YPSILANTI —- Sometime there are things, that all you need is just a new coat of paint and a little cosmetic changes and suddenly that thing that was old-is all brand new.
The friendliest baseball stadium in the Mid-American Conference and the home of the Eastern Michigan University, the fashionable- Oestrike Stadium, with new brickwork done to the outside of the grandstand gives the stadium, a very retro look.
Ball State University found the friendliest stadium in the league very hospitable Saturday afternoon by defeating Eastern Michigan University 6-4 to keep things interesting in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Gone is the well-used and worn out scoreboard that at the time of its use, was state of the art with all of the Atari characters. It’s replacement is a modern simplistic but functional scoreboard. Green in color and rectangle shape and most important, working light bulbs that is an improvement which is appreciated by everybody.
Returning to the helm of the Cardinals is former University of Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney and he is happy to be back home in Muncie, Indiana.
“Well Ball State is such a special place for me the first time around,” Maloney said after his team’s victory over the Eagles. “I have been received so well, my family has been received so well and we are thankful.”
Eastern Michigan University starting pitcher Paul Schaak worked seven innings giving up seven hits and striking out four Cardinals but it only took one inning that doomed the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan University baseball coach Jay Alexander said, after the game his team is just not taking ownership of doing just the little things during a baseball game to get a win.
Alexander has six seniors on his squad and he is looking toward them to light a fire under the rest of the team and lead them to Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament.
“We just can’t stop the bleeding any time it happens, we don’t have the right doctor,” Alexander said. “We can’t stop bleeding. How does one routine play not made which all ways kick you in the butt equal four runs?”
Top of the second inning with one out and Cardinal left fielder Blake Beemer standing at first base after reaching on a fielder choice.
Schaak facing Ball State’s third baseman Billy Wellman hit a ground ball that Eagles third baseman Jason Simpson fielded and what looked like an inning ending double play, the ball fell out of Simpson’s hand and the Cardinals runners were safe on the error. Suddenly the Cardinals scored four runs and gained the momentum.
“It always happens to us,” Alexander said. “Nobody steps up and takes ownership of picking each other up, the team stuff. You would not understand the team stuff we talk about and helping each other out and picking each other up.”
The Eagles fought back and cut into the lead in the fourth inning when Eagles designated hitter Lee Longo waited patiently for a fastball from Cardinal starting pitcher Chris Marangon and when it arrived, Longo lifted the ball off of his bat into the wind and over the left center field for his fifth home run of the season.
A senior that Alexander is counting on to be a team leader is center fielder Daniel Russell.
In the fifth inning after hitting a run producing double by Russell, he decided on his own to try and take third base on a fly ball to center field by John Rubino and caught by Cardinal outfielder Wes Winkle.
Russell tagged up and ran toward third base only to be cut down by an accurate throw by Winkle ending the threat.
“We don’t do the little things,” Alexander said. “But we will keep on pushing.”
The Eagles will be looking to avoid the sweep by the Cardinals Sunday afternoon at Oestrike Stadium starting at 1 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.