Illini freshman David Kerian rounds third base for the Blue team
I’ve spent the last two afternoons at the ballpark and it’s a joy to see an Illinois baseball game even if it’s just a scrimmage among the team.
It’s nice to see the new guys… the freshmen and transfers who will help the team to success in 2012. I have to say, I like what I see so far.
Monday it was Kevin Johnson and Matt Milroy on the mound. The Orange team hit Milroy pretty hard but I could tell he throwing pretty hard. I would love to know what his numbers on the radar gun were. Mostly, I was impressed with the relievers on both sides, all of them newcomers. Brian Kost, P.J Brennan (above, who has a nasty sidearm), and Tyler Hamer all did fine out of the pen. Even catcher Alex “Abe” Lincoln tried his hand at the other side of battery by pitching an inning. He gave up just one unearned run.
On Tuesday, it was a battle of Tommy John pitchers. Nick Chmielewski (above) and Rob McDonnell who both have had the surgery, represented their squads. I talked to Nick’s dad, Chris while he came on mound and I’m sure we both were very interested in how Nick would respond to his first competitive outing in 18 months. Nick seemed to do fine. He placed his pitches well and had good speed. I told Chris that we really could use Nick’s arm and leadership for the 2012 season if we are to compete.
We had a couple of special visitors Tuesday. Wes Braun was on the field during practice and chatted with us. During the game, I saw Casey McMurray and Corey Kimes (above) and they were happy to talk about what’s going on in their lives. All three are finishing up their degrees here at the U of I. Corey talked a bit about life in the Pittsburgh organization and despite a bout with mono, he really seems to enjoy it and is looking forward to spring training.
You’ll find more photos in the (new) gallery.