Sunday, February 1, 2009

Midnight Madness

By Don Hudson

"The first team to practice and the last team to play" is the rallying cry for the 2009 edition of the Cal State Fullerton Titans baseball team. Things got underway one minute past the stroke of midnight this morning and ended eerily at the exact prescribed time of 4:00 a.m. just as fog began to engulf the field.

The crowd began to trickle in just after 11:0p.m. and was greeted by the hospitality of the Diamond Club. Many thanks for their generosity and tireless efforts: the sausages, tri-tip, snacks, coffee and hot chocolate were very much appreciated by the hearty attendees, especially as the evening temperature continued to dip. As midnight approached, people started to arrive in waves: I'm not sure the headcount, but it appeared to be on the order of a couple hundred people at the peak.

After a little over an hour of warming up, stretching and batting practice (when is the last time you sat and watched B.P. at one o'clock in the morning?), the scrimmage began. The match featured the presumed starting team (home) vs. substitutes (visitors).

Home: Garneau (C), Clark (1B), Scott (2B), Brown (3B), Colon (SS), Newman (LF), Fellhauer (CF), Davis (RF), Nick Ramirez (DH).

Visitors: Marcoe (C), Harkey (1B), Orloff (2B), Shima (3B), Moore (SS), Siddons (LF), Kingsolver (CF), Fahey (RF), Corey Jones (DH).

Tyler Pill (home) and Michael Morrison (visitors) were the starting pitchers.

After a quick first inning on the hill by Pill, the home team posted three quick runs. Gary Brown led off with a walk and the rest of the inning featured base hits and larceny of all types: straight steals, delayed steals and double steals. It should be a portent of the type of pressure Coach Bergy will apply on opposing pitchers, catchers and defenses. Brown in particular seemed to be on base all night long (all morning, I should say).

The most outstanding player was Tyler Pill, who pitched five strong shutout innings. He used a variety of speeds and locations and seemed to have command throughout, even on the few times he fell behind in the count. As the home team stretched its lead to 8-0 and the clock was somewhere between 2 and 3, the crowd thinned out - perhaps more because of coldness than fatigue. (I wish I was as well prepared as Troy Brown with his portable heater and Dunkin Donuts thermos.) The visitors made a late rally and ended up on the short end of an 8-5 final score.

Right on cue, the game ended at 4:00. How often do you see the scoreboard lit up (albeit missing a few bulbs) to say "4:04 A.M."? HereWeGoTitans looked as fresh as a daisy and was ready for the second game of a double-header. As for me, I wish I could say I was fooling around and closed my eyes for that last picture; it wasn't until I looked this morning that I realized how exhausted I was. Nevertheless, I believe this was a great event and hopefully the start of what will become a Titans tradition.

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