July 20, 2006
Notre Dame rising senior Mike Dury kicks off the annual Summer Baseball Reports as he checks in from the neighboring state of Ohio, where he is playing for the Grand Lake Mariners of the wooden-bet Great Lakes Collegiate League. Dury has played a number of positions with the Mariners, including both corner outfield spots, first base and DH, plus relief ace (a role he filled for the Irish in '06) and even a couple recent starts in the regular rotation.
(Note: An updated schedule for the Summer Baseball Diaries will be posted soon on und.com, as well as an overview on all of ND's summer-league players and an update on the Irish alums currently in pro ball.)
The Mariners are tied with the Delaware (Ohio) Cows for sixth place in the nine-team GLL (14-15-1, as of July 19), just a game behind the Lake Erie Monarchs, 1.5 back of the Southern Ohio Copperheads, two games shy of the third-place Cincinnati Steam and 2.5 behind the Lima Locos (the Columbus All-Americans sit atop the league with a 20-9 record). Dury has made 25 starts while also putting up some solid numbers in several exhibition games that are not reflected in the Indianapolis native's official stats - which include most of his 13 hits going for extra bases (home run, seven doubles), plus 12 RBI, 11 runs scored, 10 walks, six times hit-by-pitch, a couple sacrifice bunts, two stolen bases and one one error (as of July 19).
On the mound, Dury - whose 1.82 career ERA ranks first in recorded Notre Dame history (min. 60 IP) - officially has made three relief appearances and one start in GLL games, allowing five runs (three earned), 10 hits and four walks, with a strikeout and one wild pitch in 5.1 innings (0-1 record).
Dury recently made a start on July 8 versus Delaware and found his Notre Dame classmate Jeff Manship opposing him as the Cows starting pitcher. The lefthanded-throwing Dury had a solid outing that day (3.1 IP, 4 R/2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB) but the Cows picked up the big win, helped by Manship's three shutout innings as he faced just 10 batters and struck out two (with no hits or walks allowed).
Notre Dame 2006 Summer Baseball Diary #1 (Grand Lake Mariners; Great Lakes League; July 18)
Hello Irish fans, this is Mike Dury checking in from Celina, Ohio. I currently am playing for the Grand Lake Mariners in the Great Lakes League. The Great Lakes League has teams from all over the state of Ohio. This league is very similar to the Northwoods League, where I played last year (except with fewer fans). Players on my team are from schools such as Ball State, Michigan, Costal Carolina, IPFW and South Alabama, just to name a few. It has been great getting to know all these guys and will cause an even bigger rivalry when we play each other in the spring.
I am living with a family of four girls (my host Mom gets mad when I don't include her as one of the girls)! People who know me would laugh when they hear this, because I come from a family of all boys. I got very lucky, though, being able to stay with such a wonderful family. They are amazing and have made my final collegiate summer experience fun.
My host dad, Kent, is very busy all summer basically running the city of Celina, but he still finds time to come out and watch me play. It seems like host mom, Ginny, is always on the go. She makes delicious dinners for the family, which always gets me excited to get home after a long night at the ballpark. My host sisters, Christina (23), Andrea (20), and Ellen (18) have added excitement to my summer. My three host sisters always have a lot more to talk about than my two brothers back home. I guess girls just always seem to have more stuff going on in their lives than boys. But seriously, if I could envision myself with sisters, I would want them to be just like Christina, Andrea, and Ellen.
The town of Celina is small but there is a lot to do. Celina contains the largest man-made lake in the United States. There are four towns similar to Celina all within about 30 minutes of each other. Each town has a weekend in the summer when it holds its annual festival, which is a blast. But one of my normal days usually consists of waking up, grabbing a quick breakfast and then heading to the gym for a workout. Then, I usually catch up on some rest or help out around the house cutting the grass or just helping my host mom out. Around 4:00, I usually head to the field to get some early work in before batting practice.
All our games usually start at 7:30 and we play doubleheaders on the weekends. The nice thing about this league is that there are no overnight trips and we usually get one off day a week. We are going to play around 50 games and I think that is a perfect amount.
As far as baseball goes, my summer has been a success so far. My team is about .500 with about 12 games to go. The guys on my team are awesome and have made going to the field each day enjoyable for me. I have been playing mostly the corner outfield positions with getting about five starts at first base. I have hit mostly in the 3-hole and cleanup spots in the lineup all summer. I started out hot but went into a little slump. I was lucky enough to have a coach who knows his hitting and who has stuck with me and let me play through my struggles.
For the first time in my collegiate career, I have been able to learn the certain adjustments (by playing every day) that must be made to hit on a daily basis. My coach Scott French, who coaches at Ball State, has really helped me mature as a hitter. He is a great young baseball mind who is going to be a great head coach one day. He has helped me with some adjustments in my swing that have helped me to turn it on here down the stretch. Right now, I feel the best I ever have felt at the plate.
Just recently, I was inserted in the starting rotation on the mound. I made my first start against my Irish teammate, Jeff Manship of the Delaware Cows. This was definitely one of the highlights of my summer. Jeff looked incredible and was so confident with his fastball. It seemed like he was throwing his off-speed stuff just for his own amusement. I hope everything works out for Jeff in the draft but it wouldn't hurt to have one of the best pitchers in the country on our team next year!
I suffered the unfortunate loss that day, going 3 2/3 innings while giving up the only run on a squeeze play at the plate. Talking to Jeff after the game made me miss all my teammates from Notre Dame. It has only been a couple months, but I already missed going to the park everyday in that Irish uniform.
In closing, I would like to thank coach Mainieri for all he has done for me personally and for Notre Dame. LSU is getting a great coach, but more importantly a great man. I also would like to extend my congratulations to coach Rooney and coach Godwin. You two have bright futures and will bring LSU back to the top (right behind ND!!). You three guys have made my college experience the best time in my life and for that I thank you. Good luck!
Lastly, I would like to say how excited I am to get back on campus with all my teammates and new coaches. We all just found out that coach Dave Schrage was named the new head coach. I am so excited and I have talked to many of my Irish teammates and everyone can't wait to get to work with coach Schrage and his staff. The hiring committee did a great job finding the best coach available who will take our team where we want to go!
I would like to finish by saying good luck and congratulations to Craig Cooper, Matt Bransfield, Jeff Samardzija, Greg Lopez and Tom Thornton in professional baseball. Good luck to the rest of my teammates in summer ball and I can't wait to get to work with all of you in the fall.