Extra Innings - Preseason Recap

Go Leopards! Senior AJ Miller is the first contributor to "Extra Innings"
Senior AJ Miller is the first contributor to "Extra Innings"

Feb. 22, 2011

Greetings:

I'm AJ Miller, a senior catcher from Manasquan, N.J. (aka The Jersey Shore, aka God's Country). This season, [seniors] Corey Shea, Rob Froio and I will be writing a weekly blog here on GoLeopards.com.

Everyone is happy that we are currently wrapping up our preseason. Don't get me wrong, we all love practicing six days a week, but games are just slightly more enjoyable. Even though the weather conditions haven't been ideal, we have still been practicing and preparing for the season. Usually we practice in the basketball gym, where we set up a whole field in order to face live pitching. Believe me when I tell you that there is nothing better than facing live pitching at 5 a.m. This is when you can barely open your eyes and the pitcher has no idea where the pitches are going... now that's what I call fun. Thankfully, we only practice that early once a week. Some hitters have compared live hitting in the gym to live hitting on the dark side of the moon while wearing sunglasses. Somehow the pitchers don't seem to mind as much.

Even though there has been snow on the ground since I can remember, we still somehow manage to get outside and practice out at Metzgar on Rappolt Field. On days when its seems like a beautiful spring day on campus, the temperature often drops to a balmy 20 degrees with snow flurries and 25 mph wind gusts out at Metzgar. So our teammates strap on their ski goggles, lace up their snowshoes and climb aboard the dog sled to make the trip out to Metzgar. During those practices, our team is so bundled up that we have often been mistaken for a group preparing to climb Mount Everest. There is nothing better than practicing baseball in those conditions.

Thankfully, we won't have to do this for much longer due to a generous donation and a new indoor batting facility that is being built right behind our field. The Morel Field House is scheduled to be ready for use this season.

 

 

We kick off the season down in Davidson, N.C. this Saturday, Feb. 26, with a doubleheader against Ohio and host Davidson. We then play one game on Sunday against Davidson before we head back to Lafayette. The weather down in North Carolina has been warm in the previous weeks, so we can only hope it stays that way. This will also be our first time on a baseball field this season, so it will be interesting to see how we respond.

More importantly, this will be our first bus trip of the year. Google Maps puts the trip at about 9-10 hours, which to the players means three movies - most of the guys measure bus trips in number of movies. For example: AJ Miller asks, "Hey, Froio. How long is the drive this Friday?" Rob Froio replies, "Oh it's not bad. It's only a one-movie drive." This year, Coach Kinney has promised to bring the movies, which has the team buzzing. We are all anxious to see what he picks. Hopefully it's not a "chick flick".

Tune in next week for a recap of the Davidson weekend, a preview of the UMBC series and a summary of all of the team gossip from the week.

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