Baseball returns, Columbus spoils Indians Home Opener

tribe ball

Written by

Brian Jessen,

Hot Corner Contributor , and Blogger for

There are signs of spring (FINALLY!) in Indianapolis.  People walking the Canal, the grasses are cut along 16th Street by the Speedway and the crack of a wooden bat followed by a loud cheer erupts from Victory Field.

Yes Indianapolis, baseball is back.

The Indianapolis Indians began their International League West Division title defense last night as they hosted division rival Columbus Clippers in their 2013 Season Opener.  With an announced crowd of 12,769 was on hand, the Tribe had their hands full.  Overall, the Indians have gone 3-2 against Columbus on Opening Day, and are 2-1 when facing the Clippers in the season’s first home game.

But in their favor, the Tribe has been tough to beat at Victory Field early in the season, posting a 12-5 record in the season’s home opener, and a 6-2 record on Opening Day in Indianapolis.  But that didn’t hold true last night.

A scoreless ballgame going into the 8th inning when Clippers designated hitter Jeremy Hermida hit the first pitch he saw from reliever Mike Zagurski for a grand slam in the eighth inning for the game’s only runs. The Indians had just three hits.

New Tribe  HP Andy Oliver took to the rubber for the Tribe in the opener.  The southpaw was acquired from the Detroit Tigers last December.  Oliver started 18 straight games last season before making nine of his final 10 appearances in relief.  Overall in 2012, the lefty went 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA (64 ER in 118.0 IP) in 28 games (19 starts).

Oliver (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) appeared sharp and focused in an impressive performance in his Indians’ debut, striking out six while allowing just two hits over 6 scoreless innings. Oliver dominated out of the gate, allowing just one hit over the first five innings of the game, but ultimately did not figure in the final decision as Columbus held down the Tribe bats.

RHP Vic Black had an impressive start to his Triple-A career, striking out the side in the seventh inning after surrendering a lead-off single. However, his second inning would not go as well as his first, when a lead-off walk to LF Cedric Hunter, base hit to CF Tim Fedroff and an intentional walk forced by a passed ball loaded the bases in the top of the eighth.

The Tribe pulled Black, who has struggled with control problems throughout his career. Skipper Dean Treanor and Pitching Coach Tom Filer made the call for veteran reliever Mike Zagurski, who on his first pitch of the night, surrendered a mammoth grand slam home run off the bat of Hermida. The longball ultimately pinned Black with the loss, dropping his record to 0-1.

The loss was the Indians sixth straight Opening Day defeat, but they will look to bounce back in game two of the four-game season-opening series with Columbus on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. at Victory Field.

Silver Creek High earns first victory in 70 years

by Brian Jessen
Managing Editor,

1942.  It was a difficult year.

Following the US entering the war , the mobilization of war efforts were quick and effective with car makers and other manufacturers changing to production of weapons of war . The war also created a new breed of movies that guys still love to this day… war themes.  “White Christmas” from Bing Crosby first appeared in the movie “Holiday Inn”. Twenty six countries came together to create the United Nations.  Due to WWII, US Gas Rationing goes into effect 3 gallons per week.

And it was the last year that Silver Creek High School won a football game.

That is… until last Friday night.  Well, Saturday due to all the rain we received last weekend.

With 7:43 remaining in the game against Eastern Pekin High, REAL FOOTBALL officials called a hault to the game due to lightning in the area.

But when the game resumed Saturday morning, Silver Creek’s fans and students celebrated their 44-18 victory.  Their first victory since the school re-established the program in 2010 … and first of any kind since 1942.

“It means everything,” Silver Creek quarterback Brooks Howell told the News & Tribune. “Losing is tough.

“We knew we had to come out and stay at it. We did want to get too excited after being out.”

To be fair and in modern context, the losing streak was really only 14 games.  With the 2012 incarnation of the Dragons entering Friday’s game at 0-3, they were carrying a collective 0-11 run in varsity games in 2011 and 2012.

Yet the drought between wins was so much longer because the school shuttered its football program for decades. The team was disbanded in 1942 because of World War II, finally restarting operations in 2010.

All of that time without a football program, let alone a victory, was pushed far into the background on Saturday, when Howell finally took a knee to seal a 26-point victory which almost seemed poetic in every sense of the word.

Well, these kids are no longer o-fer anything…  Let’s just hope this school doesn’t go another 70 years without another victory.