July 30, 2003
The fourth entry for the Summer Baseball Diaries at und.com has arrived from the player – Matt Edwards – who possibly was the most important component of Notre Dame’s 2002 team, due to the uncertainty of his potential impact after missing all of the 2002 season with a broken leg (he quickly erased that uncertainty en route to totaling 69 RBI, eight home runs and a .376 season batting average).
Edwards and the rest of his Waynesboro (Va.) General teammates endured a frustrating first half of the season but he rebounded to hit .300 in the second half, en route to a final .207 batting average. Like many of the players in the nation’s wooden-bat summer leagues, Edwards’ stats are more easily interpreted when put in perspective with a Waynesboro team batting average that finished at just .217.
The updated Summer Diary schedule is listed below. Rising sophomore infielder Greg Lopez already has sent along his diary entry, so check back in a couple days for his report from Delaware, Ohio:
Notre Dame Baseball 2003 Summer Diary Schedule (dates are approximate)
July 12 – Javi Sanchez (Madison Mallards; Northwoods League)
July 18 – Tom Thornton (Newport Gulls; Northeast League)
July 26 – Matt Macri (Brewster Whitecaps; Cape Cod League)
July 30 – Matt Edwards (Waynesboro Generals; Shenandoah League)
Aug. 1 – Greg Lopez (Delaware Cows; Great Lakes League)
Aug. 5 – Craig Cooper (Hays Larks; Jayhawk League)
Aug. 10 – Matt Bransfield (Colorado Sox; Rocky Mountain League
ND Baseball 2003 Summer Diaries (Entry #4, Matt Edwards; July 30)
Hello everybody, this is Matt Edwards checking in and I have just completed my first summer of baseball in three years. The first thing I want to do (after taking a long nap) is thank my host family, Jack, Donna, Kayla and David Jaeger. I felt at home with them from my first day there. It was a pleasure getting to know them and I’m going to especially miss my after-the-game talks with David and the “high fives” I got from their dog, Mulder. From the beginning, the Jaegers played a huge part in making my stay in Waynesboro, Virgnia, a great experience.
Even though I’m from the thriving metropolis of Mechanicsville, Va., I never had visited Waynesboro before this summer. Waynesboro is a small town about 25 miles west of Charlottesville. I was fortunate enough to play in a league only two hours away from my home. Many times, I would meet my parents for lunch, go home on off days or my parents would hop in the car and ride up to watch a game. I even got a chance to spend some time with my roosters, Tony and Buckwheat.
This was very convenient, although it cost my dad a few dollars as I had to replace the tires on my car before the season was over. I want to thank Jack for working at the Staunton Merchants Tire and Auto. The Valley League was divided into a Northern and Southern Division. The top two teams from each division made the playoffs, but unfortunately our team was not one of them. We finished third in the Southern but it was not from a lack of effort from our team.
Although we did not win as many games as we hoped, we all had a great time together. With names like Barney, Bubba, and Boomer, I could tell right off the bat that I was going to enjoy playing on this team. The thing I enjoyed the most about my summer team was how we immediately bonded. It seemed as if right after the first day we met, we had the same goals which allowed us to get along both on and off the field.
After about a week, we started to settle in on the ball field, but at this time the injuries started. We had three players from Western Carolina who all played a huge role on our team before hving to leave with injuries. An outfielder from Stetson, who also was a starting pitcher, likewise had to leave early.
After these players went home, other minor aches and injuries followed our team for the rest of the season, forcing most of our players to be out of position almost every game. I played most of my games at third base while getting in a couple games at shortstop and first base. At one point, we had three outfielders in the infield and a catcher in the outfield. It just seemed to be one of those seasons where our team could not catch a break.
Despite many players being out of position and a short bench, we had many close games and our record easily could have been 27-13 instead of 13-27. Catching a good break here and there would have completely turned our season around.
One of the reasons we had a chance to be in all the games was due to our excellent pitching. One of our top pitchers was my roommate, Scott Bickford. Scott was outstanding in relief. Every time the game got close and we were in a jam, Scott would come in and bring the other team to a screeching halt. He was making hitters look bad with his huge curveball and outstanding control.
Playing in the Valley was a tremendous experience and our team played hard to the end. Many teams would have packed it up and quit when we had to face so much adversity with injuries, but this team fought through every game and without a doubt we were good enough to win it all in the Valley League. Coach Mac, coach Lounge, coach Spotz and coach Hearn all did a tremendous job in keeping our team together. It was an honor to play for them and the Waynesboro Generals.
I also had the chance to work out this summer with a running coach who is based out of Richmond. It was almost like learning how to run again, as I continue to recover from the broken leg that I suffered during my freshman season at Notre Dame. I didn’t know what to expect from this at first but am very glad that I had the chance to work with him and I hope to continue making progress in that area throughout the fall.
I had a great time in Waynesboro playing for the Generals but it’s now time for me to turn the page and get ready for another Fighting Irish season. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in the fall.