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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Diamond Dogs' Bogus Journey

Just got back from Foley Field, where the players were working hard... with snow shovels.

The team was busy clearing snow off the field in hopes of getting it ready for Wednesday's game against Wofford, but the healthy dose of powder on the basepaths was hardly the Diamond Dogs only surprise.

After sweeping Arizona over the weekend to move to 8-0, Georgia's flight out of Tuscon didn't exactly work out as planned.

The team was set to take off from Tuscon at 5:25 p.m. local time Sunday after cruising to a 10-5 win. The flight left the ground and got about 40 minutes out before the captain came on with an announcement that the plane was experiencing some difficulties and would have to return to the airport.

"We were gone a pretty long time, and by the time it takes you to get back, you'd be pretty close to Dallas," coach Dave Perno said. "You're taking a risk either way. It was probably only about an hour to Dallas and it was 40 to get back."

The captain said the plane was experiencing a strange vibration that he wasn't comfortable flying with, so they turned around and landed back in Tuscon again.

After about 45 minutes on the ground, an announcement was made that the problem was fixed and the plane was ready to take to the skies once again. This time, they were in the air about 20 minutes before the captain was once again on the intercom to report a problem.

"We still don't know (what happened)," Perno said. "We took off twice and turned around both times. It was puzzling."

This time, the team switched planes, and finally got off the ground en route to Dallas about five hours after it was supposed to have left. The Dawgs arrived in Dallas at 1:30 a.m. and were given vouchers to spend the night in a hotel there. They didn't arrive back in Athens until early Monday afternoon -- none the worse for wear.

"I think we were all a little bit exhausted to be too scared," Perno said.

Of course, waiting for them when they got back was a big pile of snow, which may not be enough to cool down the Dawgs' hot bats. Georgia has scored 10 runs or more in seven of their eight games so far while their pitching staff has remained sharp. Still, Perno cautioned the team not to get too high on their early season accomplishments.

"We've got to keep it in perspective," he said. "We've played real well and they didn't. We caught them at the right time, they were a little banged up and still searching for some arms, and we feasted on it. Obviously, we'll take it, but at the same token, we can't read too much into it."

Also of note, former Georgia shortstop and current rising star of the White Sox organization Gordon Beckham stopped in for a visit with the Bulldogs while they were out in Arizona then returned to action for the White Sox and hit a home run the next day.

"He's unbelievable," catcher Bryce Massanari said of Beckham. "He'll be up there (in the majors) sooner than later."

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