in 2011
2) We were teammates in 2011, 2012 (both Championships)
3) We were Fr-enemies for a short time (but in a good way)
4) Teammates again this year
5) Now we are battery mates!

It was a fun day throwing to Van.  We clicked, Van called a pitch, I threw it.
We worked it well and I threw 6 innings of shutout ball and I am going to give a big shout out to him for being such a great guy to throw the rock. Mike Hickey came in for a 5 pitch outing to finish off the game and we got the win 8-0.

We have the afternoon and it is much needed!

Updated Camp Standings:

Re-Loads                5-0
Ex-Termination's    4-1
Overachievers        3-2
Dilly's                     2-3
Last Call                 2-3
On the Rox            2-3
Lombo Stingers     1-4
Belly Ups               1-4

So two more games tomorrow -- lots of possibilities out there!


~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~