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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Baseball 2018 Senior Thanks



A Special Team and Season to Remember


Photo Courtesy of @golfwhizkid (Chandler Fullman) AKA Auburn Superfan

Wow, what a season! Every now and then, the fans get treated to something special. It does not always happen when you put the best of the best on the field. A team can win the national championship and not have it, but the "it" sure helps. This baseball team definitely had "it." I think the "it factor" is best explained by the phenomenon known as synergy which is the rare times when a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This 2018 team definitely had that "it factor." Sure, some of the players are truly incredible, but when they combined together, it was something amazing. We got to see some great things individually, like seeing Casey be drafted #1. However, I think the best thing was the total team effort and the "you before me" that the players and coaches showed throughout the season. For all of the players, we are truly thankful for a great and amazing season. For the seniors, the Auburn family cannot thank you enough for what you have done for Auburn baseball. This season had #SCTop10 plays, a regional championship, a first-time Super Regional appearance and win, and many other memories.

Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU


I have always liked baseball. I do not care that much for professional baseball, but I will take it.(I really do have a story why, but it does not belong here)  The high school I attended was an incredible baseball team. The high school where I teach has an incredible baseball program. I always played softball and of course, I am still very involved with my nieces' softball. My two colleges, Auburn and Southern Miss are also traditionally very good in baseball, so I am quite spoiled. There is just something special to me about the unpaid fellas. Baseball is one of the harder sports for me to watch because we are constantly at the ball park ourselves with my nieces who play. I help to coach the teams they play on- my job as you might expect is the stat keeper.


Used with permission from @kkornerAU 


That last game of the super regionals was something for the ages. All the other games were over. Everyone was tuned in to watch. No one knew what great play was going to be made next. My favorite thing about sports with Twitter is how we can all watch the game together. It is super fun for me to see all of the other Auburn athletes tuned in and supporting one another. This game was special. I really hated that it had to end. I mean, Jose Canseco tweeted Steven! How incredible is that? We'll be back soon and we will make it to Omaha. I always write a special thank you to the seniors for each Auburn sport, and this one was pretty fun to write.

As always, these are just in the order that I wrote the names down from the roster!

Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU


Josh Anthony- I really had a lot of fun watching you. You have demonstrated a love for Auburn that is appreciated beyond just a simple thank you. You are a team player. You do what is needed. That is the best example and legacy that you could possibly leave. You were part of a very special double play that could only be completed by members of a TEAM!! I know that in the future Auburn will be playing in the CWS. The work and foundation that you helped to put down will be part of the reason. One thing that I noticed is that you always seem to have fun. Where there isn't any, you make some fun. I don't know what the future holds for you, but I do know that it will be full of great things and you will be a part of something wonderful. Thank you for everything you have done. I know we will see great things from you in the future. You gave this Auburn fan a reason to celebrate and enjoy this baseball season. Be sure to come and visit when you can. Keep in touch with your Auburn family. You always have a home with us. War Eagle!

Photo courtesy of @golfwhizkid (Chandler Fullman) AKA Auburn Superfan



Luke Jarvis- I have had the privilege of being your "prayer person" the last couple of years through the Prayers4Players organization. It has been a real pleasure. Congrats on your All- SEC team! You thanked the Auburn family, but we want to thank you! Thank you for an AMAZING season. Your dedication to the team and to Auburn has been truly appreciated. Of course, your great hit at a great time is something that will be remembered for a long time. In my softball days, I always wanted to hit a walk-off. One day soon, Auburn will make it to the CWS and your work will be part of that when it happens. Thank you for giving this Auburn fan joy in the postseason! Thank you for all of your dedication to Auburn. We appreciate it more than I can ever express to any of you. Good luck with your future in baseball. I know we will be seeing great things from you in the future. War Eagle!


Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU

Andrew Mitchell-I know that the pitchers mound can be a lonely place. My 11 year old niece is pitching, and this past year, she was basically the only pitcher the team had. It's a lot different from your level, but it's still difficult. I have witnessed first hand the intense scrutiny the pitchers go through. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. This season especially is one that we will never forget. Your work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. You reached your goal of accomplishing something great!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I know we will see great things from you in the future. Good luck with your baseball career! We will be sure to follow you. Come back and visit us when you can. You always have a family with Auburn. War Eagle!


Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU

Corey Hearndon- It is clear from this team that there are "team players" everywhere. It is easy to see that you are a team player. The team matters more than any individual accomplishment.  Without the team players, this season would not have been possible. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. There are so many things behind the scenes that most people/fans do not ever get a chance to see. Thank you. I know we are going to see great things from you in the future. Make sure you keep in touch with your Auburn family. This season was very special. Thank you for giving us some real fun throughout the season and in the postseason.  Your work has been noticed. You always will have a place at Auburn. War Eagle!

Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU

Bowen McGuffin- This has been an amazing season to watch. It has been amazing to watch because it has been a total and complete team effort. Thank you for being such a big part of it. Without the team and team players, it would not have happened. This was a special season where the whole was something amazing. Maybe one day you can post a video of you and Jay playing ping pong. Seriously, thank you for a fun and incredible season. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. One day soon, Auburn will go to the CWS and the foundation that you all put down will be part of it. Thanks for everything. I know there will be great things in your future. Keep in touch with your Auburn family. War Eagle!

Photo used with permission from @calvin_coker



Calvin Coker- Like I mentioned to someone else, I know the pitcher's mound can be a really lonely place sometimes, but at other times, it can be top of the world. Most people never get to see the little extras that have to be done to pitch. Thank you for your time, effort and dedication to Auburn.  This season was really special and it was a ton of fun to watch yall. By the way, that hair is truly fabulous. We are all really excited for your future in baseball. The big league better watch out for The Cobra. I know we will see great things from you. Be sure to keep in touch with your Auburn family. Thank you for a really great season. Come and visit when you can. Please know you always have a home at Auburn. War Eagle!



Jay Estes- I'll tell you what. That play in the outfield was one of the best plays I have ever seen. I am not sure how you were able to throw it after you caught it. Thank you for your years at Auburn. This season was truly amazing. To see how ya'll battled and fought to continue a season that was for the ages was amazing. I know we are going to see big things in your baseball future. Thank you for all of your time and dedication to Auburn. It really was incredible. It has been a long time since I have been a student but this season found me wanting to be a student. One great thing about Auburn is that if you are part of the Auburn family, it doesn't matter if you are a student, a graduate or a fan. We love Auburn. Thank you for what you have done. One day in the near future, Auburn will make the CWS and what you all did this season will be part of that. Stay in touch with your Auburn family. You always have a home with us. War Eagle!










Dylan Ingram- It really has been a truly spectacular year with Auburn sports. The baseball team had some special kind of magic. It was incredible to watch develop and play out into something special. Thank you so much for everything. I know there are tons of things that happen behind the scenes that most of us fans never see. I know that every single player and coach had to buy in to make it work. Thank you for your work and diligence. It was noticed and appreciated. One day really soon, Auburn will make it to the College World Series, and when that happens, your work will be a big part of the reason that Auburn makes it. I know we will hear and see great things from you in the future. Remember you always have a home at Auburn. Come and visit when you can. War Eagle!


Photo used with permission from @kkornerAU



Casey Mize- I know you are not quite a senior but I am including you because we know you are going to be leaving. Thank you so much for everything you did for Auburn. From the no-hitter to 15 Ks to being drafted #1, you surely gave us something special to watch. It has always been fun to watch you pitch. My niece has been pitching for 2 years (in fastpitch softball, of course) and I have gained a little understanding into the confidence needed for a pitcher. Thank you for giving her an example of how to take control of the mound. (or circle, as the case may be) Seriously, thank you for everything you have done for Auburn. One day soon, Auburn will make the CWS and the work you have done will be part of that when they get there. We are looking forward to watching you pitch in the Big League REALLY soon. I know we are going to see great things from you. Thank you for everything you have already done for Auburn. You will always have a home with us. Keep in touch with your Auburn family! War Eagle!


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Softball Senior Thanks








Close to My Heart



"You win some; you lose some. Some get rained out. You gotta dress for them all." -Satchel Paige






Most people who read my blogs know that softball is the sport in our family. My sister and I played competitively. My dad was one of our coaches. My first job was keeping the score books at the ball park.  A few years ago, we were able to return to softball when my nieces started playing. They have been playing for seven years now. This spring, we played in tournaments every weekend except for one. These girlies here are my very favorite. 1 and 4 are my nieces. 7 has played with us for years. Anyone who knows the game at all will understand and realize that there are ups and downs to every team and season. I have never been able to go see Auburn play in person because we are always playing. We keep hoping to see Auburn playing Univ of South Alabama, but it has not happened in recent years. I do not have pictures of any of the players, so I am using pictures of the future generation of softball. I know I talk about these three throughout this thanks, but my thanks is through them. 

As a group, I would like to thank these seniors. Through some extreme adversity, they have kept the team above water- even going above and beyond. They have led the team and been role models for the younger generation. They stuck with Auburn through some really tough times and for that, I am truly grateful. Some off the field "stuff" would've made it really easy to transfer, but none of these seniors did that at all. They remained committed to Auburn. I know the end result was not what they wanted this year, but anyone who has played ball knows that not every game goes the way it was expected to go. They are heroes to me, and I am very proud of all of them. Thank you for sticking it our with Auburn. We love all of you very much and we are very proud of all of you. Thank you for playing for all of us old ball players who were never able to play on the college level. Thank you for playing for the little girls who hope and dream to be there one day. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the three seniors for everything that has been done for Auburn softball. 


Kaylee Carlson- Before my niece started pitching, I never knew how lonely the pitcher's circle can be, even though I was a catcher. It takes a lot of inner strength to be a pitcher as well as physical strength. No one else sees that you do your Ts every day, even on days off. No one notices that when you have a bad day, EVERYONE sees it. No one knows that if you get off your rhythm, you might stay after a game trying to get back in rhythm. (Even if the game ended at 9:30 at night with school the next day) Thank you for all of your extra time. Thanks for bringing the kind of pitching to Auburn that you brought. Thank you for showing my niece that it is great to be a serious student and serious pitcher at the same time. Ems has spent time watching you and reading about you. She is a very serious student. She will be entering an honors program when she starts middle school next year.  (She even takes her books to tournaments and reads between games) I am forever grateful for your time and effort at Auburn. Your win at the World Series vs UCLA was something to remember for sure. It definitely gave everyone a love for softball, not just those like me. It was incredible! The seasons that ended in OKC sure were fun, but I have enjoyed watching you through all of it. Thank you for everything you have done for Auburn, both on and off the field. Thanks for being an awesome role model. You even responded to tweets encouraging my niece. She struggles the most with confidence and your attention helped her. Thanks for making an investment in the future generation. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family and know you will always have a home with us. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you. 





Courtney Shea- I played catcher. I know it is DEFINITELY an unsung hero type of position except when the catcher is making a spectacular tag out at home plate.  My other niece, (the twin of the one who pitches) has been catching. She has done pretty well. She has really enjoyed watching you. They do not often get to watch live on tv, since they have played non-stop tournaments the last fall and spring. She has frequently gone back and watched some videos of you making tags on their DVR. She also would watch some bits of the games on the computer. You never know when your number will be called, and yours was called. Boy, did you answer. Thank you for being ready. Ella had to jump in when the other catcher broke her thumb. (I did that myself catching)I know that as a catcher, you get banged up more than anyone can possibly imagine. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. We also had fun watching two Auburn athletes become a power couple! Thank you also for being a model that it is ok to be a good student and a great athlete. Thank you for being an excellent role model for the younger generation.  We are very grateful for the fun and joy Auburn softball has brought into our lives. I am very excited to see what the future holds for you. I know we are going to hear great things from you. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family. 




Victoria Draper-You surely did make outfield exciting! You have made some spectacular catches over the last few years. I hear LOTS of griping from parents about their kid playing outfield, but often, kids don't make the catches when the ball does come out to the outfield. Thanks for showing that outfield can be played with excellence and with flair! You also played with a joy that rubbed off on your teammates. Thank you for your enthusiasm and joy. Thanks also for setting a Christian role model for your teammates, coaches and the future players. It was definitely noticed and appreciated. Ella is very much a utility player. She has played outfield when called upon. She has really liked some of the spectacular catches you have made. Your catch against Florida State was so incredible that she drew a picture of it later. Also thank you for showing that it is ok to be a good student and an athlete as a female. Both of my nieces are good students. She also recently became a Christian, so she has been interested in your message. You have been and continue to be an incredible role model.  Little ones are always watching. Thank you for being  the type of player they can watch. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. It means more to me than you will ever know. The other niece is left-handed. While she is not a slapper, she has enjoyed watching you bat. I know we are going to hear great things from you in the future. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family and know that you will always have a home with us. 








Saturday, May 12, 2018

Summertime Football


While technically it is still spring, around these parts, 90 plus degrees and warm breezes mean only one thing: Summertime Football!

We will start our series of Summertime Football posts with an overall look at the program, and work our way toward the upcoming season, our opponents, and the potential to make the postseason playoffs.

The here and now.

Coaches are on tour speaking at various clubs and organizations, drumming up support and enthusiasm for Auburn football. All the while, recruiting, in one way or another, is foremost on the minds of these coaches.

All of Auburn's coaches are limited by NCAA regulations to just a few hours each week with the team during the summer. The lone exception is the strength and conditioning program.

The Tigers received commitments from several prospective student athletes for the upcoming recruiting classes. I won't rank them, or list them in any order of importance. I will say, this has the makings of another stellar group of young men.

The current team is hopefully working with each other, becoming closer, and getting better. That is the mission during the summer "Voluntary Workouts."

What I want to see.

As this team works its way to the start of the season, I want to see zero off the field problems. I want to see guys make big improvements, especially in areas we know we have little experience.

Experience as Coach Grimes says “There ain’t but one way to get experience. … and that’s to get experience, You can’t wish experience on ’em, you can’t pray experience on ’em. You got to throw them in and let them play. That’s the only way, and you’re going to have some growing pains. You just are." - ***via Justin Ferguson and SEC Country Auburn

How do "we" look.

Auburn's defense looks to be a very strong and experienced unit. Three years with the same coordinator, Kevin Steele, should pay big dividends considering the marked improvements the last two defensive unit made. This unit should truly be elite.


The offense will be in its second season under Chip Lindsey.  I look to see the maturation of Coach Lindsey's playcalling. I also hope to see some in game adjustments. Those adjustments need to be made quickly. The ability to adjust to what your opponent is doing during the game is fundamental. Championship teams can make adjustments on the fly, and not have to wait for time outs or halftime.

With the return of Jarrett Stidham, the expectations are high. The biggest concern is along the offensive line. Let's be honest here, this unit underperformed at times last season. 

The other area of concern is at the Running Back position. I have zero doubt Auburn has recruited guys who can tote the rock. Blitz recognition, and blocking in space need to improve tremendously, or there will be a lot of problems offensively.

Something inside of me believes our special teams are going to make improvements by leaps and bounds. Oh, it will be difficult to get better than Daniel Carlson, I agree. Legatron² otherwise known as Anders Carlson, the younger brother of Daniel, is expected to be the starting Kicker.

Christian Tutt is turning heads in the Kick Off return department, and the switching of special teams coordinators may help as well.

The future.

I will look into the schedule, upcoming opponents, and give you my best guess how this team will fare while facing one of the toughest schedules in all of college football.

Lets get through the summer unscathed by drama and injury. Get to fall camp with a mission in mind as a team. The future is bright, which is a very good thing. Just don't stare at the brightness, it may cause you to lose sight of the goal.

Until then,
WAR EAGLE!

*** Be sure to follow @JFergusonAU on Twitter

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bo Bikes Bama 2018

                                          Video Courtesy of Wesley Sinor of al.com


The annual Bo Jackson Bicycle Ride will be held next Saturday in Auburn. As mentioned in the video, this bicycle ride was started by Bo Jackson in 2013 to raise money to assist the storm victims in the State of Alabama. The ride will begin and end at the the Auburn Arena. The first ride of 60 miles will begin at 7:30 A.M. and the second ride of 20 miles will begin at 10:00 A.M. If you happen to be in the Auburn area, you should stop by and enjoy the event. You never know who you may see on this ride.

War Eagle!


Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Special Senior Thanks- Basketball





So, I always do a senior thanks for football, basketball, baseball and softball. I usually tend to say a lot of the same things. Sometimes, I feel like I get to know a player a little more through their activities or social media and then I might have a little more to say. This year for basketball, there is only one senior. He does not say a bunch. He does not use social media a ton. However, it is very easy to say good things about him.

Patrick Keim. What an Auburn man. He was a walk-on. He gave us much joy the year Auburn had such a run in the SEC tournament. Much of the team graduated or left. Patrick stayed. He earned a scholarship during the year where almost everyone fell in love with Auburn basketball. No one deserved in more than Patrick. I cannot even begin to understand the journey of the walk-on athlete. They play for the love of the game. (I am not saying that scholarship athletes do not love the game)

When I think of the Auburn Creed, he is one of the first athletes to come to mind. I do not know what he is planning for his future as far as his career or school goes, but I do know that he will be successful.


Patrick, thank you for your dedication to Auburn basketball. It was because of guys like you that Auburn was able to make it to the big dance this year. It was a joy to see you get to participate in see something you dreamed of years ago. Thank you for always doing the right thing and for being the leader you are. I know whatever you do will be successful. We will miss you a ton. Please keep in touch with your Auburn family. You will always have a home with us at Auburn. Thank you for your dedication to Auburn University and the Auburn family.
War Eagle!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Basketball/Bruce Pearl Get Support


This week has been a very important one for coach Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Men's Basketball program.

Coach Pearl received endorsements from both the Auburn University athletics director, and Steven Leath, the university president in the last week. 

Speculation had run rampant among the fans, especially since there had not been any public display of support for Pearl. 

Leath allowed Alan Greene ample time to become familiar with the overall situation involving the basketball program, and the ongoing investigations by both the FBI and the NCAA.

*From SEC Country/Auburn: Speaking Wednesday morning on WJOX’s The Roundtable, Greene stayed firm in his belief in Pearl, stating that barring any new and unforeseen information from the FBI’s investigation into money corruption in the sport of college basketball, his plan is for Pearl “absolutely” to stay on board as the Tigers coach.
 “Bruce feels like he’s done nothing wrong. He and I have talked about that and I don’t have a reason to do anything other than what we’ve been doing: supporting him and his student-athletes.”

This public display of support, under the current situation, has many positives for Pearl, and Auburn Basketball. Recruiting current players to hang around, and bringing new talent are just two. It should also relieve any angst the fans may have about the path moving forward. 

Bruce Pearl has thrown himself into the fabric of Auburn University. Becoming involved with its students, former players, and alumni. Pearl has become an advocate for Auburn, and its many endearing qualities Auburn men and women hold dear. 

It's no secret Bruce Pearl is a fan favorite. 

WAR EAGLE!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Capital City Magic

In what has become a lopsided series, Auburn baseball easily handled Alabama 5-2 for the 9th win in the 10th Max Capital City Baseball Classic.

video courtesy of Jason Caldwell

Jay Estes made three outstanding plays in center field. Unfortunately, there isn't any video to share with you. 

The Tigers improved to 21-5 on the season and are ranked number nine in the country. Alabama fell to 16-10. 

WAR EAGLE!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Track Basketball & More

photo courtesy of:  MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER

Auburn Track & Field competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships, and did so rather well. 
The Men finished 8th and the Women inside the Top 20. Read more about the competition HERE.

Of course the big news centers around Auburn Basketball, as it starts practices in San Diego, CA in preparation for the NCAA Tournament. 

Coach Bruce Pearl had the team go through some "more physical" practices this past week. "We weren't playing good enough to advance....Tuesday's practice should fix that" Pearl told the media. 


Auburn Baseball continues a hot streak as they put 12 runs on the scoreboard against Georgia Tech Tuesday evening at PLainsman Park. The 14th ranked Auburn Baseball Tigers improved their season record to 16-1.

Auburn Softball turned things around against Southern Miss this past weekend. After dropping the series against LSU last week, Coach Mickey Dean and the ladies, righted the ship with a double header, winning the first game 9-2 and then shutting out the Golden Eagles 5-0 in the nightcap. It was the 17th shutout of the season for the 10th ranked Tigers who improved to 25-5.

The 18th ranked Auburn Women's Tennis team continues firing on all cylinders. Coach Lauren Spencer's squad defeated Ole Miss and Alabama A and M this past weekend to improve to 15-5. 

WAR EAGLE!




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Auburn Makes History Again!

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. photo courtesy of OANews

Tuesday the SEC and its coaches announced the post season ALL-SEC TEAM. To the shock of many, and the ire of most Auburn fans, history was both made, and ignored. 

For the first time in the history of All Conference Team nominations, not one first place team player made the first team selection.

**“I’m disappointed for the first time since …1956 was when they started putting on first- and second-team All-SEC (teams) and there’s never been a regular season champion that didn’t have a player on the first-team until this year,” Pearl said Tuesday afternoon in a media conference.

From where I sit this Wednesday morning, just hours away from the start of the SEC Basketball Tournament, I can't help but wonder, why?

Why would the coaches break tradition? Why is this Auburn team being shunned? Even if the other coaches hold past grievances against Bruce Pearl, why vote against his players too?

It seems to me that just earning your way onto lists for postseason accolades is not enough. The voters, in this case SEC coaches, have to make some sort of statement with their vote, instead of remaining neutral. 

The AP seemingly understands that a conference can't have a first place team without at least one player being selected as All-Conference first team. 

***"Auburn’s Bryce Brown and Arkansas’ Daryl Macon joined Maten, Williams and Sexton as first-team all-SEC selections.
The second team includes Auburn teammates Jared Harper and Mustapha Heron, Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford, Florida’s Chris Chiozza and Missouri’s Kassius Robertson."
WAR EAGLE!

**- From the Montgomery Advertiser
***- From the Washington Post

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tigers Complete Championship Season!

Auburn Basketball: 2018 SEC Champions!


That feels very good to say and type. For this team, after so much turmoil and adversity, to play its way to the championship title of the SEC regular season, is something I pray I never forget.

Without going into all this team has overcome, watching them draw closer together and fight for each other was sheer joy. 

Thank you Coach Pearl. Thank you coaching staff and all those behind the scenes for all you've done. Most of all, a large THANK YOU to all the players. Every single one of you. 

The SEC Tournament starts Wednesday. The Championship game will be Sunday. Below are the times, and dates of each game via Sporting News.

2018 SEC Tournament bracket, schedule

First round: Wednesday, March 7
No. 12 Georgia vs. No. 13 Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. SEC Network    
No. 11 South Carolina vs. No. 14 Ole Miss, 9:25 p.m. SEC Network   
Second round: Thursday, March 8
No. 8 Texas A&M vs. No. 9 Alabama, 1 p.m., SEC Network
No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 12/13, 3:25 p.m., SEC Network
No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 10 LSU, 7 p.m., SEC Network
No. 6 Arkansas vs. No. 11/14, 9:25 p.m., SEC Network
Quarterfinals: Friday, March 9
No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 8/9, 1 p.m., ESPN
No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 5/12/13, 3:25 p.m., ESPN
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 7/10, 7 p.m., SEC Network
No. 3 Florida vs. No. 6/11/14, 9:25 p.m., SEC Network
Semifinals: Saturday, March 10
No. 1/8/9 vs. No. 4/5/12/13, 1 p.m., ESPN
No. 2/7/10 vs. No. 3/6/11/14, 3:25 p.m., ESPN
Championship: Sunday, March 11
TBD, 1 p.m., ESPN