Results tagged ‘ Zach Kometani ’

Shipers’ Long Road, True Connections, Chronicling Life

Game one in Clinton was not as friendly to the TinCaps as they would have hoped. Despite taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning, Fort Wayne didn’t score again for the rest of the afternoon. The LumberKings scored once in the fourth, and then two more runs each in the fifth, sixth and seventh for a 7-3 victory. The loss fell on the TinCaps bullpen, which is the sixth time in their 11 losses that that has happened.

Of note in this series for Fort Wayne, is that two players return back to their home state. Travis Whitmore (Burlington) and Colin Rea (Cascade) are both from Iowa. I ran into Travis’ mother yesterday while I was fetching my pregame meal, and she was very happy to be seeing her son playing back in Iowa. Travis told me that he had about nine or 10 family members at the game on Sunday.

Additionally, TinCaps infielder Zach Kometani’s older brother, Paul, was once a LumberKing. Paul, a pitcher, played in Clinton during the 2005 season.

Paul Kometani in 2005

He made 13 appearances, 9 starts, and went 3-2, with a 2.40 ERA.

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Today Fort Wayne’s Joe Ross takes the hill, and he’ll be opposed by Jordan Shipers. The lefty from Bethany, MO, population 3,087, didn’t play high school baseball because his school didn’t have a team. Here are some details from a story written last summer about Shipers:

“The local high school, South Harrison, had just 400 students and did not have a baseball program. There weren’t any summer team opportunities beyond Little League.

So when Shipers was 12 his mother, Debbie, decided to take the dramatic step of driving her son to Kansas City to play baseball, about 100 miles away.

This became Shipers’ routine through high school. The two would drive to Kansas City three times a week for practices, then again on the weekends for games. The round trip lasted three hours. Because Shipers is a pitchers, sometimes those three hours of travel ended up being for as little as 45 minutes worth of practice. When Shipers had multiple games on a Saturday with time in between, he’d head to a nearby skate park to pass the time — much to his coach’s chagrin.”

The only other player who I can think of in Minor League Baseball like Shipers is Brandon Nimmo, the Mets’ first round pick last year. Nimmo grew up in Wyoming, one of three states without high school baseball (Montana and South Dakota are the other two), and had to play American Legion baseball to get noticed. If you know of any other players like this, please let me know. The email is Couzens@TinCaps.com

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, hear my Sunday Conversation with TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin, where we’ll talk about what helped the team to a back-to-back wins over the weekend, the return of Casey McElroy, and the squad’s starting pitching:

SPOT-ON COMMENTARY

Do you ever have one of those moments where you read something and find your self nodding your head in a moment of complete agreement? That’s what happened to me after yesterday’s game when I got back to the team hotel. I read this piece from The New York Times entitled “The Flight From Conversation”. It laments the loss of real, everyday, meaningful conversation with one another, which has been replaced with online blips of interaction:

“We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.”

I think I’m one of the first people to be guilty of this kind of thing. I was on the phone with a friend last night, and he relayed a funny bit of conversation he’d had with someone saying, “If you want to get in touch with me, you can do office intranet chat, GMail chat, work email, personal email, Facebook message, Facebook chat, phone call, text message, Twitter @ reply, Twitter direct message. Ok, I think I’ve named them all.” Look at that list! Didn’t it just used to be either face-t0-face or a phone call?

“I am a partisan for conversation. To make room for it, I see some first, deliberate steps. At home, we can create sacred spaces: the kitchen, the dining room. We can make our cars “device-free zones.”

This is what I do when I go to the gym. I lock my phone away in the locker room and take some time to enjoy solitude (relatively speaking, considering I’m surrounded by people, music and televisions) and freedom from being around my phone. I use my cellphone for email ,Twitter, Facebook, etc., so to not think or worry about that for an hour or so a day is a nice feeling. I have no interest in texting while I’m on the elliptical, anyway.

“Most of all, we need to remember — in between texts and e-mails and Facebook posts — to listen to one another, even to the boring bits, because it is often in unedited moments, moments in which we hesitate and stutter and go silent, that we reveal ourselves to one another.”

It’s just so true. So last night, I called a couple of my friends–one from college and another from home. I learned that one friend has a new girlfriend, and is enjoying life in New York City. I learned that another is going to be starting a new job in  Connecticut this summer. I laughed. I learned. I was human.

Even though I’m in Iowa and was talking to people thousands of miles away, I had an experience that no Twitter or Facebook conversation could replicate.

SMART THINKING

I’ve very few memories before I was, say, in kindergarten. Some people can think back to when they were really young and remember what life was like, but I don’t think that strong memory gene runs in the Couzens bloodline. A certain father out there, knowing that his own child might want to know what she looked and acted like when she was young, decided to take a video of his daughter from when she was born until she turned 12. It’s fun to watch, and reminds me of this video, where a guy took a picture of himself every day for six years.

Since I can’t embed the 0-12 years old video, here’s a link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/thefalafel/amazing-12-year-time-lapse-video-of-a-girl-named-l-4x8q.

MUSICAL GUEST

Brantley Gilbert…take it away!

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

Morning Baseball, Get To Know…, Online TV

Tuesday night at Parkview Field the TinCaps snapped their four-game losing streak with a win over the Dayton Dragons. A win on Wednesday would give Fort Wayne it’s first series victory of the season in four tries.

Zach Kometani hit his first home run of the year in Tuesday’s 4-1 win, and Justin Miller went 3-4, coming a double shy of the cycle. For as much as the TinCaps have at times struggled to get the clutch hit this year, they’ve already had two players come within one hit of the cycle. Last Thursday, Jace Peterson was in need of a triple do complete the feat at Great Lakes.

Not to be overlooked was the pitching performance of Adys Portillo. The 20-year-old righthander worked 4 2/3, he had to leave the game due to cramping in his leg, but struck out a career-high nine batters. His fastball was particularly impressive, as he struck out the side in the first inning, pumping fastballs by Theo Bowe, Juan Perez and Ryan Wright.

Speaking of Wright, he’s from Fort Wayne. He went to Homestead High School, and then played three years of college baseball at Louisville. There are a lot of things that have to go right for a player to end up back near his hometown in Minor League Baseball.

1) The player has to be good enough to be drafted.

2) The player must be selected by a team with a minor-league affiliate in or around his hometown, or have a team near his hometown in the league he’s in. (The case with Wright.)

3) The player must then excel at a level which sees him promoted to where he can reach that league.

If Wright continues to play well within the Reds system, he could end up back in his old college town of Louisville. Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, the Bats, is situated in The Derby City.

Here’s LaMond Pope’s write-up on Wright in The Journal Gazette.

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Dragons Roll, The Physics Road, Wrong Number Etiquette

On Monday night the TinCaps returned home to Parkview Field for their home game action in eight days. However, the result wasn’t as they would’ve liked with a 9-3 Dayton win in the series opener.

Fort Wayne starter Frank Garces struggled with his control, issuing six walks over his 4 1/3 innings as he fell to 0-1 in his first three outings. Kyle Gaedele provided some early offense with a solo homer to straight away center field, and also clocked a double. The TinCaps got multi-hit games from Zach Kometani and Matt Colantonio, as well.

The Dragons entered Monday night’s game hitting just .192 over their last two series, but the bats sprung to life for nine runs on nine hits, and six of the nine runs came in the final three innings against the TinCaps bullpen.

In today’s TinCaps Report Podcast, you can hear highlights from last night’s game, and post-game comments from Manager Jose Valentin and outfielder Kyle Gaedele:

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