Friday, May 04, 2007

Meet the Warriors

Here they are in a typical batting order, with my preferred positions. Interesting the number of home schoolers on the team…

COREY (CF, C, 1B)…batted leadoff last spring. I think football has improved his baseball…he goes at it aggressively and full speed, which gives him a leg up on most teammates and competitors. That’s what makes him a good centerfielder, though he catches and can play any infield position. He struggles throwing strikes, or he would pitch more. Parents work at Lockheed and went to Tech, dad takes great pictures at the games.

WILL (SS, P, C)…bats second to get him up to the plate as often as possible, with 14 teammates. I try to play him as much as possible at shortstop to give him experience. Other coaches always have him pitching or catching, but that takes away from the defense…and this way others get to pitch and catch. Home-schooled.

CLAY (1B, C, P, SS)…has also improved since I last got to see him play, and football has made him aggressive. His pitching has improved…he is best at relieving. Clay hits the ball hard and runs full speed. A good catcher who can also play first, third, or short. His dad is the assistant coach…Will’s longtime head coach. Home-schooled, at least in the past.

ANDREW (3B, C)…worked his way up the order by being productive. He hits the ball hard...even on bad pitches. A smart but slow baserunner, if he reaches base I often invoke the “pinch-runner for the catcher” rule…changing my plans so he will catch the next inning. He struggled at first early in the season, but I was pleased when he flourished at third. Dad keeps score for me, mom teaches at Living Science. Home-schooled.

JAKE (3B, CF)…fastest on the team, but doesn’t slide or want to bat higher in the order. He’s always smiling and hustling, and enjoys playing second and outfield, “where I can run.” He plays third because of his stronger arm and our surplus of second-baseman. Jake beats out infield grounders and takes bases two at a time. Dad helps coach and was Matthew’s coach last spring.

DAVID (P, C, SS)…the funny, tall, long-legged, big-footed younger brother of Willie, son of Campbell JV coach Henry, who helps when he can. David is a fine pitcher and knows the game well, backing up when he’s supposed to, etc. Besides Will, the only pitcher I’d bring in to pitch out of a mid-inning jam. A very able catcher and serviceable shortstop who puts the ball in play most of the time. Home-schooled.

NICK (P, 3B, 1B, CF)…the team lefty. Hasn’t played enough to do things without thinking, but he has a pretty swing and isn’t afraid. He gets on base and scores runs, and has done well at first, third, and outfield. He throws a hard, tailing pitch and was just starting to shine on the mound when he came down with a sore arm.

CURTIS (CF, SS, 3B, 1B, P)…has played with Will for years and is another fearless player, but quiet. “Curty” is one of the best fielders on the team, playing mainly center and short, and some first and third. He is known for his patented diving catches in the outfield, which puts a pleased look on his face. He was the main pitcher last fall, but has struggled with his control this year. Aggressive at the plate, Curtis has had several clutch RBI hits this spring.

RUSSELL (2B, 1B, OF)…older, smaller, and scrappy, often away performing his Boy Scout leadership duties. He can play all nine positions…when I needed a reliable first-baseman who would catch the ball, I thought ‘why not Russell?’ and he filled the bill. Henry batted him leadoff last fall, and lately Russell has worked hard to improve his hitting. He begs me to pitch, but was hit hard in his two outings. Home-schooled.

MICHAEL (2B, 3B, OF)…comes from a baseball family. His dad coaches his younger brother and is a big help to me, so Michael is usually found at the field. Possessor of the team’s best knuckleball, I let him pitch for what I later learned was his first time ever. He threw strikes and did well. He also knows what to do with the bat, and has had some big hits, including a few doubles. Not the fastest runner, Michael can play second and third, in addition to outfield.

JOEY (RF)…has already taken classes at Georgia Tech. Though not the best athlete, he always knows what to do. A bad ball hitter, when he connects, look out. He has hit several balls over the centerfielder’s head. His dad played a lot of baseball and is a big help at practice and coaching bases.

THOMAS (RF, 2B)…the new kid, but has fit in well. I’m told he’s never played baseball before, but he has made some plays and gotten some hits, due to his athletism…despite a tricky knee. He has come through at second base, and has almost thrown out some runners at first from right field. Has pitched in inter-squad games, but he figures he’s not quite ready for a game.

JOSIAH (P, 1B, OF)…only pitched once last fall and has a mechanical delivery, but this spring has had several good outings. When he pitches we can put our best fielders behind him, even with six on the bench. Though not the best hitter, Josiah has improved. His on base percentage is high due to his good eye, and though not fast, he is very comfortable, attentive, and knowledgeable baserunner. He likes to play first, which is a good fit, but can also play third. His attention to detail and black & white personality would serve him well as an accountant. His dad has been a missionary, and is a big help in the dugout and coaching bases. Home-schooled, at least in the past.

CHRISTIAN (2B, 1B, LF, 3B)…has the best attitude, but is sometimes crushed when things don’t work out. I’ll put him at any of the nine positions. He hasn’t has his turn pitching yet, but should get the chance before the season ends. Henry batted him second last fall and put him in prime fielding positions at a young age, but Christian wasn’t afraid to try. His hitting should improve as he grows.

JOHN FULTON (2B, CF)…also comes from a baseball family…his dad coaches and has three sisters playing. His small stature means nothing, as he is aggressive at the plate (I wish he would lay off the pitches at his eyes, and his OBP would be higher). I will play him in center and second. But his pitches come in slow and inviting, and batters gear up and swing hard…while gravity overtakes the ball. He went four innings in one game.

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