MSU loses in Crosstown Showdown, but gains an experience of a lifetime
On a cool, beautiful Tuesday night, the MSU baseball team played a tune up game, while the Lansing Lugnuts ended their season in the annual Crosstown Showdown exhibition game at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing.
The Lugnuts ended up winning in the eleventh game of this annual series, 5-1, giving the Lugnuts a 9-2 lead in the series and their sixth straight win against MSU. Freshman catcher Adam Proctor, who was the designated hitter Tuesday night, brought in the lone run for the Spartans on a RBI single in the top of the first.
The Crosstown Showdown has been in existence since 2007, giving fans in the greater Lansing area a spectacle in the heart of the city.
According to the team's head coach Jake Boss Jr., his father, Jake Boss Sr., helped bring the Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays to Lansing, which added special meaning to the game.
“Personally, it means an awful lot,” Boss Jr. said. “I know for our guys, not only is it a great experience to play in front of a big crowd, but to play the pro guys and get a taste of what it’s like to play at the next level is pretty important.”
Boss Jr. said it’s “absolutely awesome” to see the amount of fans that come out each year to watch the Spartans and Lugnuts battle in Cooley Law School Stadium.
“It’s been so much fun – this is my tenth one it’s hard to believe – but it just keeps getting better and better,” Boss Jr. said. “It’s been a real staple in the community baseball wise, around the area and it’s been real fun.”
Junior right-handed pitcher Riley McCauley, who had two strikeouts on the night in the opening frame, said it was a “good experience” playing in this atmosphere.
“Playing against the best of the best in the world, even guys from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, I mean (they) really test how good you really are,” McCauley said. “Whether you do good or not, you can always say you played against professional baseball players.”
McCauley said he wants to see the Crosstown Showdown continue in the future.
“(It’s) two baseball teams in East Lansing and Lansing –I feel like we should always play, bring the fans out here,” McCauley said. “I feel like everybody likes it.”
One of those players that got not only his first taste of playing professional players, but also got his first taste of playing in a Spartan uniform, was Proctor.
Proctor said he was still nervous to play for MSU for the first time, but getting the RBI single gave him a confidence boost.
“I feel like coming out and being able to hang with all these upperclassmen and all these pro guys, it just helps show that it’s not as far away as I think it is,” Proctor said. “I can do it, and I don’t need to hold back. I can go out there and play like I can.”
Boss Jr. said not only Proctor, but every new player was ready to play and wasn’t “intimidated” or “overwhelmed.”
Boss Jr. said even if it was just a home run derby before the first pitch between the Spartans and the Lugnuts, winning it against professional baseball players is a confidence booster for the young Proctor.
“What a neat opportunity for him and it’s something that he’s never going to forget, I know that,” Boss Jr said.
The Spartans will next play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at McLane Stadium at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, the same day as the football matchup between the Spartans and the current No. 24 team in the country, the Fighting Irish.