October 15, 2011
Hello and welcome from Swayze Field, where Ole Miss will hold its red/blue intrasquad beginning at 1 p.m. -- although it's actually Blue against White. Crowd is incredibly sparse at the moment (12:50), but we're here, and I'll keep a running diary of my thoughts as the games progresses. The five official visitors -- Gavin Cecchini, Ty Hensley, Jake Waguespack, Chase Nyman and Zach Irwin -- are in the first base dugout. Their families are in the suite behind home plate.
Here are the rosters for today's game.
White is about to take the field. Not the greatest start to the event. Everyone stood for the national anthem, but nothing happened. After a minute of awkward silence, they announced there were "technical difficulties" and to play ball. Mike Bianco won't be pleased with that.
Bobby Wahl is starting for White. The rest of the lineup is as follows: Sepulveda (2), Snyder (3), J. Overbey (4), Anderson (6), P. Overbey (5), Bousfield (7), Jamison (8), Reeves (9).
Wahl gets the first two quickly, but Yarbrough pokes a ball over Anderson's head at short for a single. Wahl locating down well early. Yarbrough should have a big year. He had a nice jump from freshman to sophomore and I expect a little more power out of him this time. The inning ends with an ugly at-bat from Allen. He was indecisive and attempted to pull a couple outside pitches.
Between innings, Bianco is over the P.A. asking everyone to join the Bullpen Club. But as I tried to go to the Bullpen Club website between innings, the domain had expired. If that's true and it's not my error, it's a big problem on a day the program has been trying to hype.
Jamison led off for the White and only missed an infield single by a step on a grounder to short. He can fly.
The Blue starters: RJ Hively (1), Allen (2), Yarbrough (4), Mistone (5), Newalu (6), Kirksey (7), Mathis (8), Judon (9). Quick inning highlighted by a nice play at third by Mistone. Really nice kid, and he seems all-around solid on the field.
Zach Kirksey starts the second inning with a bunt single. Kirksey has the team's highest average (.371) entering the day and could be the next JUCO player to figure it out his final year -- a lot like Fuller Smith did. Overbey fielded the bunt at third but didn't get a very good jump. He was playing back. Kirksey stole second as the ball got away from Sepulveda. However, the Cali JUCO transfer throws him out trying to steal on the next pitch. Kody has been really strong this fall and is the favorite at catcher.
Mistone dribbled one to third, and his competition over there -- Preston Overbey -- barehanded it and threw across for the out. Really nice defensive play I'm not sure he makes last year.
Blake Newalu is the only Blue player with his socks showing, thus he's my favorite for the day. John Gatlin has the pant legs pulled up on the White team. He also just laced a ball into center off Hively. Gatlin was a really nice addition. He's a major depth guy that can do a little of everything. And just as I type that, Allen throws him out trying to steal second.
Cliff Godwin has taught aggression all fall, and that's the third attempted steal so far today. No way that pace keeps up, but it will be a point of emphasis moving forward.
Wahl pitching with glasses on. It has a Rick Vaughn look to it. Wahl just hit 93 in his third inning of work. Hard to see him anything but the Friday night guy come February. He's strikes out the first two batters faced in the third -- Jimel Judon and Austin Knight -- with fastballs to get ahead and then that slider that moves down late for the third strike. In three innings, he allowed just a bunt single. Hit 95 once.
Bousfield kind of reminds me of Mathis. He's a dirtbag that'll play hard, use his decent speed and eventually be a contact guy with some gap power.
Cliff Godwin is coaching third by the way. Kirk McConnell at first.
Brett Huber replaces Wahl to start the fourth. He looks like he's slimmed up a little. In this inning he's using a lot of offspeed stuff, looks like a 12-to-6 overhand curve from here, but I don't have the best angle.
Chase Reeves makes a diving catch after taking a unfriendly route to the ball. Nice recovery.
Tanner Bailey takes over for Hively for the Blue team. He should work high 80s and depend on command and location. Kind of funny not to see high velo from a 6-foot-7 guy, but he's been really good since coming back from a labrum injury.
Huber has concentrated more on location than velocity, moving from a four-seam fastball to a two-seam fastball. Seems to still be doing so. Velocity is a tick lower than last season, but he's working down in the zone.
Yarbrough scores the day's first run on a poor decision by Sepulveda. Huber threw a wild pitch, and with Yarbrough basically already at third, Sepulveda launched the ball 15 feet wide of third base, allowing Alex to walk home. He's had a solid fall, but that wasn't good.
It's a hard thing to quantify, but Ole Miss is playing with much more energy on the field. There's chirping on every pitch and hustle. Seems Godwin's point system may have worked.
Sepulveda with an infield single. Nice bounce back following the defensive mistake.
Mistone with a stellar walk-the-dog play at third. He and Overbey are playing extremely well defensively.
Jamison with a stolen base off Allen. I wasn't sure I believed his 6.41 60 time, but it's pretty close.
Mike Mayers now pitching for the red team after Bailey puts up three scoreless innings. Mayers, a sophomore, is hovering around 90 with his fastball. I could see a Tuesday role for Mayers to start with. That'll be crucial is so because the Rebels can't lose many midweek games. He should be solid in the spring, although Yarbrough just doubled off him.
Kirksey just smoked a ball toward second base, but Anderson made the play. Nice day for Zach, so far. Anderson is now playing second, and Overbey is at short.
Mistone with a clutch two-out single to score Yarbrough and extend the Blue lead to 2-0. He turned on an 88-MPH Mayers fastball and hit through the six hole.
Now it's 3-0 after Newalu scores on a bloop single by Austin Knight. Mayers falling behind and not helping himself. It would have been 4-0, but Anderson dove up the middle and made the throw for the final out.
After Hightower singles, Bousfield placed a double down the line in left. Jake Overbey up with two in scoring position down 3-0. RBI groundout for Bousfield, and it's 3-1 Blue with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Reeves grounds out and the inning closes.
Sullivan with an RBI infield single to take it back to 4-1 in the eighth. No clue what happened earlier in the inning. I was in the bathroom putting a tie on for the football game.
Laxer back out for his second inning of work in the eighth. He's 89-92 on the gun, offspeed around 77-78.
Gatlin in to pitch the ninth for the White team. 1-2-3 frame for Gatlin. Decent offspeed, decent command. It might play somewhere along the way.
Blair Wright in to wrap this thing up for the Blue. Anderson lines a single to center on the first pitch. Weirdly, Wright isn't on the roster I was given. Jon Andy Scott isn't either.
And that does it. Blue beats White, 4-1. I'll have some other thoughts at some point soon. Now headed to VHS.