It’s no secret to anyone that I am a baseball person. It’s one of my favorite passions, hobbies, interests - call it what you wish, but I love it. That’s why I was ecstatic when I discovered that I would get the opportunity to cover the double header against University of Tennessee at Martin on Saturday.
In college, I worked UC baseball games with The News Record. In those games, I stayed mainly in the press box, only going down to the field to talk to the coach and occasionally a few players. However, this time I was embarking on a new adventure - photography. Marge Schott Stadium's photo wells are right next to each dugout, so I knew the experience would be, in a word, different.
I got to listen to grown men yell to, honestly, literally anyone who would listen. I heard “woos” and “boos” and “come on boy” from both dugouts. I heard the sound of balls ricocheting off metal bats, baseballs smacking perfectly into the inside of a leather glove, cleats clanking on concrete and spitting - lots of spitting.
They were the sounds of baseball.
Oh, and there were hot dogs, too.
It was, as they say, a little slice of heaven. Just a bit chilly.
In terms of Real Sports Analysis, I was impressed with these Bearcats. While they didn’t hold a lead for a majority of the games, they did battle with that infamous quality of grit. It didn’t feel like a robot team, a well-oiled machine that can often occur in college baseball. Rather, it was a smart team with the confidence to show a bit of flair. And when the score wasn’t in their favor, the flair turned to grit.
In Game 1, Kyle Mottice proved his lead off spot with two runs and two hits. The beginning of the Bearcats’ lineup is stacked - the average batting average of the first four batters is .334. While starting pitcher Cam Alldred’s performance was okay - four hits and three runs off 72 pitches - three RHPs Clayton Colvin, Jarod Yoakam and 'Rec Spec Assassin' David Orndorff provided some needed relief with a combined 44 pitches, resulting in zero hits and zero runs. Rec Spec, as deserved, earned the save, his second of the season. The Bearcats secured the win, 5-4.
Game 2 was nothing short of a heartbreaker. After battling to a 5-5 tie, the Bearcats saw themselves in the bottom of the 9th with loaded bases and two outs. After a pop-fly to short, the inning was over, and the Bearcats would then fall 7-5 after 11 innings.
The games got off to a rocky start for UT Martin before the first pitch was even thrown. Their bus broke down outside of Cincinnati, and while they were waiting for a battery, their starting pitcher got stuck in an elevator. After waiting for both a battery and now a fire truck, the team arrived at MSS around 12:45 p.m, with the first pitch *officially* thrown at 1:45 p.m.
SNACK TAKES. Obviously one of the most important parts of an event is eating. Specifically, snacking. Allow me to give you the rundown on The Snack Game.
I mean, look at this spread. Uncrustables, granola bars, Gatorade bars, fruit snacks? Clearly, UC has an automatic one-up on The Snack Game. None of this has to do with the game being at home, either. Not at all.
And then there’s UT Martin’s Snack Game. Two lackluster boxes of Nature Valley bars, still in their plastic bag. Sad.
However, The Snack Game did even out when UT Martin received none other than Chick-Fil-A catering. From the perspective of a third-party, my vote for The Snack Game goes to UC, mainly for their wide variety of snacks and recognition of the tasty classic Uncrustables.
I like this team. I remember hearing the names of juniors and seniors when I was a freshman writing for The News Record. They were no-namers, relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of the game. Now, they are the leaders on the field, the top of the lineup and the dominant starters. I’m incredibly excited to see where they can take this team, especially when we get into conference play.
It’s baseball season, Bearcat fans. Let’s enjoy it.