Monday, June 7, 2010

Paints Hang On In Short Road Trip

Chillicothe 6, Butler 5

Finding a way to win is what it really comes down to when you play baseball and it doesn't matter how you get that win. While the bottom of the ninth inning in this game was less than desired, the Chillicothe Paints did come through and they did leave Pullman Park with a win. Down 6-2 going into the ninth inning, the Butler Blue Sox decided not to go away so easily, and with a few hits here and there, they scratched and clawed their way back into this ballgame, but all they had to work with was the last batter, or the 27th out, and that was more than enough time for the Paints to close the window, so to speak.

I have to comment once again on the setup of Pullman Park just like I did last year, and I have to say that Pullman Park sounds like such an interesting place to play in. I do believe it's a shame that they basically tore up the old version of Pullman Park, the same place where Yankee greats had played for their minor league stints, but overall, I wouldn't bash the new version at all though. I believe it's a great place to see a game. I love the quirky ballpark dimensions of the place because quirky dimensions such as what Butler has gives that ballpark some sort of character, which is something that I believe is being lost in today's new "state of the art" (really?) ballparks of MLB.

Anyway, let's talk about this game. For the Chillicothe offense, second baseman Torsten Boss had a single and a double. Right fielder Jeff Holm had two doubles and an RBI. Catcher Payton Bieker, hailing from the University of Purdue, had a triple. DH Ryan McMillin got an RBI off a groundout. Left fielder Brandon White had a double. Centerfielder Cody Elliott had a single, an RBI triple and a stolen base. Shortstop Grant Goodwin had two singles and an RBI.

Average Runs Per Game: 6.25

Once again, the Paints did a great job of scoring runs. The offense looks to be a cohesive unit as time goes by in this season. We'll have to wait and see what will happen to this offense when critical stretches arise, but so far you have to like what you hear from these road games. It's also comforting to know that the offense will put up enough runs on the board which will set up your pitching and defense to seal the deal. Good job, guys.

For the pitching, Blake Mascarello made the start for the Paints. He would pitch six innings of baseball and he would give up 6 hits, a walk and two runs. He would strike out two batters. Newcomer to the Paints club was F. FJ Lucchetti, and I apologize for not catching his full name even though I was listening closely to the internet radio broadcast, and Lucchetti did a pretty good job overall. He was solid in 2 and 2/3 innings of work, but he did hit major bumps in the road towards the end of his relief outing. He gave up 5 hits and a walk. He gave up 3 runs total off a hit from Ryan Lindquist, who would eventually end it for the Paints. Lucchetti did strike out two batters and he did perform well early on, and this was his first appearance, so it will only take time for Lucchetti to improve and get the wheels going, so to speak.

This was another nice win for the Paints, although it was too close for comfort at the end. The Paints return home for a game against the Slippery Rock Sliders.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Nice Game Played

Chillicothe 6, Nashville 2

I want to apologize for another blunder that I have made early on this season. The name of the starting third baseman for the Chillicothe Paints as of now is not Jeff Corfman, but rather Joe Korfman. The funny thing is that he's listed as Jeff Corfman in the scorecard and I went off of the scorecard even though announcer John Wend clearly called out the name Joe Corfman. I was a bit perplexed trying to figure out which name was the real one, or if Joe was actually using Jeff as some sort of alias. Oh well. We all swing and miss at some point!

Speaking of Joe Corfman, the starting third baseman got in a single to lead off the second inning in this ballgame. For the offense overall, the Paints did yet another great job of getting the hits in when they needed to come in, Second baseman Torsten Boss had quite an interesting game as he would have two RBI singles and two stolen bases. Torsten really showed off the great speed that he had in this game and it was a pleasant surprise. Centerfielder Cody Elliott had an infield single. Right fielder Jeff Holm had a double and a stolen base. Designated hitter Anthony Wieber had a single. Shortstop Ryan McMillin continued to impress as he would have another solid game. He had an infield single, an RBI double and then capped it off with another single.

The Chillicothe Paints got to do this against one of the newest teams in the Prospect League, the Nashville Outlaws, and yes, I'm talking about Nashville, Tennessee. The Paints did get some help to drive some runs in because of the fact that the Outlaws were being a little bit sloppy on defense. The Outlaws had eight hits and eight errors in this ballgame, so that probably reveals just what went wrong for Nashville here. They had as many hits as they did in the error department. In spite of that, the Outlaws did lead once in this game, but that was a very early 1-0 lead in the first few innings. The later parts of the game were where the Outlaws started to come undone.

For the pitching, starting pitcher Ryan Robertson had a good outing for the Paints as he would go on to pitch six full innings of baseball, giving up eight hits and two runs, but he didn't walk any batters and when you think about it, giving up just two runs when you give up eight hits isn't bad at all. Robertson would strike out three batters. The Chillicothe bullpen did pick Robertson up very well as reliever Jared Messer pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, giving up three walks and plunking a batter, but he struck out a batter and didn't give up a single hit, and of course not a single run. Keenan White went the rest of the way for the Paints, pitching 1 and 1/3 innings and giving up only a walk. He struck out a batter to cap off the pitching side of things.

Average Runs Per Game: 6.5

I have no idea why I want to keep track of this certain stat, but it seems to me that it's an interesting enough stat to keep an eye on when I consider that the Paints are hitting the ball as well as they have. They have done a really good job and they are looking impressive, but nonetheless, don't look too far ahead. 4 games doesn't make a season. Averaging 6 and 1/2 runs a game is a great start, but just be careful. One Paints fan told me that this could be a reminder of the 2006 go-around for the Paints organization when the team won their first 10 games even though they were going through some issues such as the injury bug. We'll just have to wait and see if this season is like that season.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Paints Rally To Win Third Straight

Chillicothe 7, Richmond 3

The Chillicothe Paints won their third consecutive game to start off the 2010 baseball season the right way so far, and although it is still very early in the season, you do have to be impressed by how well this team has played. It's very surprising but it's pleasantly surprising. Going into the start of this season, I clearly had no idea what to expect from this new batch of players, but I have been very impressed so far. Paints field manager Brian Mannino has these young men playing tough and playing well, and for this game in particular, the Paints had to come back from behind to win.

Through just three games in this year, the Paints have averaged 7 runs per game, and that's an interesting stat to keep track of already. The Paints on offense have done a tremendous job and it seems as though things will keep going as they have been going because in this game, the Paints have been using their muscle to try to drive the ball clear out of the ballpark, and needless to say, the Paints used their muscle at Don McBride Stadium, the home of their natural baseball rivals Richmond. Oh, and before I forget and talk about the stats of the Paints players, I have to say that I usually get thrown off track when it comes to the team name of the Richmond team. I should remember to call them the River Rats and not the Riverrats or any other variant of the name because River Rats just looks better when read. Chalk that one up as a "my bad."

Starting pitcher Andrew Richardson only pitched three innings for this game, and there was a legit reason for that. Andrew was having an off night as he gave up three runs to the hometown River Rats. He would give up five hits and two walks, but he would record a couple of strikeouts. Kyle Schepel and the rest of the Paints' bullpen arms did a really great job giving Richardson some help as Schepel would pitch three innings of relief. Schepel wouldn't give up any runs at all and he would go on to strike out two batters, giving up just one walk and one hit. For the rest of the way, the Paints bullpen basically shut down the River Rats after Richmond got out to an early 3-2 lead, and therefore the bullpen let the offense get back in it....

...and get back in it the offense did.

For the offense, second baseman Torsten Boss had an RBI single. Centerfielder Cody Elliott had a single. First baseman Ian Nielson had three hits, and two of those hits were homerun shots. Nielson went deep twice for two solo homeruns. Right fielder Jeff Holm went deep for a two-run homerun shot back in the first inning. Left fielder Anthony Wieber had a single. Catcher Payton Bieker had an infield single. Designated hitter Brandon White had a hit and run single. Shortstop Grant Goodwin, a player from Division III Wittenburg University, joined the Paints earlier in the day and he did make an impact on his first day as a Paint. He successfully pulled off a suicide squeeze that scored a runner in the sixth inning.

Overall, this was yet another good game played by the Paints, and this is a good wave of momentum to have. It never hurts to generate early momentum in the season, so let's hope that this keeps going for a little bit longer. I am currently enjoying what I'm hearing from the radio broadcasts. It has been a treat to listen to the Paints play hard against their opponents.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Paints Hang On To Win

Chillicothe 6, Lorain County 3

The Chillicothe Paints returned to the home ballpark of their Ohio rivals the North Coast Knights...scratch that, the team in Lorain have changed their team name to the Lorain County Ironmen, and that team name wasn't just thought up on the fly, but more on that later. The Paints returned to the Pipe Yard and they played a solid baseball game against the Ironmen. The Paints did win, but towards the end it got a bit tight. I guess there's nothing like getting used to your surroundings as a Summer Collegiate baseball player. It's only the second game of the season and the only hiccup worth mentioning was the bullpen.

Eric Heckaman made the start for the Paints, and being only one of three returning Paints from last season, Heckaman has a better grasp of what to do in a Summer Collegiate league. He did a pretty good job in this game as he would go on to pitch six innings of baseball, giving up six hits, a walk and two runs for the night. Eric didn't record a strikeout but he didn't need to while he was in there. Ryan Robertson from Rio Grande University pitched an inning of relief and he did record two strikeouts. Jared Messer from Malone University pitched an inning of baseball and he had the most trouble of all the pitchers for the Paints, but he did enough to keep the Ironmen down. He gave up three hits, a walk and one run, but the Paints had one spare run in their pocket so Messer was okay, striking out a batter in the process. Keenan White pitched the ninth inning and shut down the Ironmen, striking out a batter.

Now for the offense, centerfielder Cody Elliott had a good night, getting two singles while one RBI and one stolen base tagged along with his stats. First baseman Ian Nielson also had a good night, and he only needed one hit to make his statement. He went deep for a 3-run homerun in the third inning that gave the Paints what they needed to win this game. Right fielder Jeff Holm had an RBI single. Third baseman Jeff Corfman had two singles. Catcher Brandon White, another one of the returning three Paints players from last year, had two singles and an RBI. Shortstop Ryan McMillin had a single. A few runs that were scored in this game were unearned, so that will explain why you won't find some RBI's in this review.

One thing I do have to note about the season that's going to unfold would be the odd number of teams once again. As I've mentioned before months ago, the Prospect League now has 15 teams, a number that's up from 11 last year. An odd number of teams means an oddly formed schedule, so there will be times where your team will be away for some time and then all of sudden they'll come back home and play at home for some time, and then there will be times where numerous one-game and two game sets will pop up, making the overall grind of the season pretty interesting, in my oopinion. Odd schedules aren't a bad thing at all, and in fact, I quietly like odd schedules, but it would be helpful to have an even number of teams in the future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Start of a New Season

Chillicothe 8, Richmond 2

Now I may be a bit rusty when it comes to writing articles such as this one because I have been busy with other things during the offseason and there has been some new developments since I last reported news on this blog. I hope that for those who still want some baseball news from this blog will be reading this latest installment. It gives me such good pleasure to write these articles for your enjoyment.

Now without further a do, let's get this article up and running. Welcome to the 2010 baseball season for the Chillicothe Paints of the Prospect League. This will be the second year in the Prospect League for the Paints, and to recap what happened for last year, the Paints made it to the Prospect League Championship Series but only to lose to the eventual PL Champions, and a very classy and respected baseball organization as a whole, the Quincy Gems. However, everything went pretty smooth for baseball in Chillicothe in year one of the Prospect League. That leads one to wonder how well will the Paints do in year two of the Prospect League era.

June 3, 2010 marked the beginning of the second year and it didn't take long at all for the Paints to make some noise and to give their community something to cheer for. Opening Night at the friendly FieldTurf confines of V.A. Memorial Stadium was a blast to put it in a nutshell. Infielder Torsten Boss, a newcomer to Ross County, went deep on the very third pitch of the game (and I somehow kept track of that fact even though I'm not very good at catching those details), and Torsten's solo home run shot pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night, and that tone was definitely a positive tone.

Before I forget, I do have to note that the Chillicothe Paints organization, led by team owner Chris Hanners of course, have given V.A. Memorial Stadium some improvements such as a brand new roof for the stadium. For those of you who have been to the V.A., you probably know why we needed a new roof to be installed. The thing was that the old roof was starting to fall apart for the diehard Paints fans. The old roof has been leaking water for some time now whenever there has been heavy rainfall, and take it from me, who has been sitting near the most direct spot of the leaking, I believe a new roof was definitely needed. The old roof didn't make it feel like Niagra Falls, but sometimes outsiders could have gotten that impression. I love the new roof. It's very sturdy and strong. It's just what the doctor ordered. Oh wait...

As for the game itself, the tone had been set already within the first three pitches, and the hometown team didn't look back after that first solo home run shot. Infielder Ian Nielson had a single for the night. Infielder Jeff Holm had a single and a stolen base. Outfielder Anthony Wieber and an infield RBI single. Catcher Payton Bieker had a great game. He hustled his way to third base for an RBI triple and he would also get an infield single. Returning outfielder Brandon White had an RBI single. The largest amount of what I guess I would like to call "Bat Thunder" would be made from shortstop Ryan McMillan. In the bottom of the sixth inning, McMillin would hit a well hit ball over to the scoreboard in left center field, clearing the official yellow line for a 3-run home run, and it was this home run shot that further separated the Paints from their opponents the Richmond Riverrats and cemented the victory for the Paints.

Of course, while you do need runs from your offense to get you the win, you also need a solid contribution from the guy who's on the bump pitching for you, and for the Chillicothe Paints on Opening Night, they got a solid contribution from the youngster from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Matt Barnes. Barnes, who is also a newcomer to Ross County, pitched a dandy of a game to start his Paints stint. He went six innings deep in his start and he would only give up one run while also giving up just three hits and three walks. Barnes had four impressive looking strikeouts in this first start.

Returning pitcher Blake Mascarello pitched two innings of relief and he would give up just one run off of four hits. He struck out a batter and he did a good job of basically holding down the opposing offense, and that's all you could ask from a relief pitcher in a situation like this. The game is well in hand, so there are no worries. If only I had that one word from the movie The Lion King to help me describe the feel of this game. I believe the character Timone said something that meant "there ain't no worries for the rest of your days."

Kyle Lindquist came in for the ninth inning and shut the Riverrats down, making quick work of the Richmond bats and sending the Paints fans home happy. I have to say that I was more than impressed with the results of this first game, and note that I said "results" and not "result." We got a good win, but I'm looking at what our players did to get us that first win. They played very well in this game and hopefully this game will help set the tone for what is to come for the rest of the Prospect League season.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Returning to the field of play

This is Steven Vitte reporting, and I would like to announce that I will be coming back to give you reports from the Prospect League, an up and coming summer collegiate baseball league, for the 2010 baseball season. I admit that it's been some time since I've last reported on anything baseball related, but rest assured, there has been stuff to talk about, and I believe it's time to report again. Now I enjoy doing what I do. I do enjoy writing articles, but I have found a new passion in the field of writing, such as scriptwriting and making stories, so it's been rather interesting to see how I've progressed as a writer in general.

Now as mentioned previously last year, I had often wondered what the Prospect League would do when it came to the first round of expansion for 2010. In 2009, there were 11 teams playing in the league, which was an odd number, and that led to an interesting looking schedule where one team would sit out for a day or a few days while the other 10 teams would play. Having an even number of teams would seem to be essential and prefered, but after this round of expansion in the offseason, it turns out that the league still has an odd number amount of teams, at least for the moment.

The Prospect League has added four more teams to make the league grow from 11 to 15 teams. The West Virginia Miners, the Terre Haute Rex, the Dekalb County Liners, and the just recently added Nashville Outlaws are the four newest teams to the Prospect League. Since it's now a 15 team league, the Prospect League has expanded from two divisions to three divisions of 5 teams each. The Eastern Division will consist of the Chillicothe Paints, the Butler Blue Sox, the NoirthCoast Knights (but they have been labeled as Lorain, so stay tuned...), the Slippery Rock Sliders, and the West Virginia Miners. The Central Division will consist of the Danville Dans, the Dubois County Bombers, the Nashville Outlaws, the Richmond RiverRats and the Terre Haute Rex. The Western Division will consist of the Dekalb County Liners, the Dupage Dragons, the Hannibal Cavemen, the Springfield Sliders, and the defending Prospect League Champions Quincy Gems.

Here's the Chillicothe Gazette story on the Nashville Outlaws joining the Prospect League, and I have to say that this was an addition that clearly came from left field, but then again, I probably shouldn't say that since the home of the Nashville Outlaws has a huge wall out in left field. The Outlaws will play their home games at Hawkins field, and that's located in the Nashville that you're thinking of. Nashville, Tennessee is in the Prospect League. That's what makes this addition rather interesting because I personally wasn't expecting to hear of this news. I wasn't thinking of Tennessee when I thought of the Prospect League's map, but this just so happens to be a confident summer college wooden bat league that's willing to take on teams from some ways for one season, and then supposedly bridge the gap later on.

Here's what league president, and close friend, Bryan Wickline had to say about the Outlaws:

"Nashville had everything the league was looking for when discussing expansion. Nashville has a rich baseball history, a terrific venue in Hawkins Field and experienced ownership to make the Nashville Outlaws a successful franchise in the Prospect League."

The Outlaws are owned by a group of three executives in Brandon Vonderharr, Jason Bennett and Chris Snyder, and they make up the Nashville Baseball Club LLC.

The addition of the Nashville Outlaws really catches my eye because this could signal some other additions in the future that involve either the state of Tennessee or nearby states, such as Kentucky, more exploring in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I have often wondered if Michigan and Wisconsin will join the Prospect League party eventually, but that remains to be seen because there haven't been any reports of possible teams setting up shop in those places. I remember going down to Tennessee for a bus trip, and believe me, I can't wait to tell you how that trip went. It was great. That was the thing that really stood out to me this past offseason. I went down to Jackson, Tennessee, the home of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, to see an old friend. Tennessee is a great baseball state, in my opinion, and I have read some stories about the past of baseball in Tennessee, so when I find the time, I'll be sure to tell you a story or two about that.

As for the other three additions to the Prospect League, I believe that these are very sound and logical additions. I have always wanted to see my hometown team, the Chillicothe Paints, take on a team from the state of West Virginia, but we haven't been able to do that at all, but that will change this year as the West Virginia Miners will come to town often. The Dekalb County Liners are an interesting case. I'm interested in knowing how they came up with the name "Liners" for the team, so I'm hoping I'll get to find out sooner rather than later. I have read some stories about Terre Haute, Indiana wanting to be in the Frontier League if that could be done, but apparently with the addition of a Prospect League team, that doesn't seem so likely anymore.

Certainly, the look of the Prospect League has changed quite a bit in just one offseason, and this adds some intrigue as to what will develop from here. Once there's something else to report on the Paints or on the Prospect League, then I will do just that, like always.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Frontier League changes player rules

Starting next season, a team can have three veterans and three two-year players, an addition of one two-year player.

In another, likely very popular, move, a club can have one player older than 27 (up to age 30) if that player has been under contract with the team for at least 100 games in the previous two seasons.