Aug. 27, 2006
Several Notre Dame baseball players recently have submitted their 2006 Summer Baseball Diaries, capping a busy past few months for the Irish baseball program. These final diaries - from Wade Korpi, Jeremy Barnes, Eddy Mendiola and Kyle Weiland - will be posted on und.com over the next few days, followed by some bonus entries in September (see schedule posted below). A wrapup of all Notre Dame baseball player summer stats also is forthcoming (including former ND players in pro ball and the incoming freshmen).
Korpi and his Staunton (Va.) Braves team made a spirited run to the Valley League championship series, losing to the Luray Wranglers in the final game of that five-game series. The junior lefthander is Notre Dame's top returning starter from the 2006 Irish pitching staff and turned in an impressive summer with Staunton, compiling a 1.43 ERA and 3-3 record (with limited run support) while limiting opponents to a .209 batting average and totaling 49 strikeouts, 32 walks and 13 more innings pitched (50.1) than hits allowed (38), in 10 appearances (9 starts; 9 wild pitches, no hit batters).
Korpi's ERA was well below the staff mark (4.07) while the Staunton offense hit just .254 and averaged 4.5 runs per game for the summer season.
An archive of links to the 2002-06 ND Summer Baseball Diaries can be found at the following link: http://und.cstv.com/genrel/basebl-summerdiaries.html.
Notre Dame Baseball 2006 Summer Diaries (updated schedule)
Thur., July 20 - Mike Dury (Grand Lake Mariners; Great Lakes League)
Mon., July 24 - Brett Lilley (Cotuit Kettleers; Cape Cod League)
Fri., Aug. 4 - Sam Elam and Ross Brezovsky (Hays Larks; Jayhawk League)
Sun., Aug. 27 - Wade Korpi (Staunton Braves; Valley League)
Mon., Aug. 28 - Eddy Mendiola (Altamonte Springs Snappers; Florida Collegiate League)
Tues., Aug. 29- Jeremy Barnes (Delaware Cows; Great Lakes League/also speed training)
Wed., Aug. 30 - Kyle Weiland (Delaware Cows; Great Lakes League/also Team USA trials)
Fri., Sept 8 - head coach Dave Schrage
Tues., Sept. 12 - assistant coach Scott Lawler
Fri., Sept. 15 - 2006 graduate Craig Cooper (Eugene Emeralds; single-A Northwest League)
Tues., Sept. 19 - 2006 graduate Tom Thornton (Oneonta Tigers; single-A New York-Penn League)
Notre Dame 2006 Summer Baseball Diary #4 (Wade Korpi; Staunton Braves; Valley League; Aug. 27)
"Hello Irish fans, this is Wade Korpi I write this diary after my second season in Staunton, Virginia, as a member of the Staunton Braves. Early last fall, coach Rooney asked me what I thought about returning to Staunton for another season and I told him whatever you want to do, that would be fine because I enjoyed Staunton the year before.
"While I was familiar with the baseball side of playing for the Braves, this summer was very different from my first season in Staunton. First, I?lived back in the woods you see, so I didn't have access to the internet and had to drive 10 minutes just to get one bar of service on my cell phone. So - you all aren't going to believe this stuff - but every night I looked out my window to see more fire flies than I ever could have ever imagined. They sit in this tree and it looks like a Christmas tree the way that the fireflies continue to flicker off and on, it's kind of like noon in the dead of night.?
"Another tale transpired on my way home from a game when a skunk snuck up on me in my driveway. I tried to drive fast to avoid the skunk spraying my car, but sure enough the little rascal sprayed all over the place. I could smell the spray the entire night and when I got in my car the next morning, the stench was still everywhere. You just can't make this stuff up!
"In Staunton, it seems that everyone rolls with their gun rack, ball cap and Skoal cap but the folks are great - you get just what you see. Everybody?knows everybody, but most importantly, everybody calls you friend.?
"The Staunton Braves season started off as a struggle, as we almost missed the playoffs completely. We managed to sneak into the final playoff spot and shocked the league by winning two playoff series (before finally losing in the final game of the championship series). We lost the Valley League?title in the fifth and deciding game of the championship series.
"During the championship series, our play was rewarded with a charter bus that featured air-conditioning and TVs. This was amazing compared to our team bus "Whitey" that turned into a sauna inside and felt like the Little Engine that Could as it struggled up hills at 15 miles-per-hour.
"After two road losses in the championship series, our coach wondered to himself, `What is the problem?'. He was quickly convinced that this luxurious charter bus was cursed and we were more of a blue-collar team. Whitey returned as our means of transportation for the final game of the series.
"My typical day in Staunton involved sleeping in before heading to the gym?for an afternoon workout. I then would go to the field for batting practice and then the game that followed. After games, I found the greatest?place ever at a 24-hour gas station called Sheetz where I could order a?sandwich that isn't cooked until you order it no matter when you show up. ?
"Without this place, I probably would just grab some onion rings and watch the TV but these sandwiches provided a tasty and healthy postgame meal.?
"Well Irish fans, although Staunton was great I really enjoyed getting back for a few days to my South Florida home, where palm trees grow and the warm breezes blow. I enjoyed a couple few days at home before heading to South Bend for another great year of Irish baseball.?