Monday, April 19, 2010

From the Dugout with Cole Catalano - Journal #5

Cole Catalano

ILB has asked senior RHP Cole Catalano to write a weekly journal giving the Lion Nation a peak of what it is like to be a member of the Southeastern Louisiana University baseball team. Cole is a Senior RHP who hails from Covington, LA. To read all of Cole's weekly journals you can click on his picture on the left menu.

Here is journal #5 for the 2010 season.

Hey Lion Fans……I am back for the 5th edition of Inside the Dugout.

We are a little more then mid-way through our season, and boy does time fly by when you are having fun and winning. You can officially say we are in the home stretch of our season, and every game will be a dogfight until the end. Your Roaring Lions are still playing great ball and we are asking for the continued support from the Lion Nation for this final push. It’s funny how a couple of years can change the outlook for a team. I remember playing games my freshman year and having a couple hundred fans in the stands. Back then we were a team that was on the rise, but could never get over the hump. With the hard work of the coaches, players, fans, and community in a four year span we have turned “The Pat” into a very tough place to play.

Let’s recap some games over the past couple of weeks……

Two weekends ago we were in a must win conference series with the Texas-Arlington Mavericks. Coming off of a weekend series loss against Lamar it was important that we got back to playing our traditional Lions baseball. Friday night against Arlington was a great game. Your Lions had a 6-5 lead going into the top of the ninth inning when a late homerun by the visiting team put the Mavericks up 7-6, which ended up being your final score. That loss was a tough one due to the fact we were in control the entire game. But you have to give Arlington some credit, they hung in there and never let up. I remember not getting to sleep until around 3:30 a.m. because I couldn’t get that game out of my mind. The next morning we all arrived at the field and held a players only meeting. We basically spoke about getting the team to understand why we were so successful in the first half of the season. The things we did great compared to the things we struggled at. We all came to an agreement that we were going to win this series and that we were not going lose another weekend series for the rest of the year. We would do what ever it took to finish off the season with a bang. That meeting must have helped because the Lions finished off a great weekend by taking the next two games from Arlington with scores of 11-5 and 6-0. I have to give our hitters some credit. The three starting pitchers for Arlington are going to be the best starting pitching we will see all year. They go deep into every game and have a few complete games under their belts. The hitters did a great job of putting runs on the scoreboard and applying pressure to their defense.

After taking care of Texas Arlington, we had a mid-week contest with Alcorn State and one of the most anticipated games on our schedule, Alabama. Tuesday night we took care of business once again against a SWAC opponent by beating Alcorn 17-3. Our hitters put on a hitting clinic, and our pitchers dominated the strike zone for a very convincing victory. Alabama came to town the following night, and I really thought we were going to give the Lion Nation a great victory. Down 4-0 early, it would have been easy to give up and quit, but not this team. A two run homerun by Cody Gougler tied the game at 4 heading into the middle innings. From then on we simply couldn’t manage to put any runs on the board. Alabama ended up taking one from us by a score of 10-5. As tough as it was to lose to Bama, our fans did a great job that night showing their support for their Lions. “The Pat” was packed and in full force that night.

The weekend was approaching and we had to get ready for our biggest conference weekend of the year. Texas State, the current SLC leaders, were coming to town, and we knew we had our work cut out for us. Last year at the same time we were in the same situation; two games behind at the halfway point of conference play. Unfortunately last year we were swept by Texas State which put us out of contention for a Southland Conference Championship. There was NO WAY that was going to happen again. This series was a big one because the winner of the series was most likely going to win the conference out right. Friday night was one of the greatest feelings I have had all season. Not only did we beat Texas State (which is a Texas team), but we beat them convincingly by a score of 10-1. We simply outplayed them in every aspect of the game. Brandon Efferson once again did a tremendous job on the mound by throwing a complete game for us. Saturday turned into a back and forth slugfest. Both teams came out like they were on a mission swinging the bats very well. After a couple lead changes by both teams Texas State came away with a victory on a very nice play by their closer to end the game. Their pitcher took a line drive off of the face by Brock Hebert and managed to finish the play for the 12-10 victory. Sunday turned into a must win baseball game in order for us to stay in contention for the SLC championship. After a hard fought baseball game between two good teams, your Lions once again came away victorious with a score of 9-6. Coach was very proud of us for the way we played all weekend. Although we didn’t sweep, we did come out and win the series in convincing fashion. This was a statement to the rest of the conference that the LIONS are the real deal and we are coming after you.

Our next game is a Tuesday night game against, who I consider, our in state rivals. We head South across the pond (Lake Pontchatrain) to face off against Tulane for the Senators Cup. We are sending junior pitcher Jacob Ott to the mound for his first collegiate start as a Lion. I couldn’t be any happier for Jacob. Jacob is a New Orleans native so I am almost certain there is going to be quite a few of his family members in attendance for tomorrow’s game. I have become really close to Jacob this season, and I can promise you he is going to throw a great ball game tomorrow night. He is not only a great teammate, but a great competitor as well.

In conclusion, I want to recognize a special person who is a part of the Lion Baseball Family and Tradition, Mrs. Ruth Kenelly! Mrs. Ruth is the wife of the late Pat Kenelly, who was head baseball coach for the Roaring Lions for fourteen years. He was the man responsible for turning Southeastern into one of the finest programs in the South.

Coach Kenelly had five conference championships under his belt as well as being named a two time conference coach of the year, which untimely led to the renaming of Alumni Field to Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field. Mrs. Ruth is a special person to the Lion family. My parents are some lucky fans because they have to pleasure of sitting beside Mrs. Ruth for every home game. They have nothing but the nicest things to say about Mrs. Ruth and her family, (who come to every home game). When coming to a baseball game at “The Pat” take a look behind home plate, and I can assure you Mrs. Ruth will be in attendance wearing her Green and Gold cheering on her favorite team, the Southeastern Lions! Thank you Mrs. Ruth for your continued support and dedication to not only our University, but our Baseball program as well.


Sarah Kenelly Prevot said...

Thank you Cole! I just called Ruth and read your blog to her. I'm pretty sure I heard tears. The Kenelly family is so proud of you and the rest of the Lions. GO LIONS!

Veda said...

Cole, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed sitting with both of your parents at the Southeastern Baseball games. They are absolutely wonderful people that I have enjoyed getting to know. I agree with you about Mrs. Ruth Kennely. She is an amazing woman who I have had the pleasure of knowing her and her family for a very long time and I am honored and priviledged to call her my friend. She and I share a love for Southeastern Baseball. I have never had the pleasure of meeting you personally, but I will definitely make sure that I introduce myself to you. I use to attend every Southeastern Baseball game and then my best friend Sandy Goodwin, who I went with to every game, was tragically killed in an automobile accident. It took me several years before I could return to a game. Well this season, I did return and I am so glad that I did because I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents. I have bookmarked the Inside Lions Baseball page and will continue to read your blogs. Thanks for doing an outstanding job of reporting all the news regarding Southeastern Baseball. I look forward to meeting you in the near future.