April 2009

BIG Weekend

Hey all,

Do me a favor, right after you read this, go outside!!!  It is absolutely beautiful right now in Hickory, probably around mid-80’s in the sun with a nice cooling breeze – it’s officially baseball weather.

After a cold, breezy Wednesday day game, Mother Nature handed us a picture perfect Thursday night an evening ago, and all weather reports are calling for this to continue throughout the weekend, which is fortuitous because it should be a great weekend to come and catch a Crawdads game, or two or three!

On and off the field, it’s going to be fun this weekend.  Tonight, the ‘Dads finish up a series against Lexington, with Friday Night Fireworks.  The series between these two teams has been fun so far, as they’re very similar squads.  Both are relying on great pitching staffs while the bats heat up early this season, and after the 12-0 runaway win for Hickory on Tuesday, Lexington has edged the ‘Dads in the last two, setting up what I’m sure will be a good one tonight, as the Crawdads loko for the split with LHP Richard Bleier (1-0, 0.75) on the mound.  Plus, there are FIREWORKS after the game!!  I’m a little excited.

On Saturday, Kannapolis rolls into town.  The Intimidators are off to a great start this season, at 10-5 already, but only three games ahead of Hickory in the standings.  The two teams will split a four game series between their parks, with Saturday and Sunday games at L.P. Frans Stadium and Tuesday and Wednesday games down in Kannapolis. 

This series, which surrounds an off-day on Monday, is a prime opportunity for Hickory to make up some early ground on the Intimidators, and is also paired up with some great promotions.  Saturday’s game features the Long Sleeve T-Shirt Giveaway, sponsored by Galaxy Food Centers, Ken’s Marinades and Dressings and The Big Dawg 92.1 FM, with the first 1,000 fans receiving free Crawdads Long Sleeve T’s!  The shirts are really cool, so you might want to show up early to make sure you get one!

In addition to being a Conrad’s Little Claw Club Day, Sunday is the Burke County Pregnancy Care Collection, sponsored by East Valdese Baptist Church and 106.9 The Light.  If you donate a maternity item of $5-or-more value on Sunday, you’ll get a free ticket to the game, which starts at 3 p.m.  It’s a great ticket deal and a great cause, so be sure to donate an item!

Ok – that said, now it’s time to go outside and soak up some of this perfect NC spring weather!  Enjoy the sun, we’ll see you at the ballpark this weekend! 

As always, Go ‘Dads!!

Andrew 

Double Dip in Asheville

After the soggy Sunday afternoon in Asheville causing yesterday’s rain out, be sure to tune in for the doubleheader tonight against the Tourists at McCormick Field, starting at 5:35 p.m.  I’d say the Crawdads fared pretty well in their first doubleheader of the season, back on April 11 at L.P. Frans, when the ‘Dads dealt a no-hitter in the first game and cruised to a second consecutive shut out in game two, sweeping the Hot Rods on the evening.  So, you might want to listen in tonight on The Big Dawg 92.1 FM and Hickorycrawdads.com to see what the double dip has in store for the ‘Dads.

By the way, Mike Bianucci might never want to leave McCormick Field.  The right fielder put together one of the most impressive single game performances in Crawdads history on Friday night, setting a Crawdads record with six hits.  Overall, he went 6-for-6 with two home runs (one a grand salami), seven RBIs, three runs scored, three singles, (NOTE: if reading out loud, please take a breath) a double, a stolen base and probably a partridge in a pear tree as well.  He did a lot of everything on Friday, just missing the cycle, to lead the Crawdads to the huge 16-6 win.

How do you follow that performance up the next night?  I’ll tell ya…  Bianucci blasted a laser out of the park to straight away center in his first at-bat on Saturday, then gunned down Asheville’s catcher Jordan Pacheco at the plate later in the game to keep the Tourists off the board in the 4-0 win.

Bianucci is now tied with Crawdads catcher Doug Hogan for the league lead with three homers, and leads the SAL with 13 RBIs already.  The Crawdads as a team have outscored opponents, 55-27, on the young campaign and have gone 6-4.  I have a feeling that if the ‘Dads keep outscoring their opponents by the rate of 2:1, they’re going to finish the season with a whole lot better winning pct. than their current clip of .600, which is not a bad pct by any means. 

It’s definitely been a real good start to the season (cant complain about 2nd lowest team ERA and 2nd highest amount of runs scored in the league, can you?) and it looks like this team just continues to get better and better every time they take the diamond, which should make for a fun doubleheader tonight, before the six-game homestand starting Tuesday.

Oh yeah – have you heard about the No-Hitter Special for tix to Tuesday and/or Wednesday’s home games?  In honor of Hickory’s no-hitter, you guys can get 3 tickets for just $7 to either Tuesday or Wednesday’s games against Lexington this week.  The amount of tix in the deal applies to the three pitchers that combined to no-hit Bowling Green, and the price of the package is in regard to the seven-inning game.  Three tickets for $7, and with the team we have here in Hickory, who know’s what historic game you might see night in and night out?  We’ve already had a no-hitter, a six-hit seven-RBI performance by one player, four shut outs… and we’ll have to wait and see what’s next!

‘Til next time, Go ‘Dads!!

Andrew

 

Really only four games in?

Wow, are we really only four games into the 2009 campaign?  You’d never know it by the way the ‘Dads started off – it really makes you look forward to mid-season form, huh?

Already in this young season, we’ve seen the first no-hitter in baseball in 2009, back-to-back shutouts in a doubleheader, a current three-game winning streak (during which the Dads outscored Bowling Green, 16-2, by the way), Doug Hogan tied for the league lead with two home runs and third with 6 RBI (in three games), Timmy Rodriguez backflips on Easter Sunday and a whole lot more, and it’s all been at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The no-hitter was clearly the highlight of the great weekend.  LHP Martin Perez started on the mound and pitched four of the seven innings in the first game of the doubleheader, before giving way to RHP Tyler Tufts and RHP Fabio Castillo, who locked down the no-hitter with a game-ending strikeout.  Just the third no-hitter in Crawdads history and first of the season on any level of professional baseball, it was unquestionably a special evening for all involved, and something I feel very fortunate to have witnessed first-hand and called in the booth.

The Crawdads went on to follow the no-no with a 4-0 shutout win in the second game on Saturday, then took the series finale, 7-2, against the Hot Rods on Easter Sunday.  As alluded to, LF Timmy Rodriguez kicked off Sunday’s matinee with a string of backflips across the infield, becoming yet another Crawdad to pull off an impressive feat on an incredibly successful Opening Weekend.

After hitting the road this morning, we arrived here in Greenville about an hour ago to start off the eight game trip, as the team looks to keep the early winning streak going.  Weather reports call for about a 100% chance of rain tonight at about 5 p.m., so if you know any sun dances, help us out and dance away please!!  At least there’s no tarp pull for visiting radio guys 😉

Rain or shine we will roll along with Crawdads Countdown tonight at 6:45pm, unless the game is postponed beforehand.  So, be sure to keep an eye on hickorycrawdads.com throughout the day for any updates on that.

Look forward to talking to you all in a couple of hours – Go Crawdads!

~Andrew