As the first half comes to a close, I thought I would write about the best moments of the season to this point. 67 games into my first professional season and I already have a number of memories I won’t forget. After 3 more games, we will be exactly at the midpoint. We have a number of stellar players on the way to the All Star game. I will be going home to see my friends and family.
Stadiums Throughout the Midwest
Coming into the season, I had yet to see a Midwest League stadium. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Where Beloit has a quaint, personal feel to it, some stadiums are loud and large. From the all turf surface in South Bend to over 8000 fans during Memorial Day weekend in Kane County to the picturesque backdrop in Quad Cities, the Midwest League has a lot to offer. Each city and stadium presents a unique set of characteristics.
Playing With and Against Friends
When Dayton came to town, I was excited to see my roommate from college and good friend, Nick O’Shea. The visit was even better when both of our fiancés surprised us by coming to Beloit for a couple of games.
Kyle Knudson came off the disabled list in the beginning of May and was sent to Beloit. It was great to play with him as I had in college.
It’s always nice seeing familiar faces in the sometimes lonely world of minor league baseball.
Being 5 hours from my hometown of Minnetonka, MN, I have had a number of visitors throughout the first half. My fiancé has visited a number of times, as have my brother, his wife and my parents. I have visitors from home, such as my friends from high school, my neighbor and a number of others. Being close to home makes it a lot easier for people to visit while I am in Beloit.
Getting On the Mound
I have missed being on the mound ever since I threw my last pitch in high school. I have been known to tell pitching coaches I am available if necessary, sneaking my way onto the bump on a few occasions since high school. I threw 2 outs in the Northwoods League in 2008 and 2 innings in the Cape Cod League in 2010.
Coming into the year I made sure our pitching coach, Gary Lucas, knew that I had a scoreless streak spanning nearly four years. So when we got down big in a game in Quad Cities following a few extra inning games in Kane County, I knew my chance may be approaching. When ‘Luke’ and our manager, Nelson Prada, told to go to the pen to get loose, I got giddy. While warming up, Luke asked what pitches I threw. My response was, “Fast, curve and change…but mostly fast.” I threw a scoreless inning, thanks in large part to a fastball that came in well below the hitting speed (although I did break a bat).
Some of the biggest Twins fans came to town for a couple of games in the beginning of June. I was able to visit with them over lunch before a game in Beloit. It was great to chat baseball and life with some dedicated supporters of Twins baseball.
Clinching the Wild Card
Last night, we beat the Peoria Chiefs to clinch the wild card spot in the Western division. This was the culmination of consistent play and hard work. We had a great time celebrating our victory and we are looking forward to representing the Twins in the Midwest League playoffs in September.
The first half has been full of highlights and I am sure there are more to come in the second half!
Follow me on Twitter: @apettersen1
(photo from FoxSportsNorth.com)