The air is crisp and the wind snaps around the NKU baseball players’ ears. Baseballs are pinging off metal bats, and the snap of the glove is heard when a player catches a fly ball.
It’s fall ball season for the NKU baseball team as they host Indianapolis noon today and Sinclair Community College noon Sunday. This weekend’s games are not games as much as they are organized scrimmages.
“It’s not truly a game, it’s more of a simulated thing,” Coach Todd Asalon said. “We don’t really keep score or have many rules. We just try to get players in and see guys compete.”
The games played in the fall aren’t known very well around campus. This is because the baseball program is keeping it that way, according to Asalon, who is in his 16th season at NKU.
Instead of conditioning, they practice two hours a day and have games on the weekend. They play nine-inning games like the regular season, and no score is kept on the scoreboard during the game.
“We spend about 12 to 15 hours practicing a week since we aren’t actually competing,” Asalon said.
Fall ball games, although not regulated, still have some very interesting endings.
“Last year we played Eastern Kentucky University and each team had about 10 homers each,” Asalon said. “We had a lot of freshman pitchers, and both teams were good hitting teams so that was kind of interesting.”
NKU ended up winning that game with a walk-off grand slam.
Since the games aren’t highly advertised, the players usually play in front of small crowds filled with parents and dedicated fans.
“The players usually enjoy getting to play in front of people,” Asalon said. “They enjoy the hype and excitement of it all. But with these games they get to relax more.”
Senior infielder Quint Heady also enjoys playing these games.
“It’s definitely a good way to get work in and gives you a heads up of what’s to come in the spring,” Heady said.
These games are designed to get the players ready and more prepared for the regular season, according to Asalon. He believes it builds their confidence so that when people show up in the spring, they are ready to roll and show off what they have been working for all year round.
According to a release on nkunorse.com, both games are free and open to the public. Those wishing to attend are asked to park in the Kenton Garage.