We Are the Champions!!!

27743469782_7a51870636_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: I honestly don’t know where to start!  First off, I guess we can congratulate the Mariners on winning the North Oldham Little League Rookie Division championship!  It was not an easy road, and there were many good teams in this league.  The Mariners finished third in their division and received a first round bye.  They faced the Indians in the quarter-finals, and won by the score of 4-2, with Brian getting the game-winning RBI.  In the semi-finals, they went against the Royals, a team they haven’t beat all year.  The Mariners won a tough battle, however, winning 6-4 on a hot 90 degree day at noon, to head to the championship.  The Mariners were down 5-0 in the first, then battled back for the win.  Their opponent in the final game was the Padres, the team that won the division in the regular season.  This time it was the Mariners who jumped out to a lead, 3-0 in the first, then added a pair in the middle innings.  The Padres stormed back in the fifth, scoring four runs, but the M’s held them off in the sixth for a 5-4 championship victory!  Here are a couple of shots of Brian in the final:

27712353932_2339a95ef0_b27769216971_0161ac08dd_zThe championship aside, though, I still believe this team was the best fit for Brian.  The coaches never preached winning, but focused on having the kids be positive, work hard, and have fun playing the game of baseball.  From there, the winning just sort of took care of itself.  I really think Brian learned more about being part of a team and earning something you’ve worked hard for, as much as he did about the game of baseball.  Their coach told the boys to enjoy this, as it may be the only championship they ever win, and he could be right about that.  My last year in Little League was the one and only time I’ve seen glory in all my years of playing. I’m glad he’s tasted victory, but if he keeps on playing and loving this game, it’s sure to break his heart at some point.  But that’s something I’ll start preparing for next year.  This big win sparked him to want to play Fall Ball and to keep working hard at the sport, so that gives up something to look forward to in a couple of months.

It's all about the hardware!
It’s all about the hardware!
27712346392_eb19a555e4_z27201524584_ed1bf97dcc_z27535292550_440a201aed_zHere’s a video of the final out!  You can see Brian charging in from the outfield ready to celebrate!

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Playing on Blue Grass

26868758785_61a5647848_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: Brian has had no problem fitting into our new environment here in Kentucky.  In fact, he suited up for the Mariners and played his first game within the first few days.  I was honestly hesitant on whether to sign him up or not, knowing he wouldn’t have any practices, and playing in a more competitive league than he’s used to.  Brian put all my concerns to rest after his first game, however.  He went 1-2 at the plate, and played well.  More than anything, his smile after the game, and the simple statement “I had fun” was all I needed to hear.  Yeah, he may be a step behind some of the other players, but at the same time he is contributing to his team, and is a step ahead of others.

26845788706_6d909c0849_z26606930580_b49c9c710a_zI also have to say that I’m very impressed with the North Oldham Little League organization, and the coaches involved.  The kids play in a beautiful facility at Walsh Park as well.  The coaches don’t baby the kids, but treat them like young men, and at the same time stressing for them to relax and have fun.  I honestly think that he’s made more friends on the field than he has at his new school, also.  Overall, this has been a great move for us, especially from a baseball perspective.  They’ve had a couple of rainouts, but look to be making some games up this weekend and early in the week.  I’ll post more updates as his season progresses.

26786512022_cf7e645f3a_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Little Lakers Clinic #2

25176347166_55cb05b46a_zLake Superior State University-Sault Ste Marie, MI:  This week Brian participated in the second of three clinics the Lake Superior State softball team hosted.  Brian was the only boy in the clinic again, but the players always have fun with him.  They started out taking some ground balls, and then worked on some fly balls.  The kids always love the obstacle courses, too. They like to compete with each other and it’s good that they get to run around since they can’t play outside in the weather up here.   Then they played some other games that worked on their speed and agility before hitting the cage.

25109433361_71f13075a2_zAs usual, Brian is a boss in the batting cage. He hit well, but is his own worse critic. Getting him to relax and have fun is the real challenge, as he feels he should be pounding the ball every pitch.  I didn’t help that we had a busy weekend with little sleep, so that made him a little grumpy as well. The joys of being a parent, I guess.   The kids ended the clinic with more games, and Brian had the chance to don his tools of ignorance for a little while to take some pitches.  The Lady Lakers will be hosting one more clinic next month.

24572013284_db01ee4bbc_zHere’s a video of Brian in the cage:

 

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Little Lakers Clinic #1

24507696902_c60b2f9ec7_zLake Superior State University-Sault Ste. Marie, MI: This week Brian was lucky enough to take part in a clinic hosted by the Lake Superior State softball team. Since we don’t have a baseball team up here, the girls are gracious enough to invite the boys to join in, and get taught all aspects of the game.  He had a chance to show off his batting skills in the cage, and really stroked the ball well. He also was given good instruction on his throwing and catching mechanics, which is something he needed. Brian was also given the chance to break in his new catchers gear that he got for his birthday.  He had a lot of fun and was able to learn some new techniques to help out his game.  The players area always really nice to him and he loves spending time with his ‘friends’. The Lakers will be having two more clinics in both February and March that he plans to attend.

23989243423_7387122d49_z24599184456_2742cf2ccf_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Little League Day at LSSU

21676960935_82470be24c_zLocey Field-Sault Ste. Marie, MI: On Wednesday night, the Lake Superior State Lakers softball team hosted Little League Day. The team invited the kids to watch one of their practices, and they were able to hang out in the dugout with the girls. After practice, the Lakers brought the kids onto the field for some fun and games. Brian did great in the throwing and running the bases competition. Then they played some catch, and Brian did some hitting in the cage with his favorite player. This was a really nice thing for the Laker Softball team to do for the Little Leaguers, I just wish that more kids would have showed up to participate.

21489039650_35c755751e_z21476583590_f01c8076d9_zAfter the work on the field was done, we all headed to Buffalo Wild Wings. The Lakers were giving out team posters that all the girls signed for the kids. Brian was really happy that the Laker mascot Seamore the Seaduck showed up to entertain his fans, also. We ate well, and the girls are always to nice to Brian and all of the other kids that showed up. It was a nice way to officially end our season, and for the Lakers to begin theirs.

 

Brian being silly with Seamore!
Brian being silly with Seamore!

21638439886_7607fa37f1_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Brian learns from Lugnuts

 Cooley Law School Stadium-Lansing, MI:  Over the weekend the kids and I traveled way down state so Brian could participate in the Lugnuts on-field baseball seminar. He had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the pros.

 He started out with some outfield drills. He took some fly balls, grounders, and learned to play the ball off of the wall.

 Brian’s group then moved to the bullpen for some pitching practice. His age group up here uses a pitching machine, so this was his first experience on the mound.

 After his pitching stint, his group moved to the infield for some work. Lugnuts player Tom Robson was running things there, and gave the kids some good instruction. Brian did a great job, and this is the best I’ve seen him field ground balls all season.

 Brian is a runner, so it was no surprise he enjoyed the base running aspect of the seminar so much. He learned some things we haven’t touched on at his level yet, like leading off and stealing. The last station was hitting, the best aspect of his game. Unfortunately, time ran out, and he didn’t get a chance to hit. He was disappointed, so I threw a few to him in the outfield before we left so he could show off a bit. He had one of the Lugnuts sign his ball and got his picture taken, also.

 After the seminar the kids were able to play on the park and bouncy house stuff, so all was good. This was a great experience for Brian, as he learned a lot and had fun doing it. I hope I can get him into more things like this in the future. I also apologize for this post, as it was done entirely on my iPhone since my computer is jacked.

 Here is a video of the outfield station:

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Little League Season Ends

20277168115_1f81c25394_zEvery year it seems like the baseball season just flies by, and 2015 was no exception. I feel blessed and honored that I had the opportunity to coach the Rookie Division Cubs this season. They are a great bunch of kids, and it’s always special to be able to spend time coaching your own son or daughter. I’m really proud of Brian this season, as he adjusted well from tee ball to hitting off of the machine, especially since it tosses the ball all over the place. He made some nice plays in the field, and learned about being a good teammate. I saw a lot of growth in our other players, also, and that’s always very satisfying. As long as the kids learned the game and had fun to the point of wanting to play again next season, then I’ll call this one a success. We ended the season on a positive note also, as the team came back to beat the Yankees 4-3 in the final inning. I really give the Sault Area Little League credit, too, as we’re continuing clinics even after the official season is over. Sometimes Brian prefers just working one-on-one with me, so we end up doing that, also. I’m still hoping we’ll be relocated by next season someplace warmer so we can get going sooner in the year, but if not we’ll make do where we’re at.

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Brian busy behind the plate
Brian busy behind the plate

19524572056_22fde45f1a_zVideo of our sliding drill from the last practice:


Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball