5/25/14 at John Thurman Field

I got free tickets to this game by filling out a survey on the Nuts website. Why would I not go? It ended up being just me and my dad, but the day didn’t get off to a great start. I woke up at 11:45 in the morning. It was a 1:05 PM game. Wonderful! My dad and I headed out as soon as we could, arriving in Modesto shortly before first pitch.

The Ports were wearing their Friday blue uniforms, which surprised me a bit!

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However, I liked it a lot!

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On the mound for Modesto was Ryan Carpenter.

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The Ports called upon Hunter Adkins to make the start for them.

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Both pitchers did okay, as each of them allowed 3 runs in their outing.

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My first foul ball on the day was in the second inning, off the bat of Ryon Healy. Healy popped a ball just over the net and I caught it on the bounce after it hit the ground on the concourse for a moment. My second foul ball was hit in the bottom of the 3rd by Nuts left fielder Francisco Sosa. That one I had to go out onto the golf course to get.

The next foul ball I got was off the golf course as well. In the 4th inning, Nuts catcher Will Swanner fouled a pitch back into the grass that I ran to grab.

It was really hot at this game. I think it touched 100° at a few points during the game, but it was consistently in the high 90’s all afternoon long. The following picture shows how sparse the crowd was due to the heat. It was like this all the way around the stadium.

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Here’s another shot that shows how empty it was for most of the game. The crowd was larger at first pitch, but a lot of people (with their young children) left because of the heat.

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I spent the 5th and 6th innings of the game inside the stadium with my dad. He spent a large part of the game under this overhang area down the third base line. It was cool(er) there and it provided a nice place to watch the ballgame!

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In the seventh inning, Dean Espy fouled a pitch out of the stadium and into the parking lot. I ran under a car to pick it up.

The 8th inning was a bit frustrating in terms of foul balls. I will preface this by saying that I did get a ball off the bat of Patrick Valaika. Patrick rattled off 4 or 5 foul balls that all left the stadium. I sprinted out after the first, but was only able to find one.  A couple of other boys ran out there at the same time as me. They had much better eyes than I did, so the 2 of them got the other 3 or 4 balls that were hit out there. I gave this ball to a young boy with a glove back inside the stadium.

I decided to spend the 9th inning inside the stadium. I joined up with my dad down the 3rd base line in the shade that I mentioned above.

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At this point, Brandon Erbe was on to pitch for Modesto.

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The Ports were unable to increase their 4-3 lead, so the game headed to the bottom of the 9th, with Modesto getting their final at-bats of the night.

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After 2 quick outs, the game came to sudden and surprising end. Jordan Ribera struck out and Dean Espy flied out, thenMatt Wessinger singled to left field, bringing up Francisco Sosa. Sosa doubled on a fly ball to right fielder Dusty Robinson. Dusty then fired the ball to catcher Ryan Lipkin to get Matt Wessinger out at home, ending the game. This was the first time that I had ever in-person seen a play like that end a game. It was a great throw!

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After the final out was recorded, I headed down to the Ports dugout to try and get a broken bat or lineup card. I wasn’t able to get anything, so I met up with my dad, who was able to find me an extra copy of the giveaway for this game, which neither of us had gotten. It was a Trevor Story poster! For those of you who don’t know, Trevor was the one who gave me a bat last June.

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We then went to a table down the RF line where Trevor was signing his posters. Both my dad and I were able to get posters signed. Thanks Trevor!

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Despite the heat and the fact that we showed up “late,” this game was a blast for me! 5 foul balls is the most I have ever gotten at a professional baseball game!

Thanks for reading! Remember, I’m publishing a new blog entry every day!  Check out the list to find out what my next game entry will be!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 10th Game of the Year… 4th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 5 balls at this game
  • 20 MiLB Balls in 4 MiLB Games = 5 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 24 Baseballs this Season
  • 115 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 187 total balls

Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum WayYou can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.

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