Notre Dame’s narrow, last-second defeat of Louisiana State University (LSU) in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl capped off the 2014 football season in dramatic fashion, much to the delight of local fans and those venturing to Nashville, Tennessee, from nearby midwestern and southeastern states.“It was great to see my school’s football team playing so close to home,” junior and Nashville native Jessica Zic said. “Also, I was excited to see that the Notre Dame football team practiced at my high school’s football stadium during the days leading up to the game.”Junior Lauren Pate, who hails from Memphis, Tennessee, said she jumped at the chance to attend the Dec. 30 bowl game because she missed the football season studying abroad in Kampala, Uganda. She said she made the three-hour trip in the morning with other Memphians and had enough time to walk around and enjoy live music in downtown Nashville before the game.“I didn’t really keep track of the 2014 football season because I was abroad, but I had heard about the ending of the Northwestern game, so it had me nervous for the ending of the Music City Bowl,” Pate said. “We won though, so I was very happy for that and glad it was the game I got to see for the end of the 2014 season.”Freshman Katharine Janes traveled with her family from Michigan and said the atmosphere at the game differed noticeably from a typical Notre Dame football experience.“The game day experience was incredible. The stadium was alive with excited football fans, and it was so much fun to reconnect with friends from school that you didn’t know you would be running into 600 miles away from home,” she said. “… I sat in a few parts of the stadium — ranging from directly off the LSU sideline to the upper bowl on the ND side — but I think that all parts felt incredibly energized.“It was definitely a different experience than watching a home game from the student section, but it was the best of both worlds to be able to watch part of the game with my family in the stands yet also experience other parts with students from ND.”Pate said she sat in the student section, right next to the Band of the Fighting Irish. She said the section was “very small but nonetheless lively.”“All of the fans seemed very excited despite the cold, and very engaged with the band and cheerleaders in all the cheers and songs,” she said.Senior Russell King, a drum major in the Band of the Fighting Irish, said the band practiced once in Nashville before their halftime show which featured versions of Ariana Grande’s “Break Free” and Europe’s “The Final Countdown.”“It was cold, but we have fantastic fans who braved the weather to come support us [at practice before the bowl],” King said. “There were about 100 fans who came out that morning. The band had not marched in about a month so it was a well-needed rehearsal to polish the show.”The band participated in several pre-game events in downtown Nashville leading up to the bowl game, including a battle of the bands with LSU’s band, King said.“The actual game is only a small part of the Music City Bowl experience,” he said. “A subset of the band played at the ACC Pep Rally, the Alumni Kick-Off at the Rock Bottom Brewery and a ND tailgate at the Acme Feed & Seed.“However, by far the largest event was the Battle of the Bands. Thousands of people showed up to support both our band and the LSU Marching Tigers. Both bands marched side-by-side but in opposite directions on the main street of Nashville.“Then, the bands faced each other and went back and forth with our best songs. In my opinion, the knockout punch came with another stellar singing performance of ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’ by sophomore clarinetist Michelle Mann. However, LSU countered with their best song and the battle was declared a tie.”Sophomore Kristen Ochs, who came from Ohio for the game, said the team’s performance in the last seconds of the game, especially senior kicker Kyle Brindza’s field goal in the last four seconds that put the Irish up 31-28, left her optimistic for the prospects of the 2015 season.“I think this game allowed for a brighter end to what many might call a disappointing season,” she said. “Clearly, things can change quickly since we started out so well with high hopes and didn’t end very well at all.”Pate said the team demonstrated more poise than she had expected.“My biggest takeaway was the true grit of our team and how well they performed under the pressure of the game,” Pate said. “I was very impressed. I’m looking forward to seeing how this win will transfer over to next season. I’m hoping it’ll give us a boost of confidence to start and finish the season strong.”Tags: bowl game, Fighting Irish, football, Kyle Brindza, Music City Bowl, Nashville
Zach Braff Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 24, 2014 Related Shows Bullets Over Broadway Reminder: DON’T FALL ASLEEP if you’re in the front row at Bullets Over Broadway! The Woody Allen tuner’s star Zach Braff stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to chat about his experience on the Great White Way, including his encounters with some of the “really wacky people” who buy rush tickets. One particularly worn-out audience member was sleeping in her front row seat. So what does Braff do? Buys her a Red Bull to wake her up at intermission. What happens next, he says, is a move taken directly from Weekend at Bernie’s. Come on, Zach. Sometimes it’s really tiring to strain your neck for that long if you’re in the front row. And sometimes you’re exhausted from getting up early to do the rush line. Check out the clip below! Star Files View Comments
The 10U Batesville Bats won the Ohio USSSA AAA (Major/Open) State Championship this past weekend at the Flash Fields in Hammersville, OH in thrilling fashion, 5-4, over the Bo Jackson Elite Black Sox from Columbus, OH. Entering the contest as the home team due to being the higher seed, 3 vs. 4, the Bats won on a walk off bases loaded base on balls by Preston Blessing to score Caleb Mohr to claim the State Championship.The first inning defensively was huge for the hometown Bats. Following a one out base on balls, Brayden Maple gunned down the two hitter trying to steal 2nd base. Following another walk and a single, the squad was able to avoid a deficit by turning a bobbled infield hit into an inning ending play at the plate in which Blessing pivoted strongly from the throw to Maple at the plate to gun down the 3 hitter trying to score to set up a crucial at bat by the youngsters.The squad got off to a fast start offensively as well scoring 4 in the first inning. The lead-off hitter, Evan Johnson, started the game with a base hit to center. Johnson stole second and scored on Brayden Maple’s double to deep left field to put the Bats ahead 1-0. Maple stole 3rd and scored on a wild pitch with 2 outs to make the score 2-0. Caleb Mohr walked, Ethan Lacey singled to right center and Rylan Yeager was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Cayden Drake. Drake’s hard line drive to center field scored two more runs giving the Bats an early cushion.The score remained 4-0 until the Black Sox were able to score a run on a single in the 4th inning making the score 4-1 and setting up the dramatic ending for the championship. Landon Raver made the greatest play of the tournament by laying out for a diving catch in right field to begin the top of the 5th inning, which the Black Sox would go away quietly afterwards in the frame.Drake got the ball to start the contest on the mound and pitched a dandy. He was relieved to begin the 6th and final frame by Brayden Maple. With the top of the order coming to the plate for the Black Sox the squad knew the task to close would be tough. The lead-off hitter drew a walk and stole second. Maple was able to entice the 2 hitter to fly out to short stop. The 3 hitter singled to left center to cut the score in half 4-2. Following a strike out the 5 hitter singled to right to tighten the margin to 4-3. After the 5 hitter stole second, a bloop single to right center tied the contest before Maple was able to get the 7 hitter to ground out pitcher to first.In the home half of the inning the Bats knew one run would earn them the championship rings. Mohr led off the inning with a solid base hit to left center. Ethan Lacey followed him up with an infield single. Both runners advanced a base with one out on passed ball by the Black Sox catcher. With strategy in mind, the Black Sox manager elected to walk Drake intentionally to load the bases with one out. Blessing worked the count to 3-1 before taking ball 4 to advance Mohr across the plate and secure the squad their 3rd state title in as many seasons and set off the Batesville celebration.Drake was solid on the hill going 5 innings, allowing 3 hits, striking out 3 and only allowing one earned run. Maple earned the victory with two innings of relief and following a fantastic showing behind the plate. Offensively, Johnson, Mohr, Dane Dudley and Lacey each had two hits to compliment a great team effort of 10 hits. Drake had 2 RBI’s to help support his solid work on the mound.In the semi-final on Saturday the squad was able to gain redemption against a solid squad, the Babe Stearn Scrappers from Canton, OH in a thrilling fashion one run game once again, 9-8. The Bats plated 6 runs in the first inning and held the lead until the bottom of the 3rd when the Scrappers took an 8-6 lead. With the time limit coming to an end and a now or never senario, Johnson led the inning off with a base on balls, stole second and scored on Maple’s base hit to left. Maple was able to steal 3rd and score on a wild pitch to tie the score.After the lead-off hitter walked, Lacy was brought on in relief. In critical fashion Maple gunned the baserunner down trying to steal second base for the first out of the inning. Following two bases on balls the 3 hitter grounded out to Mohr at second on a put out to first. The Bats Manager, Drake, elected to intentionally walk the solid Scrapper 4 hitter to load the bases with two outs. On a 2-2 count and with ice water running through his veins, Lacey was able to entice the 5 hitter to ground out to Mohr once again to set the stage for the dramatic finish.Rylan Yeager led the inning off for the Bats with a base on balls. He stole 2nd and 3rd and was able to score the game winning run on a wild pitch. Following a strike out to begin the home half of the 5th, a base on balls put the 7 hitter on for the Canton, OH team. Maple gunned the runner out on a steal attempt to place the Bats one out away from the title contest. Following two outs and with bases loaded the 1 hitter flew out to Raver in right field to send the Batesville fans into jubilation and a chance at the Ohio State Crown on Sunday.The tournament began on Thursday night with pool play against the Scrappers from Canton, OH. In what was untypical fashion of the youngsters, numerous errors, lack of hitting and solid play from the competition resulted in a 15-3 loss.Following a team pow-wow after the loss, the team was able to rebound with a solid team effort and escape with a 7-1 win over the Diamond Boys from Cleveland, OH on Friday afternoon to earn the 3 seed going into Saturday’s semi-final.For the tournament, the Bats were led in hitting by Mohr with a .571 batting average; Dane Dudley hit .455, while Maple and Lacey each hit .400. Perhaps most impressive was the fact the squad sent 9 different pitchers to the mound during the tournament with Mohr, Dudley, Lacey and Noah Weigel not allowing any runs.The squad will next be in action next Saturday at Greensburg, followed by the Indiana USSSA AAA State tournament the weekend after in Indianapolis.Congratulations to a fine group of young men, coaches and parents on bringing home to Batesville their 3rd State Championship in as many years!