Tag Archives: Lilly Trunnell

Photo by Austin Lassell

Jeff Gardner profile

By Lilly Trunnell

Senior Outfielder Jeff Gardner doesn’t remember one particular instance where baseball became part of his life. Baseball was easy for him to pick up, came naturally, and Gardner developed a passion for it young.

Of course, it’s easy to throw yourself into a sport with the support from family. Gardner called baseball a “family sport.” Growing up in Louisville he has the benefit of looking into the stands and seeing them all sitting there, cheering him on no matter what.

But Gardner hasn’t needed much cheering through hard times this season. As one of two senior captains he has led the top 10 ranked Cardinals to a 26-8 overall record. Gardner tops the Cardinals in hitting with a collective batting average of .367. His 40 runs batted in are nine more than the second most and he also has three home runs, including the walk off homer in the very first game of the season. Perhaps Gardner has an edge batting from the left, or maybe it’s the sheer passion he has for the game.

“I want to bring glory to Christ in all that I do,” Gardner said.

His faith is deep-rooted and seems to be working for him. Gardner goes beyond baseball. He has been known to say that he lives his life summed up by a quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He strives to be the kind of person that his teammates can come to with anything, and provide positive support and motivation for the team.

Like most athletes, Gardner can pick out a coach from his past that impacted his ability. Interestingly enough the coach was not baseball. Mike Doig was Gardner’s high school basketball coach. Gardner credits him with making him the athlete he is today. Even though he says he “wasn’t very good” at basketball and knew baseball was where he was really going, Coach Doig infused in Gardner the desire to strive for excellence always.

Professionally, Ted Williams is an icon for Gardner, “Because he was the last guy to hit .400,” he says with a hint of admiration in his voice. Ever since he was a kid, Williams was the favorite player of young Gardner. The baseball great’s legacy and the motivation of his coach have led Gardner to the 2011 All-Big East Team, 2012 second Team All-Big East, a 2013 Team Captainship, being named Big East Player of the Week twice last season, 2013 First Team All-Big East, 2013 Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team, and a 2014 Team Captainship. Despite all these accolades, Gardner still sees a team achievement as his biggest success. He picks out the highlight of his career so far as the 2013 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I would trade away all the other awards if I could just keep that,” Gardner said.

After losing seven classmates to the draft last season, Gardner had to take on a new role of responsibility this year.

“The seniors have seen it all,” he says. “Losing those guys impacted the chemistry at first, but we bond well now.” His sights are set forward. In his last season as a Cardinal, Gardner has one thing in mind. “Going back (to Omaha) would mean the world to me.” Beyond that, he hopes to continue his career by going professional after his graduation from U of L with a Justice Administration degree.

Jeff Gardner is having a season to watch and is leading the team both statistically and in leadership. He is certainly a player to watch in the remaining games this season and potential postseason play.

“I try to go out every day and praise Jesus in all that I do, and make a few friends along the way.”

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Baseball team gears up for 2014 season

By Lilly Trunnell

The University of Louisville Baseball team takes the field for the first time with a Valentine’s Day dual against West Virginia on February 14. With the season just around the corner there is only a little bit of time left to linger on the success and magic of their College World Series run during The Year of the Cardinal.

2013 was a truly memorable season for Louisville Cardinals Baseball. Topping off the season, the Cardinals became Conference Champions, and went through the NCAA Tournament all the way to the College World Series. The 51-14 team was held up largely by the then-junior and senior players under the guidance of Head Coach Dan McDonnell and Assistant Coaches Chris Lemonis and Roger Williams.

The 2013 squad’s impressive 51-14 record came with a conference record of 20-4 in the competitive Big East. At home they boasted 33-5, but their away record didn’t falter at 15-4, which brought in 3-5 at neutral locations. This neutral location record was their demise in the College World Series, which takes place at third-party fields. Upon arriving at the CWS, the Cards lost two in a row, eliminating them from the series. First was a 2-0 loss to Indiana followed by 11-4 elimination versus Oregon State.

That in no way means the team wasn’t solid. The pitching staff boasted an overall ERA of 2.52, which included a strikeout to bases-on-balls ratio of 629-223. This balances out roughly to nearly three strikeouts for every walk allowed. Despite these extraordinary numbers, it may be difficult for the Cardinals to replicate the numbers again this year. They lost four impressive junior pitchers to the draft. RHP Dace Kim, RHP Jeff Thompson, RHP Chad Green and LHP Cody Ege will all be joining professional teams in their minor league organizations for the upcoming season.

Defense is an often-overlooked strength of many teams. While the Cardinals weren’t necessarily the strongest in the area, they held up a solid .969 fielding percentage and committed a total of 77 errors in 65 games total. The pitching staff kept the need and opportunity for a fantastic defense to a minimum, and the offense made up for any lost time there may have been.

With all but one batting average above the Mendoza line, the total average for all the Cardinals was. 283, with seven players going above the .300 mark. They outscored opponents 404-212 runs, had a winning streak of 16 and a losing streak of only three in comparison. Lost from the offense and defense will be drafted 3B Ty Young, OF Chad Johnson and OF Adam Engel. There are also a handful of graduated senior who will not be returning.

With Dan McDonnell, Chris Lemonis, and Roger Williams returning to lead a fresh set of faces in 2014, it’s certain to be an intriguing season. The Cardinals will have to find new approaches to success in 2014. It’s going to be a year of rebuilding and discovery.

Photo courtesy of Universal Digital Records

105 years of baseball tradition

By Lilly Trunnell

The University of Louisville baseball tradition started in 1909. Coach John Ray led a team of 17 players to a 10-4-1 record. Only 15 games were played, including a tie. Those numbers are rarely seen in collegiate baseball today. To put it in perspective, the 2013 Cardinals baseball team played  65 games — 50 more than their predecessors.

In fact, it’s not really possible to call that first baseball team the Cardinals. The much-beloved mascot was not chosen to represent the university until 1913, when a competition was held among the students to choose one.

In 1913 the Cardinals did not have a baseball team, due to lack of funding and mismanagement. There are gaps in team history from 1913 to 1919, again in 1923 due to lack of players, and finally between 1943 and 1944 while a majority of eligible men were off at World War II. From that point forward, baseball at U of L was continuous.

That first team did not belong to anything as organized and respected as a collegiate conference. It wasn’t until 1924 that they entered the Missouri Valley Conference, and until that time the Cardinals enjoyed several games a season with local high school varsity teams. Travel was expensive. Very little time and resources were allotted to this new sport. Several times that first season, U of L played local high school team Louisville High School… and the older students were not always a shoo-in to win.

Seventeen men headed this first baseball team. There were the infielders: Byron Blair, J.E. Jenkins, Thomas Walker, James A. Rutledge, and Frank Murray. The outfielders: R.B. Johnson, Corbett Bader, W.H. Nash, H.E. Eggers, and A.L. Bass. The catchers G.D. Griggs and S.C. Arnold, and the pitchers Emmet O’Neal, W.H. Bruce, Clyde Garr, R.W. Carruth, and N.D. Carter. Infielder Thomas Walker captained the bunch, being hand-selected by John Ray as “a man who knows the game.” Though the minor league professional records of the time are virtually non-existent, the only member of the team to play professionally may have been infielder Frank Murray, who seems to have played for the Cedar Rapids Rabbits for a short period of time. Outfielder A.L. Bass went on to become head coach of the team from 1911 to 1912.

These men lie in the archives of U of L sports history nearly forgotten. However, the yearbook at the time foresees them as the opposite.

“The varsity baseball team of 1909 will go down in history of athletics at Louisville as the greatest team that ever wore U of L colors,” the 1910 yearbook boasts. “It will always be remembered as admirably captained, well-managed, playing a clean, scientific game from the first to the last.” Though the team had a winning record, they wanted to be most remembered for their clean game and good sportsmanship.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville baseball coach honored

By Lilly Trunnell

Cardinals baseball head coach Dan McDonnell was inducted this month to The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame for his days as an all-conference second baseman for the Bulldogs.

“You get inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame and it’s a great honor. I love the university, I loved my time there, and it just motivates me more as a coach to help them get the most out of their experience,” McDonnell said.

But baseball wasn’t always the first choice for the 23-year veteran of collegiate athletics.

“I grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball and really thought I was going to play football in college,” McDonnell said. “When it came time to move from high school to college, baseball gave me the opportunity to play at the highest level. I just thought, what an opportunity to play big time division one baseball.” McDonnell admits that giving up football, which was the sport he was originally going to play collegiately, was a struggle at first. “I missed it an awful lot, but baseball just became the sport I could play the highest level at, so I grew to love the sport. When you get to college, you’d better love the sport, otherwise you’re not going to excel in it.”

Those words alone are proof that McDonnell truly did find his passion for baseball in college. He walked away from his college career with school records in stolen bases and walks, as well as contributions to two Southern Conference regular season titles, the 1990 league tournament crown, and the 1990 Atlantic Regional. In addition, he was a member of the Bulldog’s 1990 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I was blessed to play with a really great group of players,” McDonnell said. “We accomplished a lot as a team. We played in the College World Series, which was an amazing experience. I’m a product of my society. I played with great players, and then I got right into coaching there and I got to coach great players and really enjoyed coaching in a way even more so than playing because I was helping others.” Immediately after graduating from The Citadel, McDonnell began working as an assistant coach to Bulldogs baseball. He was there for eight seasons before a six-season assistant coaching stint with Ole Miss.

“I really enjoyed coaching kids to succeed and seeing how much fun they had.”

If watching his players succeed is what Coach McDonnell is aiming for, then no one can say he isn’t doing his job. The Cardinals lost seven players from last year’s squad to the MLB draft, which in baseball is the ultimate success out of college.

“I took (Ole Miss’s) coaching philosophy and The Citadel’s coaching and philosophy and I just combined them to have the system we have here now,” McDonnell said. “Just like at Ole Miss, we recruited great players and we’re used to sending a lot of guys into professional baseball.”

He doesn’t take all the credit for recruiting the pro-worthy players, though, mentioning assistant coaches Roger Williams and Chris Lemonis, Co-recipients of Baseball America’s Assistant Coach of the Year award. “We’ve been here seven plus years together and we obviously work very well together. I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments,” Coach says.

“They work extremely hard, they’re very competitive, they’re very loyal and they’re great people.They recruit with the understanding that we’re going to help get them ready for pro ball,” McDonnel said. With a professional mentality and strong background, it’s no wonder Coach McDonnell led the Cardinals to their first World Series appearance since 2007 last season, but he knows with the standards of U of L athletics the work is never done.

“Time will tell if we’re successful immediately. We’re hardheaded and we’re stubborn. We don’t want to take a step back,” McDonnel said. After the 2007 and also successful 2010 season, the successive 2008 and 2011 teams seemed to have a lull where younger players were making up for the lost older players while still training. Coach is determined to see a different outcome in 2014 after a successful 2013 season.

“Hopefully we’re a little more prepared this year,” McDonnell said. “But only time will tell.”

Photo by Austin Lassell

Men’s soccer advances to second round of NCAA tournament

By Lilly Trunnell

On a rainy Thursday night, 765 fans turned up at Cardinal Park to watch the men’s soccer team in their NCAA Tournament first round matchup against Denver. The first 90 minutes of regulation play were a defensive battle. Both teams started weakly and gradually built up.

“The first 15, 20 minutes probably were a little bit shaky, but once we got that out of our system I thought the end of the first half and the second half we played very well,” Cardinals head coach Ken Lolla said.

While that may be true, the University of Denver Pioneers countered everything the Cardinals did, making the game a true battle. There were 13 total shots recorded between the two teams during regular play. None of those grew into anything, and at the end of the first two halves the score was tied at zero.

“We just didn’t get a touch on it, we couldn’t finish it off,” Lolla said. “To give them credit, they survived. There’s a reason why they have a good record, and they’ve done well all year. I thought, again, we did well in creating the opportunities and put them on our heels for a good part of that second half.”

Despite the best efforts of both teams, the game went into overtime with the score tied at zero. Denver recorded four more shots in the twenty minutes, but again, none of them amounted to anything. The defense on both ends was just too good.

Officially, the game goes down in record as a nothing-nothing draw. However, someone had to advance. The teams were now pitted against each other in a penalty kick shootout to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Both of the teams made their first penalty kick. In the second round, both goalkeepers were able to stop the ball. Louisville goalkeeper Joachim Ball made the third round save, and things were looking up for the Cardinals as Zack Foxhoven pushed them ahead with a goal, making it 2-1. Again, the goalkeepers both stopped the ball in the fourth round, pushing the teams to a fifth round do-or-die shootout.

When the Pioneers made their fifth-round shot against Ball, Cardinal Park fell silent. It was now up to senior Jimmy Ockford, 2013 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, to cinch the Cardinal’s appearance in the second round of the tournament.

“Just don’t think about it,” Ockford said after the game. No matter his thinking, the fans erupted as Ockford’s kick smoothly passed Oliver Brown and ensured No.17 Louisville’s place in round two.

Though Ockford made the winning goal, it’s impossible to neglect goalkeeper Joachim Ball’s instrumental part in the Cardinal’s advance.

“I thought we deserved the victory tonight,” Lolla said.

Though technically a tie, advancement would not have been possible without Ball’s unwavering determination to not let anything by him. Penalty kicks for advancement hasn’t been on Louisville’s resume since the 2010 Big East Tournament.

“It’s always a new situation,” Lolla said. “But it’s something we’ve trained for.”

Round two of the tournament for Louisville is Sun., Nov. 24 at 1:00 pm in Michigan.

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville baseball revamps for 2014 season

By Lilly Trunnell

 

The University of Louisville is abuzz with stories of the championship football and

basketball teams. But there is another sports team on campus that does not get nearly the

same recognition for its successes. Louisville Cardinals baseball is consistently ranked

one of the best programs in the country. This past year the team was top of the Big East

Conference with a 20-4 conference record and 51-14 overall record, which led them to their

second College World Series appearance, the previous in 2007.

The 51 wins on the season was enough to not only set a school record, but also give the

team an eighth place national ranking and send them to Omaha for the College World

Series. However, in both the World Series and the Big East Championship Tournament, in

which Louisville was the number one seed, the team somehow fell flat.

In the Big East Tournament they were immediately eliminated by the eighth-seed

University of Connecticut Huskies. Connecticut went on to win the tournament. Likewise,

they were outplayed immediately in World Series double-elimination action, beat first by

Indiana University and then Oregon State.

Despite the inability to clinch a championship, the team’s play during regular season

is nothing short of amazing. The 78 percent winning percentage can be at least partially

attributed to the Cardinals’ offensive capabilities. They outscored opponents in every

inning, and in total outscored them by 404-212 runs. Aiding the offense and providing

perhaps even more support was the pitching staff. In all, the Cardinals’ 2013 staff pitched for

a 2.52 ERA and was ranked fifth in the NCAA.

The Cardinals will be looking for a new ace this year. Jeff Thompson, Big East Pitcher

of the Year, has left to join the Detroit Tiger’s organization. Thompson was drafted in

the third round as the 94th overall pick. Three other contributing pitchers will be joining

him in professional baseball. RHP Chad Green will be joining Thompson in the Tiger’s

organization. RHP Dace Kime, selected by the Cleveland Indians in the third round and

LHP Cody Ege, selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round, are also moving their

careers to professional status.

Three fielding players were selected from the University of Louisville in the MLB

Draft. Third baseman Ty Young was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round,

outfielder Coco Johnson signed with the Miami Marlins after being selected in the 11th

round and outfielder Adam Engel was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 19th round.

Head Coach Dan McDonnell may have some difficulty replacing such valuable assets. He

has assistance in the upcoming task from the 2013 American Baseball Coaches Association/

Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year co-awardees Chris Lemonis and Roger

Williams as well as senior team captains Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon.

With a still-strong core of young fielders, hitters and pitchers along with the capable

leadership skills of both coaches and captains, the upcoming 2014 season at Jim Patterson

Stadium is sure to be just as entrancing as the last.

Ghost Hunting 101: behind the scenes

By: Lilly Trunnell

 The University of Louisville is an educational institution. Within the university, the Lifelong Learning program is proud to offer classes in hundreds of different subject areas to any alumni, staff member, student, or friend of the university. And yes, there really is a class for everything.

A series of five classes beginning October 1st, entitled “Ghost Hunting 101,” is being taught by Carrie Galloway, former Kentucky representative of the American Ghost Society and founder of Kentucky Paranormal Research. Unfortunately these classes have been cancelled. Galloway takes her work very seriously; although she was not raised in an environment of belief in the paranormal.

Like many, the beginning of Galloway’s experiences with the paranormal was at her grandmother’s house as a child. She recalls odd things happening far back, but said that the adults in her life used explanations like “Our eyes were playing tricks on us,” or “My uncles (being very close to our age) were playing tricks on us.” One day, however, she had an experience that was too significant to overlook. An apparition appeared before her and her cousin, with such great detail—such as the suit and tie and facial features—that their first instinct was not that their eyes were playing tricks on them, but that it was, indeed, a ghost. It was not until 20 years later when her brother revealed a similar experience that Galloway felt any affirmation in her findings, and fate took it from there.

In describing the actual work of ghost hunting, Galloway first explains what exactly a ghost is, defining it as “the disembodied soul of a once living human being.” From there, the signs of a haunting are looked for. According to Galloway, most signs of a haunting mimic typical human behavior. For example, hearing your name called though no one is there, or footsteps and, moving furniture with no explanation. Another indication of paranormal activity can be changes in the electromagnetic field of the alleged haunted area, which can cause interference with electrical appliances such as televisions and lights.

The process of investigating a haunting is long. First, interviews must be set up with the clients and the site must be visited to confirm that there is a potential for paranormal activity. Then a time is chosen and equipment is set up—thermometers, video surveillance, automated still cameras, etc, and, occasionally, ion meters or static generators. With that, data is collected and interpreted to determine if a haunting is likely. The interpreted data is then used to recreate the environment as best as possible for a potential reoccurrence.

All of that is common knowledge to most people, with the amount of ghost hunting television shows out there today. However, Galloway is certain that the shows do not accurately portray her work. They show nothing of the time, effort, and intelligence that is required to do preliminary research on a site and interpret the vast amount of data presented as a result of all the equipment and photographs.

Personally, Galloway has had several exciting moments during investigations; though such occurrences rarely seem to get caught on camera. In one particular moment, Galloway was with a team at a site in La Grange. She wrote in an e-mail:

“One unique experience in LaGrange, we had a significantly high electromagnetic field reading. The client reported that when she felt the presence she noticed a significant drop in temperature.  So, I was experimenting with a relatively new tool at the time, an infrared thermometer, to see if I could get a quick temperature reading.  This particular model had a laser point sight.  As I moved the sight across the kitchen cabinets (with no objects between me & the cabinets) the laser light refracted around something in the middle of air about a foot away from the cabinets. The light looked like I had put it inside a fishbowl.  I immediately thought it must be catching on the handles of the cabinet doors and swiftly moved it left and back toward the spot and it happened again. There was nothing that could be seen by the naked eye. Of course my jaw dropped in awe, and in the frenzy of the situation, I never actually looked at the temperature reading.”

Currently, Galloway is taking time off from the ghost hunting scene, however, she recalls her favorite parts of investigations fondly. Mostly she focuses on the history and the client. One of her greatest joys is providing a client with a service they trust, and assuring them that they are not crazy.

Ghost hunting is a science and a metaphysical experience all in one. Skeptics abound, and while Galloway recognizes that there is nothing she can do to change their mind, she can educate them. The same is her goal for the willing participants who sign up for Ghost Hunting 101. They will learn, in more detail than this article provided, what haunting is, how to research, how to investigate, how to interpret data, and many other skills from a seasoned professional. The techniques and talents of ghost hunting are sure to hold interest for believers and skeptics alike.