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Friday, August 12, 2005

What a difference having players makes

Well, I did not post this year anything about my son's summer baseball experience, partly because I knew it would be painful (and it was) and partly because I am not sure it is interesting to anyone but me. He played American Legion, the team went 2-17, playing largely much older teams and losing several by the 10-run rule in 7 innings. They were one of the youngest teams in the league, had only a few pitchers, who did learn the importance of changing speeds and staying away from the strike zone when they got ahead.
But (and there is a But, of course), we (some coaches) have formed a new team for August tournaments and the fall, made up of guys from three or four different Legion teams, all of which struggled, and, boy, what a difference having good players at every position, especially in the infield, makes. They played last night, pitched six different guys, won 5-3, in a wood bat game and made excellent plays at all positions. We head to CT for a weekend wood bat tournament this weekend against teams from all over New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, so we will see how good they really are. Next week another wood bat tournament then onto the fall.
The boys are excited and seem to have gelled quickly, as we hoped would happen, and are looking forward to the fall.
The bottom line, for me at this point, is that losing to better teams that play well does not, in the long run, hurt young players as much as playing and beating up on weaker teams does. The pitchers learned the most, I think, competing against college players. I hope they take what they learned this summer to this weekend's 16U tournament, where they will be playing against teams the same age.