Days 3 & 4: Port Charlotte and Fort Myers, Fla.
Athletics - posted on 3/16/2009Assistant director of sports information Chris Lindeke brings you daily coverage from Port Charlotte and Fort Myers, Fla., where the Lakeland baseball team will play 12 games in seven days between Sunday, March 15, and Saturday, March 21.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Welcome back to the spring break blog.
It is currently about 10:30 p.m. EST, and we have just arrived back at the hotel after a busy day.
After the team defeated St. Lawrence
this morning, the guys ribbed winning pitcher Lee "Lumberjack" Chepil (first picture below) after he notched his first career victory. Senior captain Mike Phillips presented Chepil with a "game ball" immediately following the game. This "game ball," evidently, was found underneath the bleachers at the park, and looked like it had been there for a while. Phillips presented Chepil with a real game ball when the team got on the bus.
We arrived back at the hotel following the game, and we had about an hour and a half to regroup before heading to the home of Bill Klossner, a 1974 Lakeland grad who lives about an hour from our hotel.
Klossner, who ran track for four years and played golf for one year at LC, is an assistant baseball coach at Charlotte High School, where the team practiced on Saturday. Bill and his wife, Chris, and daughter, Emily, were wonderful hosts. They provided a team meal of chicken and rice with fresh fruit and various desserts. I think the guys were thankful to be eating something other than Subway or Wendy's for a night.
Lakeland coach Chris Thousand played with Jake Klossner, Bill's son, for two years at LC. Jake played with Thousand prior to the team's 2002 NCAA Division III World Series run.
The Klossners' also have an indoor pool, which our party of 40 put to use. A bunch of us played a game called "Keep it Alive," where we would attempt to keep a football in the air without letting it touch the pool or the floor.
One person starts the game by throwing it to someone else. That person needs to catch the ball and throw it to someone else while jumping into the pool. We tried to see how many touches in a row without letting the ball fall. We got to 48, which is a team record from what I'm told.
It's safe to say that sophomore outfielder Andrew Schartner's skill in the game didn't quite match his enthusiasm (but boy was he excited to play). There is a picture of people playing the game below (that's freshman Casey Fox getting some serious air with the football).
More than a few individuals fell victim to getting tossed in the pool. One of the more memorable occurred when Thousand tossed sophomore infielder Ryan Polizzi in (Polizzi hung on for dear life and brought Thousand in with him). Assistant coaches Michael Bachar and Matthew Andrews started it when they got Schartner.
Among those who avoided such a fate was senior infielder (and sports information student assistant) Travis Chell.
After leaving the house, we headed to a family fun park for some go-karting. Sophomore pitcher Mike Ruzek claims that senior infielder Alex Grant didn't even finish his first race, but from what I saw, he cleaned up (Although he barely made the 54-inch height requirement - we list him at an extremely generous 5-foot-10 on the roster).
Lakeland takes on Scranton tomorrow in a day-night doubleheader at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST. Check back tomorrow for more from sunny Florida.
Happy March Madness!
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