The boys of summer are finally full under way. From the lowest of high school all the way to the MLB, baseball is all go & I've never been more excited about it. Due to several unrelated factors I haven't had a chance to pay as much attention to the game until now but that will be changing, starting today.
But before I get into the kick off game, I have to disagree with a common conception. Chick's aren't the only one's who love the long ball. Watching a 12 - 10 game is as enjoyable as a one run pitchers duel. Both happen regularly enough for my taste so I'll leave it to someone else to determine why Baseball's viewership is declining. But onto the summer tip off.
It's almost too fitting that the first baseball game that I locked in was between the Bison & the Jackrabbits. Not only are they continuing the run of competition between the two schools' sports teams but they're doing it with games that count heavily toward each one's post season.
NDSU won the first two matches with a grand slams worth of runs but then ran into an unlikely buzzsaw on Sunday afternoon.
Ethan Kenkel...as in kankel. Never heard of him? Yeah, that's appropriate. He's a big pitcher but was only making his 10th career start out of the four year's he's been in Brookings. Only 38 appearances and an even 5 - 5 record. Not the kind of player that would be considered in the same breathe as Dallas Goedert, Jake Wieneke or Mike Daum but without knowing about his past and with a hearing or watching of his performance as Newman Outdoor the opposite would have been an appropriate response.
He managed six innings of two hit ball. Zero runs, only three walks and six strikes out went along with his outing. On another windy day, the conditions absolutely favored everyone who made the walk up to the bump. The unlikeliest of benefactors was the Iowa string bean. That in no way to take blame away from the NDSU bats. The wind limited their effectiveness but it did the same for SDSU's or the differential may have been much greater. As it was, they should have been able to manage a single run. It highlights again, for the first time, that scoring is not their strength but pitching wasn't exactly either. Ugly but effective will work sometimes, but will also fail. Giving up a single score is hardly a failure but Jordan Harms labored much more noticeably then his southern counterpart and was outshined by his similarly last named teammate, Parker Harm. (Insert name related puns here) The single Harm was the brightest spot on the afternoon for the home team. The fact that he's in his freshman season bodes well for the pitching staff, whether he remains as a reliever or makes into the rotation over the next three seasons. That's the future, this is now. Hopefully the coaches are able to figure out a strategy or two that can more easily ignite the offense, regardless of extraneous details.
What's certain is that a) Baseball is back & b) Summer isn't far behind. So however the games go from here on out, starting with a match up against the university of Minnesota on Tuesday for NDSU, things will only get better from here and the kenkel pain will fade!