Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum-Indianapolis, IN: While driving back to Michigan last weekend, we decided to stop in Indy for fuel. I mean, Fuel. Minor league hockey, like baseball, is a great family friendly affordable fun, so we were definitely lucky to catch this East Coast Hockey League game. It was Racing Night, and Trevor was able to meet Indy car driver Conor Daly before the game.
The Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum is a nice venue to watch a game, and I have to admit, the Fuel entrance was pretty amazing.
The game itself was fun, and they had a few fun things going on between periods. The visiting Cyclones took it to the home team, though. Sam Jardine scored the lone goal for the Fuel in the loss. The number one star of the game was Cincy goalie Andy Iles with 30 saves. This is definitely a fun place to stop, and I’m sure we’ll be using Indy as a resting point many times on our trips between Kentucky and Michigan. Final: Fuel 1, Cyclones 5.
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!
Wuerfel Park–Traverse City, MI: As Trevor’s Little League season came to an early end this summer due to shoulder problems, we weren’t sure if he was going to participate in this baseball academy hosted by the Traverse City Beach Bums. As his x-rays were examined, he was cleared to play, but we also found out that he wasn’t dealing with a sprained shoulder, but a broken clavicle. The bad news is that even though it’s looked to have healed, it also still causes him extreme pain. Trevor is a trooper, though, and gave the camp a go. The gates opened early, and the players came and got the kids promptly at ten a.m. After some stretching and warming up, the kids were separated into five stations. Trevor’s first station was hitting. They did soft-toss with tennis balls in the outfield. He never got under one to get it over the fence, but had a few nice line-drives. His next station was in the outfield, working on pop-ups and fly balls. The Beach Bums really had some fun and unique drills to help the kids adjust to catching a ball on the fly. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of kids this age, so I’m glad they taught them some of these manuevers. The kids’ next stop was the bullpen, for some pitching drills. By this point, Trevor’s shoulder was causing some major discomfort, so he sat this one out. I don’t think he feels like he’s pitching material anyway, as he prefers to be behind the plate. After the pitching portion of the academy was complete, his group headed in for some base-running. They did some good drills that taught them how to run through the bag at first, and round it if the ball got through the infield. The kids really liked sliding on the artificial turf, too. He ended his day doing some infield drills. The Beach Bums did a great job of encouraging the kids, even when they made an error. They reminded them that the pros make mistakes, too, and not to get discouraged.
Overall, this was a very good experience for Trevor. I think he learned a lot and had some fun. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t make it for the second day due to the pain in his shoulder. I really recommend the Beach Bums Baseball Academy, however, for anyone living in the area. There seemed to be kids from all over the northern part of the state attending. I thank the Bums for their work with the kids, I want to personally thank Jason Wuerfel for giving Trevor this opportunity! We will be back next year, and with Brian old enough to join in the fun.
It may be hard to believe, but it’s barely half-way through July and our Little League baseball season has already come to an end. Just when it seems the kids are starting to ‘get it’, and learn the game, the rug gets pulled out from under us. I guess when you live in a northern part of a northern state, the summer sports take a back seat to just about everything else. This is the hand we’ve been dealt, however, and it’s up to us to make the best of it. And make the best of it, we did. I am very lucky to have coached such great kids this season. We had a lot of fun, and I’m hoping that they all continue to play in the future. I really enjoy coaching at this level (tee ball), and like to believe I’m making a positive influence to their first experiences with baseball. Before Trevor sprained his shoulder, I was having fun helping coach his team, too. Sometimes it’s easier just to be an assistant and only worry about teaching the kids baseball. If the x-rays this week prove positive, he should still be able to participate in the Beach Bums Baseball Academy next week. As for Brian, it amazes me just how good this kid can play at times. He had a great season, also, and really enjoys baseball. Sometimes he gets frustrated when the ball isn’t hit to him, but is learning how to share and be a good team-mate. He has good speed, and a good throwing arm, and is starting to get his glove on the ball. When we play by ourselves, we lose the tee and hits live pitching like a boss. So much so, that I signed him up with the Battle Creek Bombers kids club to take batting practice with the team next weekend. In closing, I’ll miss my team and playing with them every week. Even just adding more games or practices on the weekends would help all the kids out, and give me a chance to do what I love to do.
Little League Baseball is in full swing up here in Michigan. The boys are having a great time on the field, and are getting better every time out. Lily decided to take a year off, but is still keeping busy and helps out with Brian’s tee ball team when she can. The weather has been pretty good to us so far this month, too. Brian has been hitting the snot out of the ball off of the tee, and has one of the best arms in the league. Trevor is really working hard, playing smart, and his monster 2-RBI double is probably his highlight so far. Sooo…here are a few gratuitous pics of the boys doing their thing.
It’s that time of year again, up north, for baseball season to begin. As the weather has been brutal this spring, the kids have having indoor clinics for their practices. Once the weather breaks, and decides to shed a little sun and warmth on our lovely peninsula, we’ll be able to practice outside and get some games in. Brian will be participating in T-Ball again this season, as he played at that level in his first year in 2012. He’s very excited, and has been doing well in the clinics. It still amazes me how well he hits the ball. Trevor’s age group is having clinics, too, but he doesn’t really care for those until we get outside. He’s signed up for a day clinic hosted by the MLB Players Alumni next weekend downstate. Look for pics of that event next week! Brian looks pretty tired in his photo, as they have the little guys going first thing at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Sorry I can’t get any action shots, but since I’m helping run the clinics, it’s hard for me to do.
As Brian wrapped up his T-Ball season a week before, Lily and Trevor ended their softball/baseball seasons, too. Lily had a very good year, and did great at the plate. She had many multiple hit games. She liked to play catcher, but did play other positions in the field, too. The coaches get them playing all around to get a feel for everything. The coaches in the Sault Girls Softball league are all from the local high school team, so the kids get a solid and consistent amount of coaching. The league is run by the high school softball coach, and it really does a good job of building the girls skills. Lily had a lot of fun this summer, but because her games were during the day, it was so hot for her. Many times these girls toughed it out in 80-90 degree heat with the sun beating down on them. Lily also helped me coach Brian’s T-Ball team and did an excellent job. She had parents coming up to her and telling her how impressed they were with how she dealt with the younger kids. I am so proud of her, and am convinced there is nothing this girl is not capable of!
Trevor had a lot of fun this season, and for sure wants to play again next year. After taking a year off, he finally got his swing going and had some solid at-bats. He played catcher at the beginning of the season, but took over the third base slot for most of the year. He really likes the hot corner, and made some really good plays over there. I’m really proud of him for all of the work he puts into his playing. He hustles on the field and works very hard in practice. When I have extra time, he’s always up for playing catch or hitting a few baseballs. I really enjoyed being a coach on this team, too. This was a great bunch of kids and I hope they all come back and play next year. You might not believe that you can become attached to some kids after only a few months, but you definitely can. Especially with all of the unique personalities. Looking at the yellow unis, it’s hard not to compare them to the Bad News Bears…