Kevin Cooney

Kevin Cooney has spent 20 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He has compiled more than 700 victories with the Owls and more than 850 wins in his 24-year career as a head coach. Cooney has spent the past five seasons offering his thoughts on baseball - and other things - for Cooney's Owls finished their first season in the Sun Belt Conference at 36-22 in 2007.




March 3, 2008

Prove It All Night

Many is the time I wished that baseball had a clock like basketball or football. It must be nice to go into a prevent defense and watch a quarterback battle the clock, or in the old days of basketball, trot out your four-corners offense and watch the minutes tick away.

But the baseball gods decided that you have to complete nine innings to win a game no matter how good or bad the opponent, or better stated – your bullpen.

 It means, in baseball, you have to prove it all night.

Our week started with a halted game in Daytona Beach. We led Bethune-Cookman 4-3 after 4½ innings when the winds howled and the skies opened up on us. We’ll pick that one up in May when the Wildcats visit us for a game. The rest of the week saw us in Boca for five games in as many days. Each of those games saw us have to come from behind at some point to win. The good news is we managed to win all five.

The game that stood out was Saturday’s.

Jeff Beliveau is a lefty with great stuff and a knack for missing the strike zone often enough that his pitch count looks like Wall Street in a Bull Market.

Jeff had a no-hitter into the sixth against Eastern Michigan, but his pitch count meant he wouldn’t be around to complete what he started. We had a comfortable 5-0 lead when the Eagles scored a run and got their first hit – a bloop to center that our centerfielder didn’t see right away. No problem – our pen would take care of the rest.

When the dust settled, Eastern had hung a nine-spot on the scoreboard, and we trailed by four.

Mike McKenna had one of the best offensive seasons in school history last year. Unfortunately for Mike, he was overshadowed by Robbie Widlansky, who had the greatest season on record at FAU. We all hoped McKenna could come close this year to what he had done in ‘07.

Friday night, Mike gave us a hint of things to come when his three-run shot to center broke a 2-2 tie and gave us the win. Now a day later in the eighth, Mike again gave us hope that he is ready to pick up where he left off last year.

Eastern Michigan sensed its first win was at hand, but Will Block narrowed the gap with a RBI, and McKenna stepped to the plate with two runners on base and drilled a fastball half way up the batter’s eye, 400 feet away.

Tie game.

Eastern Michigan was determined its night was not yet over, bouncing back with two runs in the top of the ninth. As we ran off the field, the sky was dark and the outlook bleak.

Our PA guy chose to play Prove It All Night between innings.

And he cranked it.

But if dreams came true, oh wouldn’t that be nice,
But this ain’t no dream we’re livin’ through tonight,
You want it, you take it,
You pay the price.
Prove it all night.

Travis Ozga led off with a walk, followed by Tom Hatcher’s double. Alex Silversmith pinch-hit, and reached first by getting plunked with a fastball. Eastern summoned its closer to face David Wilson, who promptly proved less is sometimes more, as he dribbled a ball to third scoring Ozga on a fielder’s choice.

Hatcher was at third with the tying run, and Silversmith was the game-winner at second as Nick Arata stepped in and laced a hard shot off the glove of the shortstop. Beliveau’s near no-hitter seemed long ago as I watched our guys celebrate at home plate.

It took all night.


"Prove It All Night" - Bruce Springsteen from Darkness On The Edge of Town