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Belmont Bandits 9U baseball team

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April Saturday brings two wins

Box Score

Apr. 23, 2017

We had a pretty good day this past Saturday, and snagged two wins out of two games played. The weather was beautiful on Saturday, and ugly on Sunday so we weren't able to finish this tournament. Things were looking really good for our team, and we were looking forward to playing Sunday's games and contending to win the Gold Championship. We had all of our pitching ready for Sunday's games, and even though we saw the forecast for Sunday our staff trusts weather men about as much as women trust Bill Cosby on a Saturday night date. So, we ended up not playing the second part of our tournament and will have to wonder "what could have been?"

We played two teams that come from strong programs on Saturday, Elite Baseball 9u and Team 24 Gamecocks. Both coaching staffs are crafty, and do everything they can to get a W for their boys. We respect that, and it just means that we have to work a little harder to keep up with these guys. Both teams came ready to play, and the ball bounced our way more than theirs, but they fought the whole way through in both games. We had Patrick Blee available for play this weekend, after being injured during the week. He was able to fill in some for us in spots, and able to contribute to our wins despite not being 100%. We hope he continues to get better.

In the Elite Baseball 9u game, we were able to secure a 12-7 win. We got some guys who have not pitched much at all some time in this game, and were able to hold on in a slow-paced affair. Defensively we had some big plays from Christopher Wurster in the outfield. He had a big catch, and was constantly in correct position with backups and hustle from the green fields of glory. Walker Spargo starred at second base and third base in this game;  He also played well defensively in both contests. He recorded a lot of outs, and performed some movements that we practice a whole lot to a tee. He made it look easy, which is great to see. We didn't have great defense in this game as a whole, but we managed to pull it together in the end. We got strong pitching from Brody Crawford, Spargo and Zeke Pruitt. Each threw a lot of strikes and let our defense get some chances to make plays. Offensively we had some big hits from Dalton Skipper, Spargo and Crawford - all had big triples. Crawford's triple cleared a bases loaded set, in a time that we desperately needed a big hit. Zeke Pruitt had the most hits in this game for any Bandit, going 2-3 (1B and 2B). He also reached via error, so he was a perfect three times on base in three plate appearances. Aydan Bradley had a big double, and was a hot hitter on the whole day. Wurster went 1-2 with a single, and got on twice out of two plate appearances. Blake Hartness, Skipper and Crawford all scored two runs each in this game. Offensively, getting on base and scoring runs is the name of the game, and we love to recognize when guys do these two things well.

In game two of Saturday's action we faced Team 24 Gamecocks. We ended up beating them 13-1, but they were unlucky a lot in the game and are a better team than the score indicates. Their coaches were very complimentary of our players and their actions on the field, which is always nice to hear. We do work a lot on baseball skill, and seeing others recognize the boys' hard work is satisfying. Offensively Aydan Bradley lead our team going 2-3 with two doubles. He hammered the ball all day long, including many "just foul" shots down either line. Christopher Wurster, Blake Hartness and Landon King all contributed singles on the day. Spargo had a big triple at a crucial time;  boy, those type of hits that come at just the right time never get old....as long as it is a Bandit hitting them! Zeke Pruitt and Brody Crawford each had a double in this game. Bug Green walked three times, and scored three of our 13 runs himself. King also scored three runs and got on base three times out of three plate appearances. Overall, we ran the bases very well during this game. Walker Spargo and Zeke Pruitt both executed some steals that we've worked on recently, and despite Spargo getting a bogus call on his steal of home, he performed it perfectly. Pruitt also delay stealed third one time, showing off his prowess as a cunning base thief. As for defense, we played very well during this game on that side of the ball. Bug Green caught well all day, but was particularly good from behind the plate in this game. He gunned down a couple "would be" base stealers and other advancing runners, but his most important work came from his elbows, knees, thumb and stance from behind the plate. I am super proud of him for taking his skill level higher during this year;  sometimes that's very hard to do at that position because it can be so physically demanding. Landon King played a great first base when he got his chances over there, and recorded several big outs. Brody Crawford snagged a smokeshot ball that would've hit the fence if not caught, which really deflated the opponent. Our pitching was very good in this game, as Blake Hartness threw four innings, struck out four and only allowed one run. Again, our defense played a big part of that, and so a tremendous team win was evident as we finished up our Saturday. Landon King came in to close this game out and struck out the side in one inning pitched. Both pitched superbly.

It's really easy to be part of a team where bad habits are formed, and even easier to fall back into some bad habits if you aren't held to a specific standard. We have been hard on the boys recently, and the difference in their defensive play in game one to game two is a great contrast and illustration as to why they are coached a certain way. Just playing baseball doesn't make you a better baseball player. Learning, re-learning, practicing and focusing on proper fundementals, effort and skill is essential in this unbelievably hard sport these boys play. It is very easy to play on four teams per year if you constantly leave that door open to be asked, but that probably means the player is learning nothing other than which color socks to match with that weekend's uniform. This is a crucial time in our team's development where high expectations are a given, demands of practice and performance are understood and continued development of the right way to play baseball will be followed through upon. To me that is exciting;  it is easy to get worse at baseball quickly, but hard to get better at baseball slowly. Getting better at baseball quickly is not even a consideration;  if you are told that, you are being duped. Our guys have showed a steady incline in skill, and we want to make sure the second half of this season continues the same trajectory. It's a shame the weather disagreed with our plans for this weekend, but our ultimate goal is getting these guys better at baseball. We will continue to practice hard and look to compete with these solid teams we see every weekend we play in Top Gun.

 

 

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