It is the end of an era for our boys. This is the last season that they will all play together as one unit. For some it has been 8 summers, and others only just this one. Soon they will all be moving on to hopefully play for their respective high school teams. It is a bitter sweet feeling knowing that each tournament will be the last, each rivalry will come to an end, and all the cheering for each other will become quiet. Not knowing what the road ahead will lead to is a scary thought. The knowledge and fundamentals that our many coaches have taught along the way, will hopefully get our boys to the next level.
It seems our biggest struggle the past couple of years has been continuity. We have some boys leave and pickup some others. On paper our team should kick butt. It was much simpler when the boys were younger, our teams put fear in the eyes of those we would play. Sometimes it felt like we could have played with 5 boys and still could have won the game. Now I am not sure if it is ego or lack of motivation that keeps our boys from the domination.
If how we started the season was any indication of how they could have played the rest of the season, we would have been unstoppable. Our first tournament of the year was March Madness in St.George/Mesquite. We went undefeated, beating the Dixie Indians for the championship 8-1, and allowing only that 1 run on championship day. There were to be no other championships this year. We did go 16-0-1 in league play, but just couldn't pull it together for the league tournament. We had a fun trip to Las Vegas, again. Circumstances out of our control and the lack of sportsmanship by an Arizona team kept us from going to championship day. So what do you do when you have time to spare?...You head to the strip, take a ride on the NY, NY roller coaster and eat breakfast at 1 in the morning.
Our big tournament for the season was to go to Omaha, NE. The tournament coiincides with the college world series. Well, sadly the tournament was a bust and canceled due to too much rain. Of course we were already there, so we made the best of it. Our boys got to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks play, who were the eventual CWS winners. This was the last year that the games would be played in Rosenblatt stadium. It was so hot, and the humidity was almost 100%, which meant as much time in the pool as possible.
Our season was split in 2. The first half was our standard 14u league and tournaments and the second half was a 16u high school summer league. The fact that it was a high school league, some of the boys left for their future teams, which led to another change in boys. We were playing in a division older than our boys, but the challenge was something we had been lacking most of the year. We faired pretty well, and were one game away from making it to the championship. In the end, summer, football and vacations caught up with our team and we just didn't have the depth to compete any longer. Overall for the whole year we played in 61 games, going 48-12-1.
My hope for all the boys and families that have been a part of this group over the years is that we can all remain friends in the stands, and across the white lines. New rivalries will form and friendships as well. Let the lessons we have learned from the game of baseball be a great influence in the rest of our lives.