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A look at the Richmond RiverRats 2013 Season

Greetings readers,

A few days fresh of my last home broadcast in Richmond, Indiana, I like to tell you what I saw for the 2013 season.

It was the fifth season of existence for the RiverRats, a summer collegiate team that calls Don McBride Stadium home. The organization had something fun planned out for every home game this season, just like the previous four years. After thirty games, the ‘Rats welcomed in nearly 26,000 for the season.

Opening Day 2013 took place in Northern Ohio, with the Lorain County Ironmen hosting Richmond. After a season-opening series split, Richmond came home to welcome in another Ohio team, the Chillicothe Paints. While the first game required extras, the ‘Rats were able to sweep their first opponent at home. Richmond went 4-2 in their first six home games, splitting with the Butler BlueSox and the West Virginia Miners.

The RiverRats would close out June with a 13-17 record, coming home for six straight home contests. To start July, the RiverRats went 2-8 in their first ten games, including a 1-5 homestand. The ‘Rats would bounce back after that homestand, going 10-14 in their last twenty-six games with some very close games.

After the final out in West Virginia, the RiverRats finished 24-36. Seventeen of those wins happened at McBride Stadium, while the ‘Rats were only 7-23 away from Richmond.

As a team, the ‘Rats batted .257 and had an ERA of 4.40. Leading the offense was DePauw Tiger Robbie Stein, batting .303 in 231 at-bats (with eight doubles, two triples, and one home run.) Berea College Mountaineer Ryan Akins had five home runs to lead the team, with Ohio State Buckeye Jacob Bosiokovic leading the team with 31 RBIs. On the pitching spectrum, it would be Ole Miss Rebel Scott Ashford leading the team in appearances with twenty-four on the season (all in relief.) Indiana Wesleyan Wildcat Shane Bryant had the most wins with five (finished 5-4 after ten starts and three relief appearances.) Trey Garrett (Rend Lake College) lead the team with five saves.

Numbers and wins aren’t everything, folks. The team improved from the slumps and worked around the injury bug. While it was a team of about eight everyday players, it was a talented bunch of ball players.  These players will head back to their college baseball teams, with improved skills and a collection of memories of their experiences in Richmond, Indiana, Wayne County, U.S. of A. I wish every RiverRat the best in the future!

Debuting for the first time in 2013 were gold jerseys for the ‘Rats. These were wore about 4/5ths of the home games, with the white and navy sets used sparingly.  The gold tops were combined with navy letters/numbers with a white trim. Personally, I liked the gold jerseys. I believe gold hats were also introduced for the first time, too.

In this 2013 season, I have seen two reviews on McBride Stadium. One is from The Sports Traveler, who made the trip for the June 15th match vs. West Virginia. The other is from Stadium Journey, which the review doesn’t specify when the visit was (but I believe this was the first portion of the season.) Both of these are positive reviews but very good reads on the old ballpark.

As a second-year broadcaster with the Richmond RiverRats, I feel like I improved greatly in terms of baseball commentary. I learned that not every second must be filled with my voice. I learned to relax and flow with the pace of the game. I improved my game during those thirty games.

I worked with amazing folks and I met some great people as they made their way up into the small press box. I had a lot of help from the Media Relations Intern, who would join me for two games on-air. He helped out with game notes and was the guy who done a lot of jobs in the press box during game time.Hopefully, I’ll be back for the 2014 season enjoying another season in Richmond, Indiana. I also spent some time talking with Josh and Jesus from the Pal-Item about various sports in Eastern Indiana; great guys.

With the books shut on the 2013 season in Richmond, time to focus on what’s next in my career. Next stop: Back to the University of Dayton as the Public Address Announcer for the soccer teams. This career never stops, but why would I want it to?

Until next time,

-Lee

Raiders of the Lost Pool

Greetings readers,

Today I’d like to share with you an organization that’s been in the Dayton area for a while and recently made the news on a big purchase. This organization is the Dayton Raiders.

The Dayton Raiders have been in the area since 1981 (actually longer than that if you count the Dayton Dolphins and the Wright State Raiders, which you can read the entire history here.) It’s an organization for younger people who would like to train and receive coaching all year long.

Recently, the Raiders bought the Beavercreek YMCA for a training site starting this May. While the Y off of Grange Hall Road will still close, the community programs will stay and the Raiders will use this pool to train. For the 2012-2013 season, the home meets are at Wright State University (the pool’s right next to the bookstore.)

The Raiders have won a lot of awards and accomplished a lot of records  as a team, including breaking the American record for the 200 backstroke in short course meters, three Raiders winning U.S. Juniors National Championships, several hundred representatives in the Ohio High School State Championships, and many Raider reps went on to swim on the collegiate levels (including Wright State University.)

There’s also opportunities for people interested in helping out the team. The Raiders use a volunteer point system, to make sure everyone chips into the team.

The 2012 senior class of the Raiders include many reps from Centerville and Beavercreek High Schools, as well as a few reps from Yellow Springs, Miamisburg, Vandalia-Butler, Oakwood, Northridge, Tippecanoe, and Fenwick High Schools. These seniors have decided to go to college, including one to Wright State.

While never a rep of this swimming organization, I’ve seen a plentiful amount of Dayton Raiders gear since I was a kid. I saw a lot more of this in college, and I always wanted to ask what the Dayton Raiders were (I knew it wasn’t college related, since UD is the Flyers.) Turns out, it’s a big organization reaching out to the Miami Valley for swimming.

This purchase of the Beavercreek YMCA is a great one for the Raiders, as it continues to give the swimming organization a good link to Greene County (Wright State is another link to Greene County.) It gives the team a pool to practice swimming and prevents another building turning empty.

If you’re in the area and want to give your kids a chance to learn swimming, give the Dayton Raiders a shot!

Sources of information from WDTN Channel 2 and the Dayton Raiders. Picture from the Dayton Raiders.

Until next time,

-Lee

A Knight in Sir Dayton’s Court

Greetings readers,

It’s currently football season, but there’s talks of basketball happening now in the Miami Valley. You have your college hoops, then you have high school hoops. Then there’s the professional hoops happening in Dayton.

The Air Strikers are coming back for a fourth season in Dayton. Once thought to have folded, the Strikers found a fit in the Independent Basketball Association. Some of the opponents are familiar to Dayton, including the Gary Splash and the Lansing Capitals. The season, instead of waiting until January, will start on November 3rd. Also, while the home venue has not been established on the website, it does mention on the bottom paragraph of the page in their “newly renovated home venue.”

There will also be Knights playing basketball in Dayton, too.

The Dayton Knights will play in the Universal Basketball Association. In the UBA, there are a some teams around the Miami Valley, including the Cincinnati Slam. It is not currently known on where the Knights will play or who will play (as tryouts are happening soon.) What is known is Allen Drake will take the reigns as the owner and head coach. Drake is a graduate of Urbana University, which is north of Springfield, Ohio. There is no schedule up to this point, as well.

Will the Knights play the Air Strikers for a pre-season tune up? Will both teams complete their seasons? Only time will tell.

So if you live in the Miami Valley, there are now two more ways to get some basketball locally.

Sources of information from the Dayton Air Strikers website and the Dayton Knights Facebook page.

Until next time,

-Lee

The Capital Double (Trouble)

Greetings readers,

I read recently on the Columbus Dispatch asking the readers if the city would be able to hold a NBA team and share a venue with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Currently, there are two pro teams in Columbus. You have the Crew for soccer fans, along with the Blue Jackets in the NHL. There are a few markets that have both a NHL and a NBA team, like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto to name a few.

While a basketball team sounds nice in Columbus, will fans actually see the product? Columbus has had a few basketball teams before, recently the Horizon and the Quest.

One thing you can argue with the possibility of a basketball team is that one college in town. Of course, I mean Columbus State Community College. In all seriousness, Ohio State, Capital, Otterbein…there is a ton of college sports fans, mainly Buckeye fans.

Second, basketball has come and gone throughout Columbus. What makes this plan any sturdier than the others? The Blue Jackets used to fill the arena night in and night out, but the numbers are indeed shrinking.

Third thing: Cleveland is nearby. Would the Cavaliers mind/want a fellow foe just down Interstate 71?

One thing I would like to see is Cincinnati getting a franchise back, but would what do well with the Pacers and Cavs nearby? That’s not relevant to this, though.

Could a NBA franchise work in Columbus? With enough support, I think it would succeed. However, take into account there’s college basketball to watch in the area as well. I say draft some local college folks to play, and you have a good start.

We’ll see what happens. I don’t think Columbus will get that said NBA franchise, but it’s always fun to speculate. In the meantime, support the Crew and Blue Jackets.

Until next time,

-Lee

Shopping Sporty

Greetings readers,

If you like sporting goods stores inside your favorite mall which happens to be in Montgomery County, you’re in for a treat.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is moving from about a minute north of the Dayton Mall, to the old DSW store near Sears.

The project will be the biggest addition since the “Dayton Mall Village” was added in 2005 (you know, when the northern parking lots were taken for more store lots because The Greene was becoming an actual thing?). With Dick’s Sporting Goods coming in, you can forget about that empty space that Designer Shoe Warehouse and FYE left recently. All in all, the new store should take up over 50,000 square feet.

If you’re familiar to the area, you know that Fairfield Commons has a Dick’s Sporting Goods in the mall (two levels, too!) It was around 2005-2006ish when the store decided to move from a tiny shopping plaza across North Fairfield and take up space that was originally a store selling model trains (and countless other things before that.)

This is a big addition for the Dayton Mall. Currently, the Dick’s Sporting Goods is about a minute drive north of the mall (it depends on how traffic is that day, I suppose.)

I don’t know if this will be a two-story store or not, but it doesn’t need to be. First off, there would be no 2nd floor to connect it to (unless the mall added a wing on that floor, but good luck filling it.) Second off, I think the space will be enough for what the new store needs.

This will add a lot of traffic to an already busy mall, but it will add some competition. Yes, there is a Hibbett Sports in the opposite wing next to Elder-Beerman. From what I’ve seen, Hibbett carries a lot of local colleges (correction, Ohio State and Kentucky) stuff and isn’t busy whenever I pass by the lunch hour. How the two will duel, I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait until Spring 2013 (or Fall 2012 if some reports are correct.)

With this addition, I wonder if the Tri-County Mall will be up next for Dick’s Sporting Goods to into (again, near the mall and there’s still an anchor space where JCPenney’s used to be.) I’d say Kenwood Towne Centre is up next, but there’s not that much room and they have a store at the old Kenwood Mall (ask your mother on that one.) This might already be happening in your area.

Well, happy shopping!

Source of information from the Dayton Daily News (article written by Mark Fisher.) Picture from joerisko.com.

Until next time,

-Lee

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