Aug. 13, 2003
The summer baseball diaries at und.com have come to an end as rising sophomore Matt Bransfield checks in from his native state of Colorado. Bransfield is one of several Irish players who swung a hot bat this summer, as the cleanup hitter for the Colorado Sox of the wooden-bat Rocky Mountain League.
The RML is part of the 16-team National Baseball Congress (NBC) that sends a large contingent of teams to Wichita each summer for the NBC World Series. The Sox wrapped up their season wih a 1-2 record at the Series while Bransfield’s classmate Craig Cooper and the Hays Larks still are alive as one of six teams remaining in the marathon event (check back to und.com later this month for a complete summer baseball wrapup).
Bransfield tied for the national lead in the 16-league NBC with nine home runs (prior to the Series) while his 36 RBI ranked fourth in the entire NBC (he also was ninth in his league with a .381 batting avg. and eighth with 32 hits). The versatile infielder then kept roling at the NBC World Series, launching a pair of home runs (the first providing an early 2-0 lead in the Sox win) while batting 4-for-11 with 4 RBI, 3 runs and a pair of walks in the three games.
For a link to all of the 2003 summer diaries and an archive of the 2002 entries, see the Summer Baseball Diary link on the baseball page at und.com.
2003 Notre Dame Summer Baseball Diaries
(Entry 7; Matt Bransfield, Colorado Sox; Aug. 13)
Hello Irish Fans. This is Matt Bransfield, bringing the summer diaries to a close from my hometown of Englewood, Colo. I have had the unique opportunity to be able to live at home with my familiy and play on a competitive summer team.
Our house is usually very busy between my younger brother Kevin (17) and myself. After a two year hiatus, Kevin decided to pick up baseball again and no one was more excited than me. So between Kevin and me, my parents have been watching plenty of baseball and that is just the way they like it. Kevin is a little rusty but with some practice and added strength I think he’ll make one heck of a ballplayer.
The name of the team I am on is the Colorado Sox and we are a member of the Rocky Mountain Baseball League. There are 10 teams in the league and we finished tied for second in league with a record of 19 wins and 8 losses. Our overall record ended up being 25 wins and 15 loses. In the regional tournament, we battled to make it to the championship but ended up losing. This was not the end of our season though because the second place finish qualified us for the NBC World Series, where we went 1-2 playing against some pretty tough competition.
The guys on the team have been great. Everyone is very focused on winning and being the best baseball team he can be. Personally, I am happy with the steps I have taken to becoming a better baseball player. I have been hitting the weights, working on my approach at the plate and working defensively at third base, first base and a little behind the dish (catching).
Most of our team is from Colorado, so some of the guys I have either played with or against in high school. This was a quick way to bond with most of the guys and we have become better friends as the summer has gone on. When we are on the road, I love joking around with our second baseman Jake Peterson and one of our starting pitchers Roy Allen. They are always keeping me on my toes.
The league I am in is mostly college players but also some guys who are out of college and aren’t ready to give up the game of baseball yet. I find that some of the harder pitchers I have faced this summer have been older guys. We played a series with a team of all former professionals called the Reno Astros. Throughout the three-game set, this team showed their veteran experience and gave us a clinic for the first two games. We managed to mount a late comeback in the third game and squeak out a victory.
With the exception of three road trips and the trip to NBC World Series, this summer has given me ample time to lift weights, play golf and be with my family and friends. I have had a great summer but I cannot wait to get back and see all my teammates and get after it this fall.
Congratulations coach O’ Connor. Thank you for all your time and effort towards making Notre Dame Baseball what it is today. Also congrats to coach Rooney and I look forward to meeting you this fall.