Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

After wet weekends, Ice league finally plays ball

September 20, 2006

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Eric Allen, left, and Jerad Hefner, right, wait for their game to begin Saturday at Holcom Park.

Eric Allen, left, and Jerad Hefner, right, wait for their game to begin Saturday at Holcom Park.

Rain, rain go away.

That's what the Eagles wished for the past few weeks. And on Saturday the Eagles finally got their wish.

On that bright morning, the Eagles played Home Plate in a double-header at Holcom Park. The Eagles won the first game, 8-3. But as happy as they were about winning the game, they were equally happy to just be playing baseball again.

The Eagles played a little last Thursday but it wasn't a regular game. Eagles coach Mike Rosencutter said his team informed him that even what little practice time they had just wasn't necessary.

"They said they're too good to practice," Rosencutter said.

Though his team looked a little rusty early in the game, Rosencutter said they settled down and played well the rest of the way.

"They finally came together after a couple innings," Rosencutter said. "Everything worked out. They started hitting the ball and picking up the ball better."

With the score tied 3-3 in the sixth inning, Rosencutter encouraged his team with an inspirational pep talk in the dugout.

"We told them we have to do something here. We can't be sitting back," Rosencutter said.

The then Eagles came up to bat. And with a runner on third the Eagles took the lead for good on, of all things, a balk.

Eagles catcher/pitcher Paul Clemons batted in the inning and hit an RBI single. Clemons went to second on the throw back to the infield. And before the inning was complete, the Eagles put five runs on the scoreboard, taking a commanding 8-3 lead.

"I came through with the big hit there at the end," Clemons said. "We came through with big hits and ran well on the base paths."

While the Eagles ran the bases with relative ease, Clemons shut down the Home Plate running game. Clemons started the game at catcher and threw out three runners trying to steal second.

"If I was a high school coach, he'd be my catcher," Rosencutter said. "He hustles all the time. There's no slack in his play at all."

Clemons later moved from his perch behind home plate and pitched the final few innings. In the final inning he retired Home Plate on a grounder back to the mound, a strike out, and a fly ball to right.

Clemons said whether it's during the game itself or waiting to play because of rain, his hard-nosed play is just a result of the Eagles' approach to baseball.

"We always have a positive attitude," Clemons said.

Mike Matten, Commissioner of the Holcom Association, said while rain has been a "major issue," the 2006 Fall League is still a great environment.

Since last season, Holcom Park has undergone some renovations. Taller outfield fences, a new scoreboard and a new infield are features fans and players can enjoy. And Matten said the league is a great opportunity for youth baseball players to improve their games.

The league is an instructional league where game rules differ from other leagues. The pitchers can only pitch for three innings and five runs are the most a team can score in an inning. The games are scheduled to go seven innings but there is also a time frame. The games are played on a strict 1:45 time limit. If the game is not completed in the allotted time, the game is called and the team with the most runs automatically wins.

There are no extra inning games, unless, of course, time permits.

And though the rain has interfered with league play, it hasn't dampened the spirits of those involved.

"We're out here every weekend," Matten said. "It's a great way to learn teamwork and educate the players on baseball."

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