2013 High School Trip - Daily Reports

Boxscores from OWB's 2013 high school trip to Western Europe are available at http://www.gamechanger.io/t/summer-2013/old-world-baseball-summer-13-51a8e688de0b8838ba565dbb.

Edited Daily Reports and Game Results are listed below.

Day 1
Many longer update emails will follow over the course of the trip, but the hour is late and I'll keep this one brief.
First and foremost, all 19 players who are beginning the trip in NY arrived safely and on time. After a team meeting and a couple of slices of pizza, we took a steamy school bus to an even steamier Yankee Stadium. The bus company, in its infinite wisdom, assigned us a driver who (believe it or not) did not know the way to the stadium. There's a longer story there, but no time to tell it now. As you might imagine, we arrived a bit later than planned, but we still had a chance to cool off before the game in the air-conditioned Yankees Museum inside the ballpark. After watching the Yankees beat the O's 3-2 in walk-off fashion, we returned to the hotel for lights out.
We have an 830am practice tomorrow, then a few hours of Manhattan sightseeing, after which we will head to Newark Airport for our overnight flight to Paris. The challenge tomorrow will be to make the most of the day despite the oppressive heat in NY, but we won't let 90+ temps completely foil our plans!  
Day 2
This update is going out earlier than usual because the players and staff who began the trip in NY are at Newark Airport and will be boarding for Paris in a few minutes.  Today was another scorcher in the NY area, but we had a high activity day nevertheless.  The day included a 2.5 hour practice in Pelham, NY, where the host Pelham Mets graciously allowed us to use not only their field, but also their air-conditioned clubhouse.  It was a very productive practice, which should help us hit the ground running in Europe.  After practice (and a much-needed shower) we headed to Manhattan where we spent about 4 hours walking, eating, walking and eating.  Highlights included Times Square, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station (air-conditioned), Washington Square Park (some fountain bathing occurred), the West Village and the Highline.  A few photos are attached, and we've also tweeted the photos.  Follow us on Twitter: @oldworldbball.
Day 3
Today was our first day in Europe, and this means our full team is now together.  Everyone arrived safe and sound in Paris, and our first team event was a French meal at Chez Jenny.  Unsurprisingly,  most of the players ordered steak frites (steak and fries) and creme brulee, but a few guys tried Alsatian flammkueche.  This is good stuff, but Coach Pags made the questionable choice of ordering a version that came with stinky French cheese on top.  Live and learn...
Anyway, after lunch we fought through our jet lag and had a 3 hour guided bike tour of the "heart of Paris"; highlights of which included the trendy Marais district, Place des Vosges, the Centre Pompidou, the Louvre (see attached team photo), and Notre Dame.  It was a beautiful day with Parisians out in full force enjoying the weather, and many pictures were taken.  Please check our Facebook page and/or our Twitter account from time to time as more photos will be added whenever we have the opportunity. 
After the bike tour, we finally checked into INSEP, which is akin to a college campus populated entirely by aspiring French Olympians.  Our accommodations are dorm-style, complete with common activity rooms, and INSEP's dining hall served us a hearty dinner.
While we will get into central Paris again on Tuesday morning, at which time the team will get to see the Eiffel Tower up close, most of the next 2+ days will be occupied by baseball activities.  Tomorrow looks like this: breakfast, weight room, short area walking tour, lunch at a local restaurant, long pre-game, game vs French 18U National Team, and dinner in the dining hall.
Day 4
Monday was a great, busy day. We awoke to a cloudless sky, and it remained a beautiful day for baseball -  with bright sun and 80 degrees. After breakfast at INSEP (the national sports Olympic center), we had about an hour in the weight room to awaken the bodies from the flight and impending jetlag.

Shortly after 10am, the team set off on a 20 minute walk via the Parc Floral to Chateau de Vincennes, a huge structure erected in the 14th century by Charles V. We were guided by James Murrey, a Chicagoan and former Division 3 pitcher who now lives nearby and pitches for PUC, the club that will be our opponent in the second game Tuesday afternoon. There is a group picture attached on the Chateau grounds.

We had a three course meal in a highly regarded restaurant nearby, where several players ate duck for the first time. It was delicious, but those who didn’t take to it were sated by the dessert. We then walked back across the Vincennes Wood to INSEP, and took the field for some practice around 2:15 for our 4:30pm game.

The game itself was a good one, full of energy on both sides and some well-hit balls. We ended tied 7-7 with the French Junior National Team after the planned seven innings, partially as both teams need to conserve some pitching for the days ahead, and partially so we both needed to get to dinner before the cafeteria closed.

John Masella went 4 innings, cruising outside of a string of hits in the 3rd inning. He was followed by Stephen Ridings for an inning and Tim Milligan for the last two. Paul Tupper had a pair of hits offensively as did Cal Barnett-Mayotte (one of which was a double).  Nick Hernandez struck the biggest blow with a 5th inning triple. Austin Kurey also chipped in with an extra base hit, and George Geiger reached twice with hit-by-pitches.

The evening ended with an hour-plus in the Olympic swimming pool on site where the shenanigans included the wearing of French water polo head gear. Tomorrow morning everyone will head into the city to see the Eiffel Tower and explore the surrounding area. Tuesday afternoon there are two games planned – the first against the French U21 National Team, and the second versus Paris University Club (PUC) of the French top league.

Day 5

Apologies in advance for what will be a relatively short update.  It has been a very long day (it's after 1am here), and we have an early start tomorrow.

Today was not the best day from a baseball perspective as we dropped 2 games, but the overall experience was excellent.  Off the field, we took the Paris Metro (subway) at rush hour and visited the Eiffel Tower.  It was another beautiful, sunny day here in Paris, and the team had about an hour of free time to wander in the area of the Eiffel Tower.  We also strolled a bit along the Seine and had the privilege of listening to a very brief piano recital by OWB's own Christopher Lee.  

After lunch back at INSEP, we played the first end of today's doubleheader against France's 21U National Team.  We were a little sloppy on defense, but we hit very well against solid pitching and fought back late in the game to narrow the final score to 8-6.  This game was also marked by a lengthy flyover of the baseball field by the French air force in preparation for Bastille Day celebrations next week.

In the second game, we were beaten fairly soundly by a strong Paris University Club team.  PUC plays in the French Elite League, which is France's "major league", and many of its players are in their 20s and 30s.  PUC's experience showed both offensively and defensively, and we lost 12-5. 

While it is always disappointing to lose, the quality of the opposition provided a great learning experience today for all of OWB's players who are preparing to make the transition this fall to college baseball.  And, of course, OWB can bounce back bright and early tomorrow against the French 18U National Team!

Day 6
Today was another beautiful, sunny day in Europe, and we spent about half of the day in each of two different countries.  This morning was our last in Paris, and we spent it on the ballfield defeating the French 18U National Team 5-2.  We hit well, which is a hallmark of this OWB team, and we received a strong complete game outing from Stephen Ridings on the hill.  Paul Tupper led the offense with 3 hits.  More game info is available via gamechanger at the following link (which you can use every day): http://www.gamechanger.io/t/summer-2013/old-world-baseball-summer-13-51a8e688de0b8838ba565dbb

After a very quick post-game shower, we took a charter bus to Charles de Gaulle Airport for our EasyJet flight to Prague.  EasyJet, which is a discount airline, put on a clinic in terms of customer service and efficiency and got our large group to Prague in hassle-free fashion.  Once at Fusion Hotel, our home for the next 4 nights, we feasted quickly on an excellent Czech meal and then hustled off for an entertaining walking tour of central Prague.  Our first impression of the hotel is very positive, and the team loves what they have seen of Prague so far.  All in all, a very good start to the next leg of our trip.  

Tomorrow, we have our second doubleheader.  We face Sweden's 18U National Team in the morning (at Tempo Titan's field), and Czech's 18U National Team in the afternoon (at KRC Eagle's field).

Day 7

We had another successful day of baseball in our first full day in Prague. 

After a great hotel breakfast, we met Sweden and bus-pooled to the ballpark. Henry Cappel had a perfect game going into the fifth, and threw a 7 inning, complete game 2-hitter without a walk versus the Swedish Junior National Team. Old World prevailed 7-1. Greg Hoffman had a pair of hits, and Matt Kozemchek had a pair of RBIs. 

We then took a short commute to a second complex (home of the KRC Eagles), where we had lunch before facing the Czech Junior National Team. Christopher Lee and Max Araya each had a pair of hits. Tim Milligan threw 6 strong innings in the loss, with some seeing-eye ground balls and a few untimely errors. Mike Masella had a gutsy outing to finish the game. Old World kept battling back, and kept it close throughout, but dropped the second game 11-6. 

After returning to the hotel to clean up, we walked around the corner for some Brazilian Rodizio (i.e., protein-loading) and a brief celebration (in Portugese) of Austin Kurey's birthday. 

Tomorrow, we face the same two teams and then end the day with a traditional Czech meal and a little down time in central Prague.

Just a reminder for photos and additional timely info, follow us on Twitter (@oldworldbball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/oldworldbaseball). 

And finally, for any parents or friends attending OWB's games - note that the game against Belgium the morning of the 13th will now be held at Prague Eagles Krc field, rather than at Tempo as stated on the schedule.

Day 8
Wow. Another full day on the field, with two wins to show for it. 
We got through the morning game versus Sweden with a strong team win. Charlie Day led from the mound, going all 7 innings efficiently and getting a hit and scoring a run to boot. Final score: Old World Baseball 8, Sweden 3. After completing the game, we continued with two more "friendly" innings where Swedish pitchers threw for both teams, as they completed their final preparation/evaluation prior to their tournament in two days.  Among the photos from today that were sent a bit earlier via email is a group shot of the OWB team with the Swedish team.
After a quick commute across Prague and a clubhouse lunch, we sought (and found) retribution against the Czech Republic Junior National Team. OWB got off to a quick start against their ace, leading by 5 early and extending the lead on a 3 run home run by Paul Tupper. Spencer Kulman threw four strong before faltering with two outs in the fifth, and Thomas Epstein got the final out of that inning to ease the threat and coasted through the final two innings. Final score: Old World Baseball 13, Czech Republic 5.
We now have 4 wins, 3 losses, and a tie for the trip. The team is really working well together and getting into a rhythm in all facets of the game.  The coaching staff was particularly pleased today with how the team fought through the physical fatigue of a second consecutive doubleheader day and played very solid baseball throughout. 
We finished the evening with a hearty, traditional Czech brewery meal (minus the brew) and a bit of free time near Prague Castle. 
Tomorrow, we play our final game in Prague, against the Belgium Junior National Team at Prague Krc Eagles field at 10:15am. The game will be either 5 or 7 innings, to be determined in the morning. We'll then look into more of the corners of Prague before leaving for Germany Sunday morning.
Day 9 

We closed out the Prague game schedule this morning with a five inning game against Belgium. The shorter game time, coupled with a day free from required physical activity tomorrow, allowed us to build in a full hitting practice prior to the game. Louis Aikens threw a complete game in the 6-2 victory, taking our overall record to 5-3 (and one tie) for the trip. More importantly, the team continues to improve and learn, while representing Old World Baseball and the US with pride. Our opponents have been very pleased with the level of competition that we've provided, and they have repeatedly commented on what respectful young men the OWB players are. 

We've been on the run since landing in Paris, and this afternoon allowed everyone some time to catch up. Many of the players went to Prague Castle to explore, while others stayed closer to the hotel to read and do laundry.

Tomorrow (Sunday), we leave after breakfast in a bus that will be with us through the end of the trip. We'll stop in Regensburg to have some Bavarian sausages and a German lesson along the Danube, then spend some time at the Dachau concentration camp memorial site. We'll then continue to Munich to check into our third and final hotel.

Day 10
We pulled out of Prague at 9am this morning and crossed the border into Germany around 11. The first stop was Regensburg, the city center of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (we'll be back on Tuesday to explore it more). The guys had lunch at a 700 year old sausage house and/or ate Turkish doner kebabs before learning a bit about the city and some German language on the bank of the Danube from a lively local. 

We then returned to the bus for a sobering stop at Dachau concentration camp.

Finally, we traveled the last 30 minutes to Munich itself, and checked into our hotel in Haar, a wealthy suburb 10 minutes from central Munich. The hotel has a water park attached, of which the boys are making full use of as this is typed. In a few minutes, we will walk to a Bavarian garden restaurant for a traditional, hearty dinner.

Tomorrow is a full tourist day. We'll depart again at 9am to the south to see Füssen and Neuschwanstein Castle, with some time to hike around in the neighboring hills. We'll then return for a walking tour of Munich late tomorrow afternoon.

Day 11
We had a tremendous day of tourism today.  We took our bus to Schloss Neuschwanstein in the morning, and we had a lengthy hike in perfect weather with breath-taking views of the castle and the surrounding countryside.  One of many highlights was traversing the Marienbruecke on the way up the mountain.  Our group collectively took hundreds of photos today, but the (very) limited wifi access at our hotel is hindering our efforts to distribute the photos.  Some have been posted to twitter, however, and more photos will be sent as soon as we have better wifi.  Also, once we return to the US, we will compile a large number of photos for sharing with the OWB group.

Anyway, after grabbing a quick lunch (and ice cream) in the town below the castle, we headed to Munich for a 2-hour walking tour of the heart of the city.  After learning a little bit about Munich, we had a good German meal at Steinheil 16, a restaurant with the biggest schnitzels in town. 

Tomorrow, we will do some more sightseeing in Regensburg and take a bike ride along the Danube, but we also get back on the ballfield.  OWB faces the Regensburg Legionaere tomorrow evening, and it will be a stiff test for us.  We have had good success against a few different 18U national teams on this trip, but the Regensburg team is a different animal.  Regensburg is the best team in the German "major league", and we are playing them in their own stadium, which happens to be one of the finest in Europe.  This game should be a great experience for the OWB guys in terms of the transition to college baseball.

Day 12
Tuesday was another full day, with a mix of travel, tourism, and baseball. We loaded the bus in the morning to travel to Regensburg, the site of our German lesson and lunch two days ago. We had lunch at a restaurant within the Thurn & Taxis castle, then mounted bicycles for the last time this trip. The boys raced through Regensburg and along the Danube to Walhalla, a massive marble structure overlooking the river valley. The return journey allowed for some time at the cathedral and for ice cream.

After a short commute to the stadium, we hit, took infield, and started the game. With a time limit in place (because the stadium doubles as an outdoor cinema in the summer months), we played 7.5 innings. The defending German champions looked every bit the part, scoring five runs in the first two innings on their way to an 11-1 victory. Charlie Day pitched 2 scoreless innings in the middle, while Tim Milligan threw one pitch to close out the game, allowing a hit while also recording the 3rd out. Ben Verducci hit the ball hard in each at bat, with one a booming double to right-center. Austin Kurey had the inning right fielders dream of, making a leaping catch at the wall, nearly doubling off a runner and throwing a runner out on the bases a few pitches later.  And, Chris Lee had two sharp singles in his last game for OWB (this year!). Stephen Ridings started on the mound and Thomas Epstein also relieved, each having some success between lessons from more experienced hitters. Everyone outside of tomorrow's pitchers appeared versus one of the best club teams in Europe.

Tomorrow, our last full day, we will explore Munich a bit more and take further advantage of the water park at the hotel. We will then play our final game of the trip at 6:30pm against the Haar Disciples, another team in the top German league.

Day 13
Our final full day in Europe is now in the rear view mirror. Seven hours from now the bus will depart our hotel towards Munich airport, while a few of our touring party head in different directions.

We closed the tour with our best team performance, defeating the German "major league" Haar Disciples in a clean game for both sides. Spencer Kulman, Henry Cappel, Louis Aikens, and Tim Milligan pitched very effectively in the 6-3 win.

There were a number of defensive highlights - Nick Hernandez catching a long drive at the left field wall, Ben Verducci starting a 6-3 double play with a quick change of direction, Spencer Kulman sliding to catch a popped bunt from the mound, Cal Barnett-Mayotte ranging wide to his left from second, and Charlie Day making a sliding catch in center to end the game.

Austin Kurey led the offense with 2 base hits, and Jason "Hurt" Lock had a big 2 RBI knock down the line to break the game open.

The morning was reserved for sleep and diving boards/water slides. The team then went to central Munich for lunch and a final episode of independent exploration.

It has been a special trip with a great group of guys, and we wish them tremendous success and happiness going forward.  
Showing 11 items
July 9, 2013 Paris OWB 5 - Paris University Club 12 
July 12, 2013 Prague OWB 8 - Sweden 18U Nat'l Team 3 
July 17, 2013 Haar OWB 6 - Haar Disciples 3 
July 11, 2013 Prague OWB 7 - Sweden 18U Nat'l Team 1 
July 11, 2013 Prague OWB 6 - Czech 18U National Team 11 
July 10, 2013 Paris OWB 5 - France 18U National Team 2 
July 13, 2013 Prague OWB 6 - Belgium 18U Nat'l Team 2 
July 16, 2013 Regensburg OWB 1 - Regensburg Legionaere 11 
July 8, 2013 Paris OWB 7 - France 18U National Team 7 
July 9, 2013 Paris OWB 6 - France 21U National Team 8 
July 12, 2013 Prague OWB 13 - Czech 18U National Team 
Showing 11 items