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Head Coach Bucky Burgau's Florida Journal
Journal Menu:
Saturday, March 19 | Sunday, March 20 | Monday, March 21 | Tuesday, March 22 |

* This journal is being kept by Concordia head coach Bucky Burgau in the attempt to help Cobber baseball fans to get a closer look at the spring trip to Florida.

Tuesday, March 22
We drove to Lakeland, Florida today to play Southeastern College. It was about a two-and-a-half hour drive and the distance traveled turned out to not be as much of a problem as we notched our first win of the season in the opener. 

After giving up an 11-2 lead, we won the game in extra innings when Chris Klabo and Nick Esala each hit a solo home run to give us the two-run victory. Josh Dietz was fantastic out of the bullpen. Of the nine outs he posted, he had seven strikeouts! And that included the last six batters he faced!

We couldn't throw the ball over the plate in the second game and, after leading 5-4 going into the last half of the fifth, we ended up losing 12-6.

Again, we played all of our position players and that is really paying off. The coaching staff is getting a chance to sort things out.

We have an off day on Wednesday and that will come just in time - we need it. Our arms are a bit sore and tired, and after having been inside for a month, playing five games in three days takes its toll on the players. 

Penny (Bucky's wife) and I also need a day off, as the schedule is a bit long and the days have a tendency to stretch out. We get up early to shop for cereal so the players can eat breakfast in the rooms and then are at the ballpark all day. After coming home and eating dinner we have to do laundry and then we can finally catch some rest. 

A day off from the ballpark is what the doctor ordered. We are going to see if we can drive to see Chris Coste play in a spring training game. He is with the Philadelphia Phillies this year and it would be nice to see a former player dressed in a big league uniform.

One more thing before signing off - Port Charlotte feels like Minnesota south this week. There are three other teams from the MIAC here. Joining us are St. John's, St. Mary's and St. Olaf. 

Monday, March 21
A single game today - bad because we won't get everyone in the game and good because it is not as taxing on the pitching staff. 

We were originally scheduled to play Westfield State today but they told the people running the tournament they couldn't play today because of flight problems. This made for a frantic situation because Westfield is staying at the same hotel and we found out through one of their players and had to run around and get a hold of one of the people from the tournament. So in the last hour they got Bowdoin to play us. Bowdoin was looking for games anyway as they had been rained out of four games this past week. 

Too many mistakes against Bowdoin today and we ended up losing 7-1. We saw some very good pitching as their starter went the distance and only allowed six hits. 

I told the players that this is by far the best competition we have ever faced on a spring trip. In past years we could pencil in three or four wins because of the level of competition. Not so this year. We are hoping that this will prepare us for the tough road ahead in the MIAC. 

All of our mistakes (i.e. walks, errors, etc.) are magnified against teams of this level. We are starting to sort some things out as far as starting players, rotation, player personnel goes. Some positions we may platoon all year long.

Sunday, March 20
We played our first games in Florida today. We faced off against a solid UW-Stevens Point team. Because of travel problems with our luggage, we didn't get to bed until 3:00am this morning. That made for a short night, as we had to wake up at 7:30am, eat and then drive to the park for our 12:30pm start. 

We took a 7-6 lead into the last inning in the first game but couldn't hold on and lost 8-7. The second game was just a game in which we couldn't score enough runs and ended up losing 8-5. 

We are starting to score some runs, which is a good sign since we had trouble getting runners across home plate in our first two games in the Metrodome. However, our pitching staff is still giving up too many walks and hardly getting any strikeouts - not a good combination if we want to be successful. We played a lot of people in the first two games. We started six different position players in the second game.

All in all it was nice to finally get outside and play. Even though we dropped a pair of games, the weather was 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky. A perfect day for baseball!

Saturday, March 19
We are off and running on our annual Florida spring baseball trip. This year finds us heading to a new destination. We are going to Port Charlotte, Florida. It is the old home of the Texas Rangers spring training facilities. 

No van worries this year as we are renting a bus. It is a little more costly, but I don't have to worry about the student/athletes having to drive a van. 

There was a bit of excitement this morning. We met up with our softball team in the Twin Cities, they came down last night because they had to catch an early flight out. One of their vans was broken in to. Luckily we came today so we could bring them a couple of uniforms and softballs to replace the ones that were stolen in the break in.

One small worry already popped up today. It seems we will not be staying at a Tom Bodette "We'll leave the light on for you" establishment. I called the motel today to double check everything and they said they would leave one key under the back door mat and all the other keys in that room. This could be an interesting situation. Stay tuned!

Our plans are to play a lot of players again. We want to give everyone a solid chance. I'm excited about this opportunity since it will give the players a chance to prove themselves on the field. We are going to play some really solid competition on the trip, so I hope we brought our playing shoes along.

I stopped today's entry too short. We just got in the air and we had to turn around and go back to the airport and land. It seems they put the wrong luggage on the plane. Other than the delay, I am glad that they found out now since we wouldn't want to get to Florida nad not have the right luggage!!


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