The US Open of Ultimate

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Surely, the phrase “US Open” evokes images of Merion, or Pebble Beach, or Pinehurst, or Bethpage. Or perhaps more likely, depending on the time of year, Flushing Meadows.

But there is another US Open, one that I am privileged to be a part of during this upcoming holiday weekend!

Screen-Shot-2013-06-06-at-4.49.30-PMAs you likely know, along with my passion for broadcasting, I also love the sport of ultimate frisbee. Back in May, I had the honor of joining the ESPN crew for the network’s premier ultimate coverage. It was a great thrill to be a part of the magnificent weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Alongside Mike Couzens (the voice of the Fort Wayne Tin Caps in the Midwest League), I handled the commentary for the all six college ultimate games that were shown live on ESPN3 and later showcased nationally on ESPNU.

Beginning tomorrow and culminating in seven broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be joining Mike and our amazing ESPN crew again for another ultimate weekend. We’ll be in Raleigh, NC for the beginning of USA Ultimate’s Triple Crown Tour, which commences with the US Open!

This high level tournament will feature the top four club teams in the US from each division (men’s, women’s, and mixed), along with some of the finest international teams that are traveling to the States to compete in this illustrious event. What countries will be represented? Japan, Colombia, and Denmark, to name a few!

The eyes of the ultimate world will be focused on Raleigh this Fourth of July weekend. Hope you might consider finding us on ESPN3 on Saturday or Sunday!

If you’ve never seen competitive high-level ultimate before, the championship games from college nationals have been posted on YouTube. If you have 90 minutes to kill, check out the men’s title game between Pittsburgh and Central Florida:

In a remarkable coincidence, the Salem Red Sox are playing in Zebulon (just outside of Raleigh) during the same four days as the US Open. The very talented Andrew Kanell will ably handle the bulk of the play-by-play in my absence. I’ll be listening to him on my phone while watching ultimate about 25 minutes down the road.

The Salem Sox are looking to avoid being swept in a series that has been badly marred by weather. The rain halted us after six innings on Monday, and we endured an hour and 47 minute downpour delay on Tuesday. Alas, hopefully things are brighter tonight, in more ways than one.

Today’s game notes are below, and if you’re done watching the USA Ultimate footage, we’d love for you to join us on the radio at 7 PM on ESPN Radio in Virginia, AM 1240 WGMN Roanoke and online at salemsox.com.

Remembering sunscreen this time,
Evan

*****

July 3, 2013 7:05 PM Salem Red Sox (39-43, 6-6) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (47-32, 7-3) Game #83

TicketReturn.Com Field                          Myrtle Beach, SC                    Road Game #44

Probable Starters: RHP William Cuevas (4-6, 5.25) vs LHP Victor Payano (5-4, 4.41)

The Long and Short of It: Simply put, Tuesday night featured both the longest game and the shortest game of the year, all in one. From first pitch to final out, three hours and 47 minutes passed by, a period 16 minutes lengthier than Salem’s most drawn out game of the season. On the other hand, the 1 hour and 47 minute rain delay in the second inning dropped the actual playing time down to precisely two hours, one minute shorter than a pair of two hour and one minute nine-inning tilts that the Sox enjoyed earlier this year. Salem fell 1-0 in just two hours of actual action, just the second time all season that the Sox were shutout. Salem was also blanked in a seven-inning game on June 14, snapping a streak of 85 straight games with at least one run scored.

Snapped, with Crackle and Pop: For the first time since June 2, Keiry De La Cruz played a game and never reached base. However, he did force Myrtle Beach center fielder Jake Skole to make a remarkable running basket catch in the warning track in deep right-center field. Unfortunately, his consecutive games on base streak ended at 27, with him failing to reach base on July 2, exactly one month after he last registered a goose-egg.  His incredible 27-game stretch easily surpassed the 25-game on-base streaks from Carolina’s Francisco Lindor and Winston’s Joey DeMichele from earlier this year. Lindor hit .343 during his 25-game on base streak, while DeMichele hit .330. In De La Cruz’s 27-game stretch, he’s hit an outrageous .419 (44-for-105) with 27 RBI.  For the full season, he also leads the league with 27 doubles and 58 RBI.

Can Cuevas Continue?: Venezuelan righty William Cuevas has turned around a season of struggles in his last four starts. In each of his last four outings since June 11, Cuevas has allowed two runs or less in six innings or more. Overall, the 22-year-old has compiled 1.73 ERA (5 ER/26 IP) over his last four appearances, with three wins and one no-decision. That’s a drastic change from his first 10 starts of the year, in which he went 1-6 with a 7.31 ERA. In two starts against Myrtle Beach this season, Cuevas has gone 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA.

Away from Home: Salem has gone 21-18 in home games in 2013, but the record sits at 18-25 on the road. Statistically, the team’s batting average and ERA bear out the fact that the Sox have played better at home. In the cozy confines of LewisGale Field, the Sox are hitting .265 and pitching to a 3.89 ERA. On the road, Salem’s batting just .244, with a Team ERA of 4.71. The Red Sox are 6-6 so far in the second half that begins with 14 of 17 on the road. After the Sox make it through Sunday’s game in Carolina, Salem will have 31 of its final 53 games at LewisGale Field in the Roanoke Valley.

Still Searching: The Salem Sox have tasted victory at every Carolina League ballpark in 2013, except for TicketReturn.Com Field. Salem’s last win in Myrtle Beach came on August 22, 2012, when Keith Couch tossed seven strong innings in a 5-3 Red Sox victory that helped the Red Sox avoid a three-game series sweep. Going back further, the Sox have lost nine of their last 10 games in Myrtle Beach.

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