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Belmont Bandits 10U baseball team

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The River of Dreams

Jun. 23, 2017


What a day. What a season, but what a fantastic Sunday we had this week. Happy Father’s Day to the men who choose to be involved in their kids’ lives. No matter what your official title is to the player on our team, your presence is awesome. The time both our moms and dads spend with their kids, and also choosing to hang out with our little group on the weekends instead doing all of the many other things there are to do is much appreciated. Sunday was a good day for that most importantly. Secondly, we did play baseball and how the kids played on the field was just the icing on the cake. It was a great day before our prelude into vacation mode for our team. There will be many beach trips, relaxation and reflection during the next month, and it is well deserved for our parents and players. We have worked them hard, demanded a level of play that is not required by most at any age and had goals to achieve. We have met many of them, and now it is time to cap off the end of the official regular season for our team. We started practice in late January, and games in late February. So, we have practiced together for five months and played games for the last four months. We do have that one more tournament we have qualified to play in, but with limited practices and that tournament basically being in what Belmont refers to as ‘football season’ (late July), what we have done to this point IS what we are. If anyone wanted to play us at our best, we were accepting all takers these last few months. Still, we may do a scrimmage or two in the coming weeks if we can find an opponent, but until then – it is sweet, sweet summertime and lots of vacations for our families. We all end in the ocean…..

At the beginning of this year, we had a couple parent meetings letting you know the coaching staff was ramping up expectations and demands of practice and play. With mostly the same group as the previous year, we expected growth. There is nothing wrong if a player does not get better at baseball; most people don’t get better at baseball because it’s a really hard game to play. As you get older, it gets harder. But, everyone on our team worked hard this year. They did not complain, and for the most part gave it their best shot every practice and game. Playing baseball at this age, at any age, is a work in progress. I like where our guys are now, especially considering where some of them were when we started. This is typically the biggest jump you make in baseball (from coach to kid pitch). There are a lot of uncontrolled variables that you have to learn to adapt to, and get good at in a short amount of time. Talent and skill are two different things. Every kid on our team raised their baseball skill level the last two years dramatically, but this year in particular we saw big growth when we did not always expect to see it so soon. We held most of our practices down by the river, on the same red mud/clay fields a lot of Belmont kids have learned how to play baseball on the last sixty years. We all start in the streams…..

Our players played for one another. They bought into what we are saying. I’ve had plenty of teams who have not bought in. I’ve pieced together teams of guys who had a LOT of talent, but wouldn’t take instruction so their skill level did not bolster as quickly as it could have. I’ve had teams that were really good but not real talented, and some that were really talented and not real good. I had a team a few years ago that could have been as good as this one, but they were well under .500 because of bad attitudes, me first players and over-involved parents with selfish intent about their kids. So, it’s good our boys have learned not to ride the coattails of others to win A championship. You can get by in baseball cutting corners for a while, but it catches up to you. Coaches don’t ask kids to do anything they have not already done, and certainly always want what is best for them. This group was not like that at all. I have not learned anything new, and have taught the same thing for a long time now. The difference is you parents encouraged your kid to listen, not play the social engineering game, and were happy to have a place as a member on a great team. There is a lot to be said about our parents and the players who were willing to do that at this young age. Thank you very much. Now, we won’t play during the fall like any normal Bandit season. We are well aware that this is where a lot of teams keep on playing, accumulating points against a weaker field as most kids go onto play other sports. Make no mistake about it – we accomplished what we did during baseball season, and did not backdoor our way into any meaningless championships against paper tigers. There will also be vultures that come out in full force during the fall, as well as the spring:  Beware. We don’t have any one reason we did very well this year. No one player is irreplaceable. We should all be proud that this group did it together, during the time they were given to make their attempts. We're all carried along…..

The first games we played in our initial kid pitch tournament were against teams that all played in the fall. That was not really an issue, even though we went 2-2. Two of those losses were in hour long games where we walked something like 20 batters in two games. Our pitchers didn’t do anything differently the rest of the year, and we averaged about three walks a game. So, I think it is safe to say that when we thought we were getting a raw deal that one day in Concord, we were. An overall record of 31-6 in the toughest league/competition we could find is impressive to me. As of this week – which is when we stopped playing baseball, here are our current rankings from the Top Gun website for the state of NC which include all games from 1/1/17 to present:

-We finish our regular season with a 31-6 overall record, which is an 84% win percentage.

-We have beaten 2 of the top 5 other (not including our own team) top ranked Division 1 Top Gun teams head to head on the field.

-This year we have won four Gold Championships, a runner-up Gold, and won two Silver Championships.

-Three Gold Championships in a row.

-We finished the final games of this season 23-1.

-We were undefeated in the month of April and June (8-0 in each month). We were 7-1 in May.

-We won 96% of our baseball games in the last three months against top competition.

-We scored 472 runs this year, and gave up 167;  a run differential of 305.

-We are ranked  #1 in Division 1, 9u baseball in Top Gun which is the toughest league to compete in.

-We are ranked top 10 in Power Rankings. I have no idea how that is calculated. I do see the team who is #1 in these rankings currently has played in one tournament together so it's hard to put very much weight into this.

-We have competed and beaten teams from as far away as Asheville to the other side of Monroe, and from Cleveland, NC down to upstate SC. We also live and play in the travel ball epicenter of NC. There are more teams, facilities and basball programs around here than there are churches....so that's a whole lot.

-Last year we were 25-7, so in two years we have a 56-13 record.

**Something to consider;  another top team in the state is 37-17. For the purposes of comparison, playing and winning a lot of games is great, but we have the most number of points while playing nearly 20 less games (which equates to 5 less tournaments). Another top team is 27-17, so you are definitely rewarded for playing more tournaments and being eligible to get more points. Assuming we played that number of games, and if our win % gives a strong indication we might win 2 out of those extra 4 or 5 tournaments and possibly place in another one, we might have an extra 1,500-2,000 points to clearly distance ourselves from others. But, we believe in sports seasons still;  and hopefully these kids well-rounded athletic pursuits will mean no Tommy John surgeries or worn out love affairs with any one particular sport by age 14.

This is pertinent information, because we aren’t some west side All Stars from city X with a population of 300,000, or a team made up of kids from all over three towns or counties. Our kids came from a town of about 10 square miles, and most live within 3 square miles of each other. These last few tournaments have come full circle with where we envisioned this group being, and I am proud of that last 24 games mark where we went 23-1. A lot of things have to come together in order to have the end result we had this year. This  won’t happen every year, but we will lace up our spikes next season and try to do it all again as we play The Greatest Show on Dirt. As baseball years go, at any age, this was a dream season. You don’t run across many of these type seasons so it should be realized, understood and acknowledged how well the team did this year. We are most definitely a small-town team, without question. We have no facility. We play baseball in the dirt and grass. We hustle, yell, sweat, laugh and hug…and we will keep on doing what we know how to do. By the river of dreams…..


Baseball Team Page for Belmont Bandits (9U, D1)
Team Points
Yearly Points Season 01/01/2017 - 11/30/2017
Points: 3,775
Rank: 1 of 21
TeamTeam AdministratorLocationPoints
Belmont Bandits Stacy Crawford Belmont, NC 3,775
Sandhills Stingrays Brian Norris Aberdeen, NC 3,700
Port City Rebels Ted Naylor Wilmington, NC 3,600
Park Sharon Nationals Brian Miller Charlotte, NC 3,175
Carolina Havoc Kelly Farr Mooresville, NC 2,950
Panthers Dallas Greene Monroe, NC 2,875
NCDB RiverCats Barry Whitmore-9u Raleigh, NC 2,425
Evoshield Canes 9u NC - Gilchrist Rick Gilchrist Raleigh, NC 1,975
Clayton Fusion 9u Brent Hines Clayton, NC 1,925
Stix Steven Jones Greenville, NC 1,775
FV Wildcats 9u Korey Coon Fuquay Varina, NC 1,475
Davidson Force Bill Ingram Davidson, NC 850
Roberson RAMblers U9 Aaron AuBuchon Asheville, NC 750
The Fury Philip Blum Charlotte, NC 725
West Raleigh 9u Blue Rick Haire Raleigh, NC 675
East Rowan 9U Mark Walters Rockwell, NC 400
Weddington Blue Ice Bob Bestwick Weddington , NC 375
Triangle Prospects James Wisler Raleigh, NC 300
GSB 9U Michael Windham Gastonia, NC 0
West Raleigh 9u Blue All Stars Rick Haire Raleigh, NC 0
Winterville All-Stars Stuart Sugg Winterville, NC 0




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