Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Daily Deuce #2: Eagles Fly South

Edgewood College pitchers Tony Ales and Glenn Nowell will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Eagles 2011 baseball season.

Edgewood College’s Eagles travelled by bus deep into the moist jungle of vegetation, fried chicken, and barbecue that is the southeastern United States. With the current weather in Madison being cold and rainy and meals returning to ramen and Spaghetti-O’s, the succulent pork of Memphis and the tropical flavor of the hot Florida sun are only memory. Reminiscing being our only option, we hope to provide a full view of what it was like to be in flight with the Eagles.

At 10 a.m. in the middle of the week (missed class – Thanks Coach!), we tied our boots, packed our lunches, and hopped on the bus for Memphis, Tenn. where we faced Christian Brothers University. This Division II team lived up to their reputation as a worthy adversary. We fell 6-4, but showed a lot of potential with some solid hitting and pitching. Everyone was in agreement that we had a lot of victories coming our way.

After suffering defeat, our hosts, the Christian Brothers, were gracious enough to serve some fantastic southern style barbeque before we took off. They may have won, but their hospitality and that Memphis chopped pork was a nice cap to our brief stop in Tennessee.

We rested shortly in Birmingham, Ala. for a quick practice and shower then continued our journey down to Florida. The bus ride was full of excitement. With the movies on full blast and players at the back of the bus’ futile efforts to turn it down, there was plenty of entertainment to help endure endless hours of sitting and eating. We could have fallen to the dreaded “bus legs” but as Eagles, we didn’t need legs. All we needed were wings, to fly above the adversity and conquer the enemy.

We proceeded to beat our next 5 opponents: 2 games vs. Ripon College, 2 games vs. Greenville College, and a blowout vs. St. Norbert College.

We were lucky enough to receive a day off in between playing Greenville and St. Norbert, where many people (including Tony Ales) decided to catch up on some much needed z’s and go to bed early. Others travelled to various beaches and some went to Disney. Dr. Goll, our team Chemist, did both, seeing the Wide World of Disney from the seats at a girls' lacrosse match while napping (pictured). It was a nice off-day, but it was back to business, with games for the rest of the week. The day after St. Norbert College, we were in for a very competitive doubleheader vs St. Olaf College, a foe coming from Minnesota.

*side note: Congrats to baby Eagle Ryan (Bucky) O’Dell on his first collegiate home run and his 5-for-6 game vs Greenville College.

The first game was a classic pitcher’s duel between our very own Blake O’Brien, and their ace Ben Hughes. With scouts in the stands, O.B. threw fantastically, allowing one unearned run through the first seven innings of play. Seeing that this was only a seven inning game, the Eagles had to attack before it was too late. Scott Ortega ripped a hit into left field, putting him on second base. Then our papa eagle, Andrew King, came up to the plate and hit a piece into right field, driving in Scott to tie the game. Unfortunately, St. Olaf would strike again, and we lost a heart breaker in extras 2-1. The next game we did not come ready to play, and lost 5-2.

We had one last game to determine if we would depart for home on a high note, or a low note. Bowdoin College from Maine was standing in the way of the high note we wished to hit. We hung in there for a while, but eventually let the difficulty of the situation get to us, falling 6-2 in the final game of our Southern trip.

Even though we would have liked to have won all the games, there were many small victories in the process of learning who we are as a team. We learned it will take every individual to succeed as a team. No one Eagle shall fly above the flock. The trip south served as a great opportunity to find the areas in which our team needs to improve, and this week’s practice will be about fine tuning and getting back to working hard.

The 24-hour bus trip back to Madison was no cake walk, but the Annual Eagle Karaoke Competition was just that for Joe Gura. His golden voice and witty charm wooed the judges, and his rendition of “A Whole New World” surely would have captured Aladdin’s heart if Jasmine had not had such a small waist.

This weekend, the Eagles have their home opener at Stampfl Field. Saturday brings a double header against Concordia College (Moorhead) from Minnesota. They’re an opponent that we faced twice last year, in a more weather friendly environment (the Metrodome). Don’t worry. Unlike the Metrodome, the roof at the Chuck won’t cave in. (EDITOR: Saturday's games against Concordia have been cancelled) The following day, we face off against Macalester College.

Hopefully we’ll see you all at the Chuck this weekend! (weather permitting)

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