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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

March 17, 2003

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Normally we have a game on this day, but the schedule had us on the practice field for a rain shortened workout. I had some traditional Irish music playing while we worked out. This led Cox to keep asking, "Are you sure this isn't the same song again?",so much for appreciation of other cultures and their music. If 50 Cent ever records Danny Boy, Coxie will be a happy man.

The weekend was a disappointment as we went flat Saturday morning and lost to Mercer 7-3. This came after crushing them Friday night 14-3. We looked bad on defense in the first inning and it hurt us big time. Pali and Cox got us within one after six, but Chris Saxton finally proved himself human. Closers will have a day like that occasionally, and Chris has been nothing less than outstanding in some real tough situations. He'll be back.

Pillsbury threw much better this weekend. I think he would have been even better if not for the rocky start. He still isn't where he wants or needs to be, but Chris is making progress each time he takes the mound.

In the nightcap, Randy Beam threw another gem as he struck out four in five innings. Randy has been real consistent all season. I feel real good about the four starters we have. Not many teams we play are trotting out this type of pitcher each week.

Matt Pali had two home runs on Saturday, along with a bunt single. Matt was actually sacrificing and beat it out. He gets out of the box quickly and is probably our second fastest guy down the line.

Friday night saw Core run his record to 5-1. Danny pitched well despite not having his best stuff. I have always believed that to be the sign of a good pitcher. Danny is that and more.

Sixteen years ago we had a first baseman named Pat Murray. His little brother Mike was always in the dugout and running around the place. Mike is now playing first base and catching some for us and continuing the family tradition of clutch hitting. I got on him in practice on Thursday, calling him a "Judy" hitter because he had not yet gotten an extra base hit. Mike must have taken exception, because he had two doubles in his 3-for-4, 3 RBI performance. Mike has gotten a lot of clutch hits so far this season. After finally working his way into the lineup, he's batting .370 and leads the team in on-base percentage.

Jeff Fiorentino is off to a great start. He leads the team in home runs with eight, and must be the most frustrating hitter any pitcher will get to face. He can take some ugly swings off his front foot and bloop a hit over the infield one time, then the next at bat his quick wrists launch a ball over the scoreboard and into the night.

We have a tough Kansas State team tomorrow night and then Rutgers on Wednesday. Our pitching plan is to use Johnny Wholestaff tomorrow and start NeSmith on Wednesday. We hope to get through these two alright and then fly to Jacksonville State on Thursday night. I hope we aren't at war when the rest of the week arrives.

The people that will be put in harm's way are the same age of these kids about whom I always write. They all have similar hopes and dreams for the rest of their lives. You can say that they are professional soldiers who volunteered for this duty and you are right. But I don't think what they will see and fight to live through, is what any of us want for our sons and daughters. I hope that somehow, someone figures out a way for those kids to avoid the killing and suffering that they face. There must be some other way. If not we need to remember them along with all the others that are in our prayers.

Speaking of prayers, my neighbor Tom Fields, is a big FAU Baseball fan. He flies a Blue Wave flag from his house during baseball season. He and his wife Linda started coming to games last year and really enjoy themselves. He was always after me to fix his daughter, Suzie, up with Gabe Somarriba.

Tom was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. He has fought a tough fight with little complaint. I would always know he was getting a new round of chemo when I would fail to see him walking his dogs. The past three weeks, saw a turn for the worse and Tom just got home from the hospital. He lost a lot of weight, but is hanging tough in his fight. Those of you who pray, please add him to your list. Those that don't...start with one for Tom. Thanks. KC



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