A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Neall French and the Charleston RiverDogs

The Charleston RiverDogs recently played a series of games against the Legends here in town. 4 games were played, I was at the 1st and 3rd one, and listened to the 2nd one on the radio.

The 2rd game was a brilliant one on the part of Charleston. Hector Noesi took a perfect game to the 7th before walking a batter. Casey Erickson relieved Noesi, pitching a perfect 8th, and the switch pitcher Pat Venditte pitched the 9th. Ronald Ramirez had the Legends only hit, a home run against Venditte in the 9th inning.

A no-hitter is something special, but you hate to see one pitched against your team. In that respect, I was pretty happy Ramirez hit one.

On the other hand, a no-hitter is pretty rare and exciting, even if it is against the good guys.

As a side note, I almost went to the similarly pitched AAA one-hitter by the Paw Sox over the Louisville Bats. It was a rainy day here, I figured Louisville had similar weather. They played, and again, I missed a great pitching performance from Clay Buchholz.

So, the Yankees single A team had a great showing against Lexington. This team looked more like a AA team. Several of these guys have a real chance.

I did correspond a bit with Charleston first baseman Neall French concerning the game, and playing baseball. He said that his favorite park to play in so far has been the RiverDogs home park, "The Joe." He said that his second favorite park so far is the one in Bowling Green.

Neall noted that his favorite team is the Yankees, as they have been good to him.

I asked Neall about what he thought of the new team and park in Bowling Green. He said, "the new team in BG is a talented team with some exciting players, and they play in a top notch stadium. Great place to play, with outstanding facilities."

I asked him about the one-hitter in Lexington, noting the outstanding pitching performance. Neall responded, "And that one hitter was a great game to play in, what a great pitching performance?!"

I may have put too much emphasis on the "pitching performance" part of my question. It was without a doubt, a great performance from the entire team.

I was pretty excited that Neall responded to my questions about his career, playing in Kentucky, and his experience in the game in Lexington this year.

I know Neall comes out of the Bay Village/Cleveland area, and went to St. Ignatius High School. I know when I lived in the Cleveland area, I bumped in to guys from the school doing volunteer work more than once. I met some St. Ignatius students doing volunteer work over their Thanksgiving break one year. Many kids would be home playing video games or sleeping! I have a lot of respect for any alumni coming out of this service minded school.

Neall is doing good with Charleston this year after playing with the Gulf Coast League Yankees last year. It will be fun watching his career as he goes up the baseball ladder. Thanks Neall!

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