Belmont Bandits 12U baseball team
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Feb 19, 2020 - Work in the snow
On Saturday, February 8th we held our annual clean up day at Boat Club Road facilities. We had some work scheduled, and were able to do most of it. We were greeted by an exciting visitor as we worked: snow. True to our nature though, our group kept on working through the snow and got done what was able to be updated. We fixed the two infields, cleaned up debris, trimmed bushes and limbs, mended the batting cage net, re-did the entire bullpen mound at Field #1 including introducing some turf and sand, repaired and resurfaced an extra portable mound located at the batting cage, made a new (and wider) concrete ramp for the football concession area, put down sand/dirt in holes around the fields, moved the football bleachers and move Field #2 fence back into place.
Thanks to all four Bandits teams that came out to get this work done. We had a whole lot of Bandit parents, siblings and friends that showed the players how they too know how to work as a team. We accomplished a lot, and the grounds are better and safer because of the work done. Again, thank you so much for volunteering half your Saturday to our organization and community - we are all better off because of it.
Baseball season is right around the corner. Our group will be finalizing our roster and cannonball into the season here in the next couple weeks.
Jan 31, 2020 - Boat Club Makeover
Thanks to the guys that helped spread the sand and re-shape Field #2 this past weekend. Our team's dads - Jonathan, Eric, John, Aaron and Mike as well as Jarad and Tait from McCarn's team - all did a lot of work to get that field ready to use this spring and summer. Every year we make pretty substantial upgrades that make the playing surfaces and surroundings a little better. We always talk to the boys about leaving a place better than they found it....be it the fields they play on, the classroom they took part in or their place in the world. I'm thankful to our wonderful parents for showing their boys how it is done.
February 8th we will have our annual 'Clean Up' day. Like I said previously, we always plan to upgrade the facility down there as much as possible, and it takes a large number of hands available to do the work. In the past we have painted the baseball fence, resurfaced infields, spread dirt and sand, put up batting cages, trimmed trees and bushes, cut back brush, filled holes, smoothed out common area ground, moved bleachers, moved fences, built bullpens, put down turf in batting cage and concession areas, built dugouts (Field #2), painted foul poles, re-diagramed and re-sleeved Field #2 fenceline, re-built pitching mounds on the fields, made ramps to the concession area, painted the football building, painted the football storage connex, re-made the doors on the football building, painted the dugouts (Field #1) and painted the trim of the baseball concession stand. I'm sure I'm leaving some stuff out - but that list is off the top of my head. We have had a lot of effort from our parents over the years, and our organization is very different than most around here because we are a zero sum / non profit group who puts 100% of the money and effort that is donated to the kids that take part in our teams. Belmont Optimist has a long standing reputation of doing this, and in today's world where it's harder than ever to get volunteer activity going - it says a lot about our parents who have actually shown up and devoted spending their time with not only their kids, but for the community. These younger age groups playing on these fields currently benefit from previous, older age groups' sweat...and younger age groups coming up will benefit from our group's work.
It's looking like a fun year is ahead for our group; thanks to all that have pitched in to help get the fields ready so these boys can spend their time in the fresh air, on the green grass, under the blue sky...and in those red uniforms.
"Get used to it"
Jan 24, 2020 - Sand is gooooood
Thanks to my buddy Jarad McCarn and his crew - they kicked in half the money needed so we could get a large load of sand down at Boat Club Field #2. Our Bandit team ante'd up the rest of the money, and it was delivered yesterday. I was able to get some on the field before this rain hit, and we will continue to mix more into the field over the next month. In the last few years we did the same thing at Field #1 at Boat Club, and it has continued to be in great shape and plays very smoothly through the infield.
This sand will help our infielders on both older Bandits teams a whole lot. It will help smooth out the ripples we have in a couple of spots on the infield, and also help soak up some water that stands at two spots. We have done a lot to this field in the last couple of years, and this sand will be the last piece of the puzzle we need to get it up to speed with the other field on site. It will be a work in progress over the next month as we churn the soil up, and get some of that sand underneath the dirt to make a nice mixture that drags smoothly, and looks great. We will also use some of this sand to fill in holes in both outfields, and also use it on the football field if needed in some spots.
We took most of our portion of the sand money out of my team's fundraising - but it is super beneficial to all our boys, as it makes for much better hops and safer play. Just a reminder - we are set to have our clean up day on February 8th this year. We like to do 1-2 things in the community every year, and we will descend on the fields down there and get several things cleaned up, moved, fixed and upgraded like we do every year. The Belmont Optimist Club is appreciative of these efforts - but we are more appreciative for them that we are allowed to practice on these fields. Part of our program is that we like to show that gratitude back to those who help us by offering up hard work to help maintain and improve the areas where we spend so much time.
Can't wait for baseball season!
Jan 14, 2020 - Powered by......
Sunday provided enough sun and warmth to dry out the fields somewhat, and we were able to get some work in on Field 1 during our first practice. Things are looking up after our first practice. I guess our guys hitting that 12 year old age mark, with more kids around/over the 75 pound mark mean baseballs more easily rattle the fence and trees...I hope that continues.
Arms are stronger, guys are faster and in better shape, and were able to field fly & ground balls effortlessly. It's the best FIRST practice we've ever had and the boys all appear situated to be able to compete this year. We hope to put hard work behind this good start and see what we can do versus all these other teams that have the best players in the multi-state area playing for them. As 12 year old travel ball continues, you will start to see less overall teams. Program/Facility teams will continue to have A and B (farm) teams that send up and down 12 year old kids like pawns just so long as it helps the ‘A’ team win a couple of these youth baseball games we play on the weekend. As long as these players all continue to pay for their lessons, they can stay on one of those teams - but understand we will face the best of the best from whatever pool of 30-40 kids make up “a” team. So, about every team we face this year will have kids from multiple counties and cities, and likely multiple states. 90% of our baseball team this year is made up of our little football team that went undefeated in the regular season a couple of years ago. To end that season, we lost to an All Star football team comprised from three teams … so playing against these stacked up teams will not be new territory for our players.
But really - what a steep challenge for our people to get to compete against these All Star baseball teams; playing these great opponents will surely help our crew increase their competition level though, and maybe we can learn some new baseball skills along the way. Guys on our team are competitors though....and have played on championship/undefeated soccer teams, competed and played for the championship in a travel basketball league, played football in Bank of America stadium and won conference titles in Pop Warner, won dirt bike races, won wrestling matches, won 50 yard dashes, won at swim meets and Free Throw contests. The constant with our group is that they have consistently found a way to step up on big stages no matter how big an underdog they, or their teammates were... a good trait to possess. It is a blessing to be able to continue to hone this group’s edge on the baseball field, and see what good can come from their efforts during our dusty days at Boat Club and the surrounding dirt lots in and around Charlotte.
One of our major sponsors is Spot Bilt. Pony and Etonic passed on offering us some sponsor help, but our heart was set on Spot Bilt the whole time anyway. It’s a good fit with how we practice, prepare and play. It suits our outlook at the game of baseball. It is a great representative of what we are: the quiet, confident, hard-working underdog group that shows up to give their best effort. No inside help, special favors or priviledges. We have a very good group and hopefully a lot of those same positive outcomes from all the other sports and activities the these boys have excelled in can translate into our getting better at baseball this year. Thank you to the parents that have been working on our behalf this early part of the season with other sponsorship information as well. Good parents make all the difference in the world with having a good or bad season in travel baseball. We are very appreciative of the support given to our team, and your commitment to our team.
Dec 20, 2019 - 2020 Bandit Season
There have been many baseball players who have honed their game down Boat Club Road at those fields graded for the plant kids to play baseball on in 1956. One of those kids who grew up playing on these fields, and a former Bandit – is Nolan Wilson. He has been instrumental in helping teach our boys during pitching lessons in previous years, and will continue to do so this year. It’s great to have expert instruction from a college kid to help our kids, while helping support him as well. He is not making a living off these kids, just working with them at getting better at baseball. It’s a common theme in the Bandits organization. Loyalty, integrity, authenticity and Belmont pride… that is what we are getting from a Coach like Coach Wilson. He learned it growing up, and shows it continually; I couldn’t be more proud of him, his character and his parents for raising such a wonderful young man. That is what is expected at higher levels around this town and practicing what you preach is the best way to prove you possess those characteristics.
We are made up of a team of players that only play for our team. We play mostly in the Top Gun baseball organization, and don’t flip back and forth between three travel leagues per month. We don’t have a second team that we trade/switch players between leagues in order to over-pitch them either. If someone is sober and present at our games, you see just how many pitches the kids on my team will throw. It is literally governed by the league we play in (innings and time limits), and the cosmic rules of baseball. If you are doing well on the mound, you won’t be pitching 200 pitches. #1 we play 1 hour and 45 minute time limit games. The other team bats, and we get to bat. There is time in between innings. So, playing more than 4-5 innings is almost impossible. IF you do play more than 4-5 innings, and are still pitching with time not being out, that means you pitched very few pitches because the score is probably 2-1. So for our parents, don’t let any negative adult with a BS agenda influence what we do. That dead arm their kid will have in the next couple years will tell the tale. #2 If you pitch badly, you get taken out. If you are getting shelled or can’t find the strike zone…it is highly likely you won’t pitch more than 60 pitches that day, or 105 total in a weekend.
Lastly – we have a rule that disallows players from playing on other travel teams during our season. We also discourage fall baseball play….true aims at alleviating arm problems for our young baseball players. So, if you are a parent that finds other teams to play on during your regular team’s “off” weekends of play….the HS or MS coach won’t be the problem when arm troubles happen. You (the parent) are the problem. Don’t be the problem. I’m not preaching here….I’m letting everyone know where we stand and WHY. Injuries can always happen, but we as parents should not increase the chances of injuries occurring by ignorant ambition. If a travel coach or ‘facility “coach”’ tells you he can get you into college, scouted or the like……and it sounds like you are talking to a pimp, then……
Conversely….if our kids pitched TWICE as much as they do now during the season, they would be totally fine. During the baseball season, if 105 pitches in a day is too many pitches thrown, or even 100 pitches thrown in consecutive days….they need to fold up all baseball pursuits and find an athletic pursuit that requires no practice, effort, hustle, resistance, adversity or failure. If you are saving your arm for the majors at age 11-12, then I guess you have it all figured out that it’s pretty easy to get there anyway. Greg Maddux only LOOKED like an average guy; but, his talent was not average.
I watch 99% of baseball teams we see on weekends have their pitchers throw 50 pitches in “warm up bullpen” after throwing 60 balls on the foul line “warming up” with the rest of the team. They’re already past the 105 mark so I guess they can’t pitch today? I guess by that rationale, nobody could ever warm up, and pitch on the same day again? I’m not saying the foul line plus warm up pitching is right or wrong……. just pointing out the narrow-minded stance taken by some that do not account for other potentially worse habits on a baseball field that are accepted without second glance. Luckily, Larry Bird didn’t have gossipmongers with too much time on their hands worrying about how many jumpers he was taking in the gym at 6am every morning in French Lick. How did his knees, elbows and shoulders ever take the brutal punishment of doing something that he loved to do over and over? Of course that’s just my opinion….I could be wrong.
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