Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: That’s all she wrote for this season of Little League baseball. Not much changed from my last entry, as it continued to be a frustrating season for Brian and his team. The Diamondbacks ended the season 5-14, good for eight in the 10 team league. The D-backs also bowed out in the first game of the playoffs, so a very different end to the season as Brian was hoisting a championship trophy at the end of June last year.
The old saying is, that you can always learn more by losing, and if that’s the case then that is definitely the silver lining for this season. Life parallels baseball so much, and there are so many lessons to be learned. Sometimes you work hard and get a hit or make a solid play. Sometimes you miss one, and you have to put it behind you and work a little harder on the next one. Life, as in baseball isn’t always fair. You don’t always get what you earn, and sometimes you even get called out on a strike below the knees.
That being said, he still had a very good season, and I’m very proud of the way he played. He still hit over .500, which is impressive even off of a hitting machine. He improved on his catching and fielding, but we still need to work on throwing mechanics. Brian showed a better overall understanding of the game, where the play was heading and where to throw the ball if it came to him. At times during the season, Brian also showed signs of being a good leader on the team, cheering on his teammates and keeping a positive attitude, and I’m very proud of him for that. I really think he enjoys the game, too, as every day he asks if we can play catch or play one of our ‘Brianball’ games out in the yard. Fall ball starts up here the end of August and he’s looking forward to that, but I think he’s happy this small chapter of his baseball career has come to an end.
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Well, we’re almost a month into the season, and the North Oldham Little League season for the Diamondbacks isn’t going as planned. After starting out 2-0, the D-backs rattled off seven straight losses before breaking the slump on Saturday afternoon. Then they lost on a walk off in extra innings the next night. Brian went through a little slump of his own, although not very long. Being buried at the bottom of the lineup, he had a couple of game where he was 0-1 (yes, three out of four games during the stretch he only had one at bat). But we tweaked some things, and he’s back to being one of the best hitters on the team. From my calculation, he’s now hitting .647 this season. With all honesty, though, I think I missed a game in there somewhere, with all of the cancellations and re-scheduled games. Speaking of which…
If you’re wondering why we haven’t been to any more college or minor league games, the simple answer is that little league has become all-consuming. It’s not really the game schedule, but the re-scheduling that’s been hindering our plans to see other games. Even when we get a nice day on the weekend, more than likely the boys will be playing a make-up game due to all the rain we’ve had the last four weeks. Don’t get me wrong, though, there’s no place I’d rather be than watching Brian play, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to chill and watch a Bats game, or something. We do have tickets for this Sunday, but…. 90% chance of rain…
Back to Brian’s season. He’s been stuck in the outfield most of the time, which he doesn’t like, but has made the best of it when he gets his chances in the infield. He’s played some pitcher, second base, and his favorite: first base. He did well, and caught everything that was thrown to him, but only got to play there one inning so far this season. He’s keeping his chin up, though, and I’m teaching him to only worry about the things he can control, and do his best wherever the coach puts him. He had the chance to catch a couple of innings, though, but didn’t end up liking it. The mask didn’t fit well, and he took a couple of pitches in the foot. Maybe I can talk him into being catcher again later on in fall ball. He still has half a season left, and as long as he keeps doing his best and having fun, we’ll call it a win!
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: How nice is this, that Brian is playing outside in nice weather? In April! Brian’s back in Rookie ball this season, this time suiting up for the Diamondbacks, and ready to pursue another championship. The North Oldham Little League does a great job promoting itself, and has a pancake breakfast and parade to kick off the season. Unfortunately, do to work, we were unable to make this early morning festivities, but he’s made the two out of the three games so far (Tuesday night we had tickets to WWE Smackdown Live that we bought well in advance).
The first game of the season the D-backs won 13-4. Brian went 2-3 with an RBI at the dish. In the field, he made some nice plays and had some good catches to pitch in defensively. In the second game, the D-backs held on to win 6-5. Brian scored the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning on his second hit of the night. He was 2-2 with two ribeye steaks. He didn’t get anything hit to him in the field, so he was actually mad after the game. A little ice cream cheered him up, though. I’ll probably kick out a mid-season report in a few weeks!
Walsh Park-La Grange, KY: It seems as it just started, but Brian’s fall ball league has come to an end. I’m really happy that he chose to keep playing, and I think he had a good time. Honestly, I really didn’t pay too much attention to his team’s record, although I’m pretty sure they won more than they lost, and there are no playoffs. He got a chance to play some other positions, also, finding he likes to play some infield. He still needs to work on his throwing mechanics a little, but he’s fielding pretty good. Brian had a solid fall season at the dish, also. He hit well over .500, going 3-3 in two consecutive games. After that second one, he was given the game ball by his coach as player of the game. He had some good coaching this fall, as well, as they stayed very positive and stressed fun and learning above all else. He’s excited to play next year, and spring can’t come soon enough.
Walsh 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:
The 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 us something to look forward to in a couple of months.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Walsh 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.
I 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.
Lake Superior State University-Sault Ste. Marie, MI: Last week Brian participated in his last clinic hosted by the Lake Superior State Lakers softball team. Pictured above, is him acting silly with two of his favorite players. They are always really nice to him, and were sad to hear that he’s moving away. Brian had a good time running through the basic drills and hitting off of the tee. He tired out a bit in the second hour of the clinic, though. I’ve always appreciated the clinics and camps that the Lady Lakers have made available to both the girls and boys throughout the years. Lily started attending when she was young, with her brother following suit. I’m sure we’ll take advantage of all the camps down in Kentucky with all of the colleges and pro teams in the area. This has also been an fairly easy winter up here, so we’re really hoping the Lakers are able to play their first home game in four years, so we can see them one last time.
Another Little League baseball season has come and gone, and every year it just seems to go by quicker and quicker. As you can see by the photo of Brian and I up top, we’re not all that happy that the season has come to an end. Brian can be a handful, but he did great this season and learned a lot. All the Angels had fun this season, too, and I really hope I get a chance to coach them again at the next level if we’re still in this area. Here’s some pics of Brian from our last game of the season against the Yankees:
After the season ended, the Sault Area Little League held its annual ‘fun night’. The kids were treated with hot dogs, chips, pop, and cake. They also had a chance to play on the playground and take part in some activities. Brian really liked the slip and slide into the bases, and batting practice with the water balloons. Good stuff, and a fun way to end the season. I coached some really good kids this year, and will miss them all.
Here’s a water balloon video:
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Even though we haven’t been to as many games this season as we’ve liked, it doesn’t mean that baseball is not a big part of our lives. Between the both boys in Little League, I’m up at the ball fields five nights a week. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being able to coach my kids in baseball is one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever done. I’m very happy to be spending this time with them, and helping them learn the great sport of baseball. Lily isn’t playing softball anymore, but she does help me coach Brian’s tee-ball team. She’s been there, and knows how I do things by now, and I enjoy being able to spend that time with her, also. This is also the 75th anniversary of Little League Baseball, and it’s already turning out to be a special year. The biggest change the kids are enjoying this year are the team names instead of sponsor names. Trevor, especially, is getting a kick out of this!
Trevor is playing for the CUBS: