Pawtucket Paw Sox vs Lehigh Valley IronPigs @ Coca-Cola Park – June 15, 2018

This was my first time scoring a game at a stadium for Baseball Info Solutions since 2015 when I did it for a season in Las Vegas. I was asked to fill in for the night and after a couple of innings, it came back to me. It also didn’t hurt that it was one of the fastest games I had ever been to. The game only took 2 hours and 7 minutes to complete.

Pawtucket starter Josh D. Smith came out wild early as he walked the first batter he faced and then hit Damek Tomscha. Mitch Walding then hit an RBI single through the middle to give the Pigs a 1-0 lead early. Smith got out of the inning and settled in nicely through his 6 innings of work where he finished allowing 3 hits and 1 run with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Rusney Castillo gave the Paw Sox the lead in the 3rd when he hit an opposite field 2-run homer off of Lehigh Valley starter Cole Irvin. That was Irvin’s only real hiccup of the day as he finished with 7 innings of work allowing 2 runs (1 ER) on 6 hits with a walk and 7 strikeouts.

The teams combined for 18 strikeouts and only 43 balls in play as Pawtucket pulled out the 2-1 victory. Castillo was the only player with multiple hits as he finished 2-4 with his 2-run homer and a run scored. Walding, Trevor Plouffe and Matt McBride managed the three hits for the IronPigs.


Belmont Stakes @ Belmont Park – June 9, 2018

We made our way over to Belmont Park for the possibility of seeing Justify win the Triple Crown. Only being a couple hours away, that possibility drew us over to New York. This was my first horse race and it was a bit different than I expected, which was a good thing. We got the clubhouse general admission tickets that allowed us to get into a few extra places. Although we didn’t have actual seats, we were able to walk around and watch the different races from different spots around the track. The paddock was a cool place to go and see the horses before they entered the tunnel to head out onto the track.

I made two bets on the day. I bet the exacta for two races. I got the winner on both races, but wasn’t able to get the place horse. It was cool to place a bet at the track and have that experience.

The race results from the day were as follows:

Race 1: Win- La Moneda, Place- Out of Trouble, Show- War Canoe
Race 2 (Easy Goer Stakes): Win- Prince Lucky, Place- Rugbyman, Show- Dark Vader
Race 3 (Ogden Phipps Stakes): Win- Abel Tasman, Place- Ivy Bell, Show- Unbridled Mo
Race 4 (Acorn Stakes): Win- Monomoy Girl, Place- Talk Veuve to Me, Show- Gio Game
Race 5 (Brooklyn Invitational Stakes): Win- Hoppertunity, Place- War Story, Show- Hard Study
Race 6 (Jaipur Invitational Stakes): Win- Disco Partner, Place- Conquest Tsunami, Show- Pure Sensation
Race 7 (Woody Stephens): Win- Still Having Fun, Place- Engage, Show- Promises Fulfilled
Race 8 (Longines Just A Game Stakes): Win- A Raving Beauty, Place- Proctor’s Ledge, Show- Lull
Race 9 (Runhappy Metropolitan): Win- Bee Jersey, Place- Mind Your Biscuits, Show- Limousine Liberal
Race 10 (Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes): Win- Spring Quality, Place- Sadler’s Joy, Show- Hi Happy
Race 11 (Belmont Stakes): Win- Justify, Place- Gronkowski, Show- Hofburg
Race 12: Win- Slim Shadey, Place- Compass Zone, Show- Royal ALbert Hall
Race 13: Win- Hammerin Aamer, Place- Mr. Dougie Fresh, Show- Zing Zang

Most of the races were very entertaining, but the race of the day was the 11th one, the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes. Justify started the mile and a half trek out in front and never gave up the lead on his way to becoming the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown. He ran the race in 2:28.18 and held off Gronkowski for the win. It was an awesome atmosphere as everyone was standing and yelling the entire race and once Justify came down the final stretch, everyone began to realize what they were witnessing.

Toronto Marlies vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms @ PPL Center (Eastern Conference Finals Game 4) – May 25, 2018

This was Game 4 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals between the Toronto Marlies and Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Toronto came in with a 3-0 lead in the series and were looking to wrap it up and head to the Calder Cup Finals.

The 1st period was action-packed, but no goals were scored. Each team put one into the back of the net in the 2nd. Andreas Johnsson scored for the Marlies with assists from Chris Mueller and Calle Rosen. Then Travis Sanheim put the Phantoms on the board with a goal from Colin McDonald and Phil Varone. Also, one of the best saves of the year was made by Alex Lyon of the Phantoms. He was able to make a kick save to keep Toronto with just one goal. With a 1-1 game heading into the 3rd, Toronto looked to make their move. Johnsson scored his second goal of the night, this time from Miro Aaltonen and Carl Grundstrom. Lehigh Valley had chances throughout the period, but never could convert. Trevor Moore put the puck in the empty net in the final minute to give the Marlies a 3-1 victory and a berth in the Calder Cup Finals.

Garret Sparks was solid in goal for Toronto stopping 19 of 20 shots. Alex Lyon stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Phantoms, just a couple weeks after his 95-save performance in the 2nd round.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats vs Reading Fightins @ FirstEnergy Stadium – May 23, 2018

We made our way down to Reading to watch some of the top prospects in baseball. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is widely regarded as the overall top prospect in all of baseball. He is one of three former MLB player’s sons on the New Hampshire team. Cavan Biggio (Craig Biggio) and Bo Bichette (Dante Bichette) are also on the team.

Biggio had himself a day. He got the scoring started in the 1st when he doubled in two runs. The Fisher Cats had a 2-0 lead after a half-inning. After a triple, Biggio then scored on a wild pitch in the 3rd to make it a 3-0 game. In the 4th, Juan Kelly hit an absolute bomb to right field for a solo homer. Jonathan Davis doubled in a run later in the inning and made it a 5-0 lead. Former 1st-round pick Max Pentecost hit a sac fly in the 5th to score Biggio once again. Reading finally got on the board in the 6th on a 2-run homer by Zach Green making it a 6-2 game. The scoring finally halted in the top of the 9th when Biggio singled in Guerrero with a single.

Biggio finished 3-5 with 3 RBI, 2 runs and a stolen base, finishing a homer short of the cycle. Guerrero finished 2-4 with a single through the right side and double that was lasered to center field. Bichette, the last of the trio, finished 0-4 with a run. Another former 1st-round pick T.J. Zeuch started the game for New Hampshire and went 7 innings allowing 2 runs while scattering 8 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts and picking up the win. Harold Arauz started for Reading and went 5 innings allowing 6 runs (5 ER) on 6 hits with 4 walks and a strikeout. They were able to get 10 hits on the night, but only one was for extra bases (Green’s 2-run homer). Catcher Deivi Grullon was 3-4 with 3 singles on the night and Malquin Canelo was 2-4 with a stolen base and run scored.

Louisville Bats vs Lehigh Valley IronPigs @ Coca-Cola Park – April 13, 2018

A former work buddy got on with the Reds and is doing minor league video with the Louisville Bats so he got my parents and I tickets to the game. It was good to see him and to make it out to the Pigs game for the first time of the season.

There were a lot of hits and runs scored on the night and it started early. Tyler Goeddel led off the game with a home run and then Rosell Herrera homered a couple batters later, so the Bats were up 2-0 early on. Dylan Cozens cut into the lead in the bottom half of the inning with a homer of his own that was absolutely destroyed to right field off of the advertisement board and was 112-mph exit velocity.

After a couple of innings with no scoring, Steve Selsky hit a solo homer of his own in the top of the 4th to add to the Louisville lead. But again, the IronPigs answered in the bottom half. Jesmuel Valentin hit an RBI single, Andrew Pullin his a 2-run triple and then Joey Meneses hit an RBI single. It was now a 5-3 IronPigs lead. They then tacked on runs the next three innings as well. Cozens hit his second homer of the night, a 2-run shot in 5th. Then, Alexi Amarista hit a sac fly in the 6th and Pullin hit an RBI single in the 7th. They now led the game 9-3. Mason Williams hit a 2-run bomb in the 8th to cut the lead to 9-5, but that’s how it would end.

Tom Eshelman got the win for the Pigs after going 6 2/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 9 hits with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. Cozens finished 3-5 with his 2 homers, 3 RBI, 3 runs scored and a stolen base. He even had an outfield assist, throwing out Nick Senzel at second base. Pullin finished 2-4 with 3 RBI and a run scored. Valentin was 3-4 with a run and RBI. The Pigs in all had 11 hits. Jose Lopez started for the Bats and couldn’t get out of the 5th. He went 4 1/3 innings allowing 7 runs on 7 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts. Nick Senzel, one of the Reds top prospects, finished 2-5 on the night. The Bats had 10 hits, but their few home runs couldn’t keep up with Lehigh Valley’s scoring.

2018 Senior Bowl @ Ladd-Peebles Stadium – January 27, 2018

The week ended on Saturday when all the practice culminated on a rainy game day. The game was one sided for most of the game. Everyone thought the North quarterbacks would power a North victory, but the South dominated and won 45-16. Josh Allen finished 9/13 with 158 yards and 2 TD in a losing effort for the North. Rashaad Penny helped power the South with 9 carries for 64 yards and a 73-yard TD reception. D.J. Chark finished with 5 catches, 160 yards and a score. But, the real surprise of the day was Richmond Quarterback Kyle Lauletta. He finished as the MVP of the game with 8/12 passing for 198 yards and 3 TD. It was a great finish to an awesome week-long trip seeing some big-time prospects. In all, 84 players that attended the Senior Bowl were ultimately drafted come April.

Mayfield and Allen during pregame

The group of South Wide Receivers

Opening kickoff

Some action with the North on offense

2018 Senior Bowl Practices – January 23-25, 2018

We made it down to Mobile, Alabama for a week of football at the Senior Bowl. It was an awesome and interesting experience.

The rosters were highlighted by the quarterbacks with the likes of Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Josh Allen (Wyoming) and Luke Falk (Washington State), but there was so much more talent on the field than just those taking snaps under center. The receiving corps and the edge rushers were also major focal points of the week. Receivers such as James Washington (Oklahoma State), Michael Gallup (Colorado State), D.J. Chark (LSU) and J’Mon Moore (Missouri) headlined a star-studded group of pass catchers. In terms of edge rushers, Shaquem Griffin (Central Florida) was the talk of the week, but he was joined by Marcus Davenport (UTSA), Uchenna Nwosu (USC) and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma). Running Back Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), Guard Will Hernandez (UTEP) and Tight End Mike Gesicki (Penn State) were also on hand in Mobile.

The week got started on Tuesday morning when all players walked across the stage in front of hundreds of scouts and NFL personnel while getting measured for their height and weight. It was a very interesting, but awesome experience to be in the room and witness that take place. The players had gotten their hands, arms and wingspans measured before going out onto the stage to get a height and weight.

The first practice was Tuesday afternoon and each team had three practices (Tuesday-Thursday). The coaching staffs for the game were the Denver Broncos (North) and the Houston Texans (South). Spectators and scouts sat all over the stadium in the same areas, making it a unique experience. One day you may look over and see Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson and General Manager John Dorsey sitting a few rows over and the next day you may turn your head and see Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott standing next to you.

Being able to watch players go through three straight days of practice allowed us to see how they progressed each day. Quarterback Mike White (Western Kentucky) struggled mightily on the first day because he struggled to take snaps from under center. By the end of the week, he looked like he had been doing it for years. Those are the types of things you want to look for in All-Star Games and especially practices: seeing how guys take coaching, apply what they learn and improve from one day to the next. Wide Receiver Marcell Ateman (Oklahoma State) was another guy that struggled the first day of practice, but improved each day and finished off the week on a high note.

Each night, players converged in the lobby of the team hotel to meet with the scouts and personnel. There aren’t enough rooms for everyone to go into, so many of the meetings happened in the lobby right in front of us. Teams would grab an open table and a couple of chairs, sit down and talk for 10-15 minutes. This was another very interesting part of the week and it was an intimate setting where players, coaches, scouts and spectators were all in close proximity to one-another. It was also a good place for us to meet up with scouts to network and pick their brains a little bit on we can do to break into the league.

Friday was an off-day in terms of on-field work. The Senior Bowl Experience is set up in the Convention Center to allow fans to come in and meet the players and get autographs. Having no idea what to expect or how the event would be set up, we made it over to hang out and get a few autographs. Players were divided up into their conferences, plus a line for Alabama and a line for Auburn. Depending on what player you wanted an autograph of, you got in the line of that conference/team. As expected, Alabama’s line was gigantic, as was the Big 12 line for Baker. Shaquem Griffin and the American conference were also in the same line as the Big 12. Needless to say, we didn’t make it up to see those guys. However, we were able to meet and get autographs of Josh Allen, J’Mon Moore, Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh), Harrison Phillips (Stanford) and Nathan Shepherd (Fort Hays State).

A view of the field on Day 1

A view on what’s going on Day 2

Some Offensive Line work on Day 3