November 26, 2015

When they were Storm Chasers. Several members of the 2015 World Series Champs started their run in Omaha (VIDEO/AUDIO)

11 of the 25 members of the 2015 World Series champs spent time at Triple-A Omaha

11 of the 25 members of the 2015 World Series champs spent time at Triple-A Omaha

As the Manager of Sports News for Learfield News and Ag, I had the privilege to report on sports for two of our company’s networks. Before turning over the reigns to Todd Kimm this spring, one was right here at Nebraska Radio Network and the other in Missouri.

That position provided me a rare opportunity to not only follow the 2014 American League Champion and 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, but I also followed many of those players as they made their way up the system, which included successful stops at Triple-A affiliate Omaha.

Starting with the 2011 season, Omaha’s Triple-A club changed their name from Royals to Storm Chasers.  That first year, under the direction of their longtime manager Mike Jirschele, Omaha finished in first place for the first time in 21 years.

The Storm Chasers went 79-63 and won the American Conference playoff series by beating the Round Rock Express 3-1.  Omaha then beat Sacramento 3-0 for their first Pacific Coast League Championship since 1990.

Several members from that Storm Chasers’ championship club were on the Royals championships roster this year.  They included:  Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Paulo Orlando, Salvador Perez, Danny Duffy, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland.

Hosmer made his major league debut that year after playing in 28 games for Omaha.  The overall 3rd pick in the 2008 draft hit .437 in his short time with the Storm Chasers. The same can be said for 21-year old catcher Salvador Perez.  The World Series MVP debuted with the Royals on August 11th of 2011.  However, Omaha was a short stay for the kid behind the plate who started the year at Double-A ball before moving on after just 12 games in Omaha.  Perez also spent just 12-games in Omaha in 2012.

In fact, of all the World Series champs who spent time in Omaha, Dyson was the only player to not see time with the big league club in 2011.

During the 2012 season Christian Colon, the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft, made his debut with Omaha.  New York starter Matt Harvey was selected three players later, 7th overall.  Colon, who was left off the 2014 World Series roster with a finger injury, showed no rust at the plate in the 12th inning of their World Series clincher.  His single scored  Dyson, putting the Royals on top 3-2.  They eventually won Game 5, 7-2.

Colon’s major league postseason batting numbers in three at-bats: 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored, an RBI and stolen base 1.000 avg

After Colon’s single, Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz came up to Colon and gave him a fist bump to the chest yelling “Gimme some…atta boy…Hell yeah!!!”

(VIDEO/Fox Sports, MLB)

In 2013, it was the arrival of Yordano Ventura, who started at Double-A Northwest Arkansas before being called up to Omaha where he made 14 starts.

I also can’t forget former Husker and Lincoln native Alex Gordon, who spent part of 2010 in Omaha learning how to play left field.  The former third baseman gave way to Mike Moustakas and saved his career by turning into a Gold Glove major league left fielder.

The Storm Chasers also continued their run in 2014 after manager Mike Jirschele was called up to coach third base for the Royals.  In those four seasons from 2011-2014, the Omaha Storm Chasers went 308-265 and won three PCL Championships and two Triple-A National Championships.

State baseball tournament scores from 5/20/15

High school baseball

High school baseball

Class A Wednesday results 

Millard South 3, Omaha Westside 2
Lincoln Southwest 7, x-Millard West 3

Championship Thursday at Werner Park 

Millard South (28-7) vs. Lincoln Southwest (26-8), 10 a.m.
Omaha Westside (32-6) vs. Millard South-Southwest winner, to follow

Class B Wednesday results 

Lincoln Pius X 6, x-Omaha Gross 3
Norris 5, x-Elkhorn South 1

Championship Thursday at Haymarket Park

Game 14—Lincoln Pius X (20-6) vs. Norris (19-12), 10 a.m.
Game 15—If necessary

NU comes up short against Illinois as they set Big Ten win streak record

Nebraska lost to the Illini in the Big Ten Tournament (photo courtesy/Illinois Athletics)

Nebraska lost to the Illini in the Big Ten Tournament (photo courtesy/Illinois Athletics)

Big Ten Tournament, Illinois rallied to beat Nebraska 3-2.  The Huskers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth with two runs on four straight hits, including back-to-back doubles from Tanner Lubach and Luis Alvarado. The Illini rallied in the bottom of the sixth with three singles and sac fly.  A bases loaded single in the bottom of the eighth put Illinois on top.  For Illinois, it’s their 27th win in a row that’s a Big Ten record.  Texas and Florida hold the NCAA record of 34.

Two-time All-Big Ten pitcher Chance Sinclair made his 31st career start on Wednesday night and gave the Huskers 5.2 strong innings, as he allowed two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out four. Sinclair allowed one hit over the first five innings, with three of Illinois’ four hits off of Sinclair coming in the sixth.

Huskers play fifth seeded Michigan State today at 1 p.m.

Three Husker baseball players pick up All-Big Ten second team honors

Seven Nebraska players picked up Big Ten honors (photo/NU Athletics)

Seven Nebraska players picked up Big Ten honors (photo/NU Athletics)

The Nebraska baseball team has three players honored by the Big Ten on their all-conference second team.  Catcher Tanner Lubach, outfielder Ryan Boldt and starting pitcher Chance Sinclair made the list.  Illinois, the Huskers opponent in the Big Ten Tournament opener on Wednesday landed six players on the first-team.

Relief pitcher Josh Roeder was named to the third team, with a trio of young players making the All-Big Ten Freshman list.  Those players are pitcher Garett King, outfielder Luis Alvarado and 1B Scott Schreiber.

Illinois’ David Kerian was named Player of the Year, while teammate Tyler Jay garnered Pitcher of the Year accolades. Michigan’s Jake Bivens took home Freshman of the Year honors, while Fighting Illini mentor Dan Hartleb was tabbed Coach of the Year.

C – Jason Goldstein, ILL
1B – David Kerian, ILL
2B – Brandon Lowe, MD
SS – Adam Walton, ILL
3B – Mark Weist, MSU
OF – Casey Fletcher, ILL
OF – Jackson Glines, MICH
OF – Pat Porter, OSU
SP – Blake Hickman, IOWA

C – Tanner Lubach, NEB
[Read more…]

NU baseball will carry a four-game losing into the Big Ten Tournament

NU baseball

NU baseball

The Nebraska baseball team held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday, before rain sent the game into a near two hour delay in Champaign, IL.  Eventually, the game was called and will not count in the standings.

The Huskers end the regular season with a 34-21 overall record, including a 9-14 Big Ten record and picked up the eighth seed in the conference tournament that begins Wednesday in Minneapolis at Target Field.

Nebraska will open against top seeded Illinois, who has won 26 games in a row. The Huskers will practice at Target Field on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and play the Illini Wednesday at 5:05 p.m.

Big Ten Bracket