Lions scrimmage build chemistry

The Mental Midgets faced off with the Step Behind Bears for the 2016 Heart of a Lion Fall Series.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The Lions baseball team held their annual Heart of a Lion Fall World Series scrimmage at Alumni Field. The scrimmage gave the players a chance to play in a game-like situation before the season starts.

The teams were separated by a draft that happened on Monday, Oct. 3. The names for the teams were the Mental Midgets and the Step Behind Bears.

“We do it every year,” said Head Coach Matt Riser. “It’s just a way to allow the guys to make some of their individual decisions. They get an idea of what we go through in the springtime of making a tough decision. Who goes in the bullpen, who starts, who plays and who closes. It helps those guys see some things and learn the game from that standpoint. This is the senior’s last hurrah so, it’s good for them to get some experience on their own.”

The Mental Midgets won the first game 13-1 on Oct. 7 and won the second game in a close game 1-0 on Oct. 8. Though, the Step Behind Bears had the last laugh, by winning the last game on Oct. 9 10-6. In the end, the Mental Midgets won the series 2-1.    

“I thought the competitive level was good,” said Riser. “I thought they did a good job coming out with the right attitude and the right energy. At this point of the year, that’s all you really can ask for. I thought some guys learned this week.”

The seniors of the team were the captains and decided who played and when they played. Outfielder Ryan Byers, infielder Carson Crites and pitcher Cliff Hurst were the managers for the Midgets while outfielder Webb Bobo, infielder Derrick Mount and outfielder Jacob Seward managed the Step Behind Bears. They were also in charge of the draft and picking their players for their squad.

“It’s definitely a different role being a player and coach,” said Bobo. “You have to think about what pitchers are coming in and out. Normally, if you are not doing well and something needs to be said to you, coach will bring everybody up and say ‘this what we are going to do.’ That fell on us so, we had to step up a bit in the vocal roles and things like that.”

Fifteen new players got their first taste of a game in Alumni Field with fans who were there to show support for the team. The scrimmage was also a dress rehearsal as the teams wore all of the different jerseys.

“It was good for the young guys,” said Bobo. “This was their first time to put the full uniform on and get a real game atmosphere with a lot of our fans, but they’re young and in some moments some guys didn’t play so well. Some young guys did step up so, it was kind of nice just to see how they are going to react so, you can judge where they will be in the spring.”

The regular season starts in February, which gives the Lions time to be prepared.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Riser. “This is the earliest that we have started fall ball and the earliest that we have ended. The positive thing about that is we have a lot of time to get a lot of work done. Usually, when we have these conversations, we haven’t actually been in play. We discuss it but until you actually get in the fire, it’s hard to actually experience it. Now that they have experienced it, we can talk about it.”  

Senior outfielder Webb Bobo scoring a run for the Step Behind Bears. 
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

Freshman pitcher Austin Chastang in his first Fall series pitching for the Mental Midgets.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar

The Lions will return to Alumni Field next semester in February to start the season.
Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion's Roar