Command Concert, Precise Pitching…Summer Simmers with August Apex
DeDoes Goes Back-to-Back On Stage, On Mound
On successive August days, Mattie DeDoes culminated his 2011 summer with a resounding artistic statement. On Thursday, August 4, he and his crack team of fellow musicians rocked downtown Flint, Michigan with a 1-1/2 hour midday concert that left jazz-funk fans on their feet screaming for more.
Then, on Friday, August 5, the Oberlin College sophomore-to-be took the ball and the hill for his Toledo Gold Hawks team in the NABF College World Series. DeDoes pitched the Hawks to a 5-3 win over a top-notch Crystal Lake (IL) squad and helped his team advance with the championship of “Pool A” in the tournament. This game was televised regionally on Buckeye Cablevision, as part of their weekend of coverage from the National Amateur Baseball Federation event.
The Flint concert, part of the “Tunes at Noon” Series presented by the Greater Flint Arts Council and the Flint Jazz Festival was, to say the least, a smash. DeDoes and his ensemble opened with his version of the Spyro Gyra classic “Morning Dance,” as it was still minutes before noon when the last note echoed off the downtown buildings. As the group rolled through their original numbers (“Turn Twelve”, “In The Zone”), feature vocal selections (“Save Some Time For Me”, “Vehicle”), funk classics (“Reasons,” “Livin’ For The City”) and other crowd-pleasers (such as Mattie’s unique rap to “Just The Two of Us,” firing jabs at keyboardist-father Steve), the audience of a few hundred people ate it up and begged for more. Mattie not only had the crowd eating out of his hand, and applauding wildly to his searing solos, but he moved female fans to come up to the stage in order to touch and hug the young prodigy.
But, as Mattie says, “nothin’ beats being ‘on the bump’ for a big game.” The Toledo Gold Hawks – after going 36-8 in winning both of their leagues over the summer – proceeded to win their first two games in the NABF College World Series. The first victory was a thumping of the Genoa (OH) Rampage on Thursday (Mattie missed it due to the concert); they followed by opening Friday play with a win over the Kent (NY) White Sox.
Mattie was somewhat surprised to get the call for game 2 on Friday, against the 2-0 Crystal Lake (IL) Cardinals. The Cards featured a lineup stocked with players from a broad cross-section of Division I programs – like Fresno State, Valparaiso, and Virginia Tech. Throughout the season, Mattie had put forth some scintillating mound performances; however, as a third baseman and hitter as well, his pitching opportunities sometimes took a back seat to those for other Hawk hurlers who were strictly pitchers on the squad.
Anyway, Mattie was superb in holding down a Crystal Lake team that eventually made it to the finals. He breezed through the first few innings, allowed an unearned run in the fourth, and then escaped major trouble in the sixth and seventh innings before giving way to his bullpen for the final two frames of the nine-inning battle.