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Baseball: Irish face Silver Hawks in Battle of the Bend

Observer Staff Report | Monday, April 5, 2010

The two best-known baseball teams in South Bend play on two completely different levels – the Irish in the NCAA and the Silver Hawks in Major League Baseball’s Class A – but Monday they will face each other nonetheless in the third annual Battle of the Bend.


“On one side of the field you have professional baseball players, and on the other you have student-athletes attending one of the top academic-athletics institutions in the country,” Silver Hawks general manger Lynn Kachmarik said. “It is also a game that brings together the community.”


The Silver Hawks finished their spring training last week, and the exhibition game will be their first action in South Bend this season.


The Irish (9-17, 1-5 Big East) have lost six of their last seven, so the exhibition game will be a welcome break from the grind of a tough Big East schedule.


The proceeds from the game go to the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to fight Niemann-Pick Type C.


“Over the years that Ara has had this foundation, the community awareness and financial gains continue to grow,” Kachmarik said. “Any role that the Silver Hawks can play in this fight is very important.”


Leading the Irish into Coveleski Stadium will be senior first baseman Casey Martin. Fans are used to seeing Martin in such a role. Silver Hawks president Joe Kernan will make an appearance that might take some adjustment for the fans. Kernan has signed a one-day contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Silver Hawks parent club, and will play in the exhibition game.


Kernan is a former Irish baseball player, Notre Dame graduate, and has served as both South Bend mayor and as Indiana governor.


“[Kernan] might get his own set of rules,” Kachmarik said.


Gates for the game open at 4:30 p.m. Monday, and first pitch will be at 5:30.