UM baseball travels with diamonds

In 1994 Denise Morris, wife of Hurricane baseball coach Jim Morris, began a tradition at UM when she came up with an idea to help increase support for Miami baseball after Hurricane Andrew had devastated and displaced so many local fans. She formed a fan club that began with about a dozen people.

Today the club is still active and they call themselves the Diamond Darlings – Diamond Studs. The group’s main purpose is to support the team and carry out special events throughout the year.

The current head of the organization is Lois Kerr, recognized at Mark Light Stadium as one of the most decorated and spirited UM baseball followers. To everyone else she is simply known as Lois.

In this year’s baseball media guide, head coach Jim Morris said: “Lois is relentless in her passion for the University of Miami baseball program. Her dedication and work is much appreciated by the team.”

Last weekend the club participated in a three-day excursion to see the ‘Canes take on arch- rival Florida State in Tallahassee.

This was the second trip for two UM die hard baseball fans Liz Rios and Katie Inderbitzen, seniors at Miami.

Even though they are graduating this year, the two already have plans of returning in the future.

“I am already planning on coming next year,” said Inderbitzen.”And I will be in California for graduate school.”

Upon arrival at the stadium, the club mingled with some of the UM players, giving words of encouragement and good luck.

“It is refreshingly delightful,” said Ellafae Cockroft, mother of Hurricane reliever J.D. Cockroft. “I believe that friends and family are some of the most important things in helping these young players achieve all of their goals in life.”

The fans gave their full support to the ‘Canes throughout game one, despite the FSU 13-3 win

Despite the loss, after the game the team and the group ate pizza together until their fill, with everyone having a good time. Lois paraded around making sure everyone had what they wanted with shouts of, “Kevin, we have cheese and pepperoni over here, Jim we got mushroom over there, Danny would you like some cookies?”

On Saturday, after an afternoon of touring the sights along the streets of downtown Tallahassee, the club once again was off to the stadium for game two. This time the ‘Canes put up a much better front against No. 10 FSU and pulled away with a 5-2 victory.

“It was great,” said Hurricane fan and trip co-coordinator Stu Glassman, “and George pitched just like George,” referring to Hurricane closing pitcher, George Huguet, who shut down the Seminoles in the late innings.

On Sunday, the team traveled back to the stadium to what would be a much anticipated series wrap up. What wasn’t anticipated however, was the extra four innings the team would have to play to finally decide a winner.

Four and a half hours from UM starter, Kiki Bengochea’s first pitch, Steven Drew, FSU rookie sensation and brother of current St. Louis Cardinal J.D. Drew, put a dagger into the hearts of the UM fans and players by smashing a game winning three run home run deep over the right field fence.

With a weekend of extremely competitive baseball now in the past, the bus started for home.

“My favorite memory of these bus trips was coming up here to Tallahassee last year and sweeping the Seminoles at home,” said Rios.

On the ride home in keeping with tradition, any fans who were participating in their first bus trip were forced to sing a song of their choice. Also, lucky numbers were drawn, giving away numerous prizes courtesy of All-Sports. Money raised goes towards future Diamond Darlings – Diamond Studs events.

Eventually the bus pulled up to campus at the tone of 3:00 a.m. and a very tired group left for home.

After a week of rest, the Diamond Darlings – Diamond Studs start up again tonight however, as the same Florida State Seminoles come down to Mark Light Stadium in the second half of the home and home series.