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Blog: Getting a feel for the field

D.C.’s HIDDEN HAVEN FOR BASEBALL 

By: Tiffany Seal

Before last night’s game against the league leading Redbirds, the weather was iffy and looking like a game was not in the cards. It poured for a solid hour. There are very few fields in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League that could withstand the down pour that the Washington Nationals Youth Academy field took. For those of you who are not familiar with this state-of-the-art facility I will give you a quick rundown:

There are three fields. Two are Little League fields for DCLL, the third is home to the DC Grays. All the fields are turf (base paths too). There is a permanent concession stand attached to the indoor batting cages and offices/classrooms which are utilized by multiple programs to help inner-city youth learn valuable life lessons through the game of baseball.

I was curious about what the guys thought of their time playing at this facility, so I took advantage of the downpour and got the inside scoop from several position players and pitchers.

This is what they had to say:

 Connor Van Hoose (Pitcher) (Bucknell):

“All turf is a plus for pitchers because that means not as many errors by fielders. I played here in highs school, so its like coming home, which is pretty sweet.

Also I think this field is different because this team is different in the way that we set up our summer, so we have classrooms next to our field so we can work with local kids while all the others teams in our league don’t. We have a whole other side which is our DC community.”

Marlon Pruitt (Pitcher) (Grambling State):

“Usually none of our games get rained out. Dislikes are the short porch in left, the 307 foot.”

What do you think about the mound?: “The mound is the best mound I’ve pitched on out of all my years of playing.”

How about the bullpen: “The sun sets behind us in the bullpen, so an awning would be nice out there.”

Will Korosec (Pitcher) (Stevens Institute of Technology):

Take a look at what Will Korosec had to say about the Youth Academy.

 

Colton Shaver (Cather/1B ) (BYU):

“This facility is awesome, I love this facility. I love playing on turf, turfs my favorite. This is one of the nicer facilities [in the league] for sure. ”

Kurt Sinnen (INF) (Old Dominion University), Aaron Inman (INF) (Loyola), & Harry Thomas (pitcher) (UNC Greensboro): 

Sinnen, Inman, and Thomas had interesting takes on the field and being able to play so close to home.

Zach Irwin (pitcher) (East Mississippi CC):

“I enjoy playing on turf, its a more consistent play. You know a lot of the fields out here are weathered just through the rain and the heat, but out here we get consistent play. Its good to know where the ball is going to be everyday and how its going to hop.”

What do you think about the bullpen? “Its a nice bullpen, especially me being a pitcher, its a good place for us to hang out.  Staying out of the dugout because we’re a crazy little bunch. Its good for us to be down there and have a good ‘pen like that and actually take pride in it.”

Are there any comparable fields in the league? “The Big Train’s field is nice and the Redbirds field is nice, but this facility is by far hands down the best and nicest facility. With the Nationals allowing us to play here its a joy.”

So…overall, the players have really enjoyed playing at this facility and on the turf. The mound was done by the Washington Nationals ground crew, and the pitchers that I talked to all have had nothing but good things to say about it.

Personally, I have made it to a couple of road games this season and have seen first hand how lucky the DC Grays are to play at the Youth Academy. The playing surface is pristine and reliable each game, and even the little things like the speaker system and the bleachers are bar-none the best in the league. With all of these amenities, the Grays have maintained their focus as ambassadors of baseball for inner-city youth. Using the game of baseball as a way to foster teamwork and life lessons through camps and mentoring by Grays players and coaches. In keeping with their mission of making baseball accessible to all, the cost of admission to each game is….nothing. It is uncommon for ANYTHING in the D.C. area to be free, even the parking is free. You cannot beat that, in an age where everything has a price its nice to see an organization like the Grays give back to the Southeast community. If you get a chance, come grab a seat at a game, you’ll get to see high caliber baseball with a team that takes pride in representing a name that has been deeply rooted in Washington, D.C. history.

You can check out the rest of the interviews from players below:

Blog: Negro League greats share their stories at weekend salute

By: Tiffany Seal

This weekend, the DC Grays saluted Negro League baseball. Friday’s game included an exhibit from the Hubert Simmons Negro League Baseball Museum and many Negro League greats in attendance. Two notable attendees were Luther “Luke” Atkinson of the Satchel Paige All Stars, and Mamie Johnson-one of three women to play in the Negro League.

I sat down and talked to them about their experience and what it meant to represent a group of players that were unable to play in the MLB.

A little background on both of them before you watch the video:

Luke Atkinson played second base and shortstop for the Satchel Paige All Stars from 1955 t0 1960. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960 but was called to serve in the Army the same year. After his service, he played for the Glenarden Braves in the Continental League. 1964 was his last year of professional baseball.

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was a utility player for the Indianapolis Clowns. She was the first female pitcher in the Negro Leagues and her career spanned from 1953 to 1955 with an impressive  win loss record of 33-8. Washington DC’s Ward 7 little league is named in her honor as the “Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Little League”.  She was one of many Negro League players to be drafted before the 2008 MLB First Year Draft. Johnson was picked by the Washington Nationals.

 

Source Credit: Wikipedia and cnlbr.org

Hear what pitcher Marlon Pruitt had to say about last night’s win

Blog: Three-way tie in the South makes this division more competitive

By: Tiffany Seal

As of last night, the CRCBL South division is in a three-way tie for second behind Bethesda. The Grays, Herndon Braves, and Vienna River Dogs are all three games back with a record of 5-4. Although the Alexandria Aces are in last, they are only 4.5 games back of the division leader.

On the other hand, the CRCBL North division leaders, Baltimore Redbirds are 10-2 with a four game lead. The gap between first and last place is an eight game span, with the Gaithersburg Giants bringing up the rear.

Currently, the Grays, Braves, and River Dogs-tied for second in the South- would be in front of the second, third, and fourth placed teams of the North. The T Bolts are in second and hold a .500 winning percentage, which is below the .556 winning percentage of the South’s second, third, and fourth teams.

The Redbirds lead begins to look like a comfortable gap when you look at how far back the Rockville Express and Baltimore Dodgers are behind (six GB).

Interestingly enough, the Bethesda Big Train and Baltimore Redbirds are 9-2 and 10-2 respectively….meaning that both division leaders are matched evenly.

What does this mean for the Grays?

For the DC Grays, this is a good indicator that the level play in the South is well-rounded. Showing that this division is up for grabs from any given team one through five. More than half the season is left to play, and if the standings reflects the same pattern they do now, it could be an exciting end of the regular season for the CRCBL South.

Blog: Looking at the positives, plus post game interview with Grays’ manager

By: Tiffany Seal

 

Last night’s game could have gone better…

The Grays were no-hit through eight and struggled to get runners in scoring position.

Although Big Train starting pitcher Alex Calvert dominated the lineup, the strike zone was a generous one.

“The approach tonight [at the plate] was to look outside and adjust, it worked in some cases for some hitters, in others it did not,” said Manager Reggie Terry.  

D.C.’s 4-1 loss to their league rival was a tough one considering it was Grays’ manager Reggie Terry’s first game playing against his old team….BUT there were some positives on the night.

Lets consider three of them:

Nobody wants to be the team on the other end of a no-hitter (even if it is combined); breaking up the combined no-hitter going into the ninth was a good sign for the team-who scuffled offensively for the first eight innings.  The mental toughness associated with working through an offensive slump can be tough on any player at any level.

“We need to play small ball, move runners, hit to the backside,” said Terry.

If they can do the little things like work pitch counts in a wide strike zone situation and move guys into scoring position, they can small ball their way into manufacturing runs.

Going along with that, the late offense to avoid the shutout was another good sign for a team that, as of late, has had trouble scoring late in games.

The bullpen was able to keep the game close after starter Layton Dill went 5 2/3 giving up six hits. This was not the case last home game, when the bullpen allowed an 8-0 lead through five to turn into a save situation for closer Marlon Pruitt.

I caught up with Grays’ manager Reggie Terry after the game, you can check out what he had to say about the hitting approach going into last night’s loss and how he plans to spark some life into the offense. The skipper liked what he saw from starter Dill and fans could be seeing Pruitt used in a different role next outing.

Overall, if the Grays can get back to executing the game plan going into games, work on their small ball, and get guys in scoring position, the offense will be more effective and give the Grays a better opportunity to put some runs on the board.

Make sure to come out and support D.C.’s favorite collegiate summer team TONIGHT versus the Rockville Express at Knights Field, Montgomery College-Rockville.

**Don’t forget to check out last nights post-game interview and follow the DC Grays Youtube channel “DC Grays” home for post-game coverage**

 

Blog: Grays end tough weekend with a win

Tiffany Seal

June 8, 2015

The DC Grays started the weekend off with a loss to the Alexandria Aces on Friday. Lack of run production and a strong outing by Ace Gabriel Mosser, who allowed one hit through five innings of work, led to a 12-1 loss.

 

Saturday’s home opener resulted in a 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Redbirds. Dominate opposing pitching led to the Grays lack of offensive production, manufacturing just two hits on the night.

 

Although the Grays experienced an offensive scuffle for most of the weekend, Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Dodgers at Nationals Youth Academy the bats came alive. The Grays jumped on top in the first inning with RBI singles by Kurt Sinnen (Old Dominion) and Tony Holton (Jackson State). Bryan Baquer (Washington College) had two extra base hits on the day, a double in the first, and triple in the second. Grays hitters capitalized on three errors by the Dodger’s infield. Grays starter John Cain (Lafayette) pitched six innings of hitless ball to keep the score at 8-0 through his outing.

The bullpen made the 8-0 lead turn into a nail biter as closer, Marlon Pruitt (Grambling State), received a save.

Monday night’s game against the Gaithersburg Giants will be held at Criswell Automotive Field. Hopefully, the Grays will carry their offensive surge into the coming week!


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