Saturday, April 5, 2014

Baseball Opens Defense of Title with Win over Lincoln

The four major sports in America - football, baseball, basketball, and hockey - all have their rabid fans and their great moments. It's a good bet, though, that you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who says that opening day in any of the other three compares to baseball's Opening Day, whether it's little league, Babe Ruth, Major League Baseball, or any level in between. 

There's just something that's undefinable about it...maybe it's just that it has a distinctly American feel to it, or it's just that if you try real hard, you can almost taste the summer. No matter how you try to explain it or slice it, it's just a great day, no matter the result of the game or the weather. 

Ah, yes...the weather. 

While The Red Sox were playing their home opener and receiving their world championship rings 50 miles north of us, our baseball Hawks opened their regular season slate by downing the Lincoln Lions, 6-0. As typical of March and early April on the grounds of Ray Pepin Field, it was windy, raw, and cold. In fact, this was a quasi-historic occasion, as The Network broadcast its first-ever baseball game, and for the event we selected what we believed to be the best location and angle, which was on the lower part of the Pepin Gym roof. As viewers can see by watching the game, the angle and broadcast were pretty solid for a first crack at it....

....but my God, it was cold up there. 

Don't ever try that at home, kids. Or at Hendricken, for that matter. 

The latter part of the game can be seen in the first viewer at the top of the page, and the larger portion can be seen here -

Video streaming by Ustream

Naturally, Network stalwarts Cam Brennan and Stone Freeman were there to call the action and provide analysis, and Max Zweiner handled Instagram highlights and some of the camera work. 

The season-opening win was sparked by the pitching of Mike ("McNasty") McCaffrey (5 2/3 innings of relatively dominant pitching - six scattered hits, two walks, eight strikeouts), an offensive outburst and some shaky Lincoln defense in the first two innings that netted the Hawks all the runs they would need. Some of those highlights can be seen here:

As the game moved into its latter stages and it appeared that McCaffrey may have been tiring, Coach Holloway brought in sophomore Matt Kennedy to throw water on any possible issues. Kennedy closed out the game, preserved the shutout, and punched out three of his recorded four outs in 1 1/3 innings of work. 

On the whole, then, it was a good day for the Hawks - a solid opening win, and the game ran at a fairly brisk pace, finishing in just about two hours. 

Brisk...that doesn't even begin to explain it.