Saturday, September 5, 2009
A Long, Fun Summer...Now Back to Japan!
Hello again. Thought it was about time that I updated you guys on what's going on.
It's been awhile, but I'm finally getting around to updating on what's been going on since early August. I had a great time in Venezuela with the USA Pan Am Qualifier team, and we took home the gold medal after a long tournament. I was excited to head back to Akron to meet up with the Racers as we geared up for the NPF playoffs. Unfortunately, things didn't go our way and we lost two tough games to the Rockford Thunder. The Thunder was on a roll, though, and they ended up winning the NPF title.
It was hard to say goodbye to the Racers, since I had a great time with both old and new friends. I was able to spend the summer with Kelsey Hoffman, who was my catcher for four years at Virginia Tech. After the playoffs, we both headed down to Palm Beach, FL, to prepare for her wedding to fellow VT alum Nic Schmitt. It was a beautiful wedding, and I was flattered to be her Maid of Honor. It was a great mini-vacation as well, and went by way too fast! I was scheduled to leave for Japan the next day (last Sunday), but Typhoon Krovanh cancelled most flights to Tokyo, so I spent the day in Chicago instead. It ended up working out well, and I was able to do a little last minute shopping and enjoy some Chicago pizza before flights resumed on Monday.
The weather had mostly cleared by the time I arrived on Tuesday, with just a little residual rain remaining. I joined the team on Wednesday for practice, and we left for our first game on Thursday! It was a whirlwind week, but we finally got settled in on Friday and ready to start playing again in the morning. We had a great pre-game practice and were also able to participate in community service in the area, traveling to the Niikawa School in the Toyama prefecture, which works with kids with mental disabilities. Our team put on a demonstration of various positions, performed "knock" (rounds of defense with the infield and outfield) and played catch with the kids.
It was a little difficult for Natalie and I to interact because of the language barrier, but we still had a great time shaking hands and taking photos with some of the students. We start off with Honda today (Saturday) at 10:30 and play Renesas Takasaki at 1:00 on Sunday. With only 11 games left, every one will be very important as we are fighting with several other teams to work our way into the top four.
Check back soon, and I'll try to have updated standings and results as the second half officially gets underway.