After the Boys of Summer have gone....

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.


2009 brought with it many new challenges. As with most things, as the years go by they get bigger, and that is just what the field did, but not all of our boys. In years past, we always dominated the competition with our abilities, and size was not such a big deal. Teenagers grow at such different rates that we had boys that were twice the size of some of the others. Our team was relatively small by comparison to a lot of the other teams.
We started the season on a hard note, we lost our first game of a tournament and didn't even make it to Championship day.
We would soon put that behind us and with the help from some of our Nevada Wildcat friends, we would win a tournament in early April. Who knew that it would be the only one for the year? Nevertheless, our boys kept on going.
We took a night off to watch the U of U play against San Diego Aztecs. The starting pitcher for SDSU, Steven Strasburg, was the #1 pick in the draft in 2009. Sam thought it was important for the boys to see how dominating he was and make them think what they need to do to get to the next level.
We had a pretty up and down season as a whole. Physical and mental toughness was tested. We didn't always come out on top. We played in many tournaments, including a fun, but disappointing trip to Las Vegas.
Our final tournament of the year was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We brought along some extra boys to help with the pitching rotation, but even that didn't help us much. We had been through a long, hard season that everyone was ready to put behind us. We struggled to keep any momentum going in the right direction and couldn't keep up with the GIGANTIC teams.
There still is the tubing the river that was tons of fun. And the fishing, dinners together, movies, mini golf. Who could forget how hot it was, with way too many people sharing small spaces?
As the season turned out, we had a 36-17 record (68% winning percentage) with only 1 Championship.

All the little details

We had a fairly good season of baseball. Here are some of the many things we did and accomplished this year. After March Madness, the regular season started. We played one night each week along with a double header on Saturday. April had the Pizza Factory tournament. It was bitter cold, and since the boys hadn't really gotten to play together as a full team yet, so were the boys. We went 3-1, but still went to the playoffs. Those darned Dingers beat us in the semi's, so no championship this time. The first of May we went to the Triple Crown State tournament. Again we came up short in the semi's. Next up was the Memorial Day tournament. As the case has been all season, the weather got the better of us being able to finish this one on time. We did finish it up in mid June with a Championship. Beating the Dirt Dogs 7-6, the Bangers 15-0 and finally (they aren't going to beat us this time) we beat the Dingers 10-7 for the big win. The first weekend of June we headed once again to Denver for a tournament. The only thing fun or good about Denver was the Rockies game, the parade of teams, and sitting in seats we weren't supposed to be in. The weekend before Cooperstown, we had a family fun get away to Yuba lake. The boys tubed, water skied, jet skied, swam and fished. We all camped out over night and ate s'mores. In mid July (after Cooperstown) we hosted and won our first Marshalls tournament. The last tournament for the year was the tournament of Champions. This is invitation only, by winning a tournament throughout the season. We finished the season on a not so great note. We didn't even make it to championship day, which has never happened before. I think the long season and Cooperstown had finally caught up with the boys, and they just had nothing more to give. For the season, we played 67 games, going 49-18. That is a winning % of 73%. Not too bad when all is said and done. Thank You to the Marshall Gates foundation for helping to make this a successful season. See you all next year!

Cooperstown or Bust!!

July started off with a bang.. We all gathered our gear and set off for New York.
Our first day there, we got on the subway and headed down to the Statue of Liberty. From there we visited ground zero, saw the Empire State Building, ate at the Hard Rock Cafe in Time Square, and then headed up to Yankee Stadium for the Yankees-Red Sox game.

The next day it was off to Cooperstown. Many hours, a long detour at Wal-Mart, and not so great GPS directions later we arrived Friday night. Now the coaches and boys were on their own in the barracks of Dreams Park.
Saturday, the official fun began. All the skills competitions and opening ceremony were held.

On Sunday it was down to the business of baseball. We beat the Carolina Riptide 8-6, but lost to the Arkansas Reds 18-1. Monday we started the day by going to the Hall of Fame museum followed by beating the Cambridge Cubs 13-1, and the Grassland Grizzlies 9-4. Tuesday we beat the Boys of Baseball 11-3, and the New Richmond Stingers 9-6. That night we had a fun dinner outing at the Ladies house. Wednesday we beat the Roselle Renegades 12-2. Now it was time for the tournament brackets to be played. We ranked #22 out of 98 teams going in. We first faced the #43 seed Norwin Knights. They gave us all we could handle, but we came away with the win 5-4. Next up was the #11 seed, Express Baseball. It was a tight game the whole way, a defensive duel. Somehow we just did all the little things right and advanced to the sweet 16 with a 4-3 win. It was the teams goal to play on Championship day, and now it was going to happen. Thursday morning we had to play the #6 seed, Bulldogs Baseball. We kept it close, and were even tied 4-4 in the 4th, but they had just a little more fire power than we did and beat us 10-5. Our team had a record of 8-2 and tied for 9th place for the whole tournament.
All the boys and the coaches had a great time playing cards at night, trading pins with the other teams, pillow baseball and who could forget the "white tornadoes" every day.

2008...The new Utah Marshalls

So lets start out first with the major change for our team...a name change. We are now the Utah Marshalls. We are sponsored by a local charitable foundation named in memory of young man named Marshall who died of a heart problem. The foundation was started to promote youth baseball and to keep his memory alive for his favorite sport. We are lucky to have a great organization to help our team attain many goals.
Now on to baseball. We lost one player at the end of last season, but have added a very good player to take his place. We started the season by going down to the annual March Madness tournament in St. George. Due to the fact that Easter was also this same weekend, we had 3 boys missing to play in a basketball tournament in Vegas. Lucky for us, our coaches found some "adequate" replacements. We picked up 1 local boy and 2-3 other boys that made the trip up from Vegas. Although all our regular boys played a great tournament, it was a great help to have these extra boys join our team. We made it through pool play with a 3-1 record, great pitching and defense and lots of homeruns. Although we had that loss, we were already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, and went in as an 8 seed. Our hitting and pitching really paid off through the playoffs and led us to our first championship of the season, beating the Idaho Diamondbacks 11-1. Congrats boys on a job well done and thank you to those boys who filled our team.

2007... Big League Dreams

This year was a difficult year for our boys. They only played in a Saturday league, which was nice to not have so many games, but it really showed in their game time performance. They came close in so many tournaments to make it to the championship game, but just fell short. 3rd or 4th was no consolation to these boys. Finally their luck would turn in the Fire Cracker, the one tournament they had never won. They somehow pulled out a big win in the final innings of pool play just to get to the playoffs. In the playoffs they beat the Dingers, the Dirt Dogs and in the championship they beat ReMax Rush 9-6. With one of their pitchers hurt and out of innings, they had some boys really step up and help get them their only Championship of the year.
Although the year was tough, the boys did have some great memories that came along the way. In June they went to Denver for a tournament. Some boys got to enjoy their first major league baseball game, Rockies beat the Astros in a bottom of the ninth come from behind win. They also got to go to Water World and just have a good time.
In July, we all headed to Chino, California for the final tournament of the year. The ballparks were mini replicas of some of the Major League fields. It was a fun tournament, even if the umps didn't know a strike from a ball or if runners were safe or out at any freakin' base. All the boys had fun going to Universal Studios, Disneyland, the beach, and of course all the time we spent together as a team family just hanging out at the pool. We didn't come away with a championship(no thanks to great officiating), but we did come away with fun memories. We ended the season with a 36-14-1 record.

2006...Steamboat Springs

Our season got off to an ominous start. We had 1 of our players leave the team and then just days before our first tournament of the year, another got a broken arm. We had to pick up 2 kids to fill their spots, but only for that tournament. I guess our start wasn't so bad, we did beat the Tuff Country Predators to win the March Madness tournament. This would be the first year that we didn't play city league, instead we played in a weekday and a Saturday superleague. Boy did we play a lot of games.
Being short of players we added 2 new player in April and in May. This gave us 11 boys, and that was a good thing since arm #2 was broken (by the same boy). We went on to win the Memorial Day tournament against, you guessed it, the Idaho Falls Mariners.
Next up for us was the Triple Crown qualifier in Herriman. We had to take first or second place in order to get an invitation to the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat. We made it to the championship game, but lost to the Bangers. Still we knew we were on our way to Steamboat Springs. Our last local tournament before Steamboat, was the Heber Valley Firecracker. After a long rain delay, we took 2nd place.

Off we went to Steamboat Springs, with nothing but stars in our eyes. As it would turn out, we ended up with the #1 seed after pool play. We shocked a whole lot of teams, that this tiny little team from Utah could play some serious ball. It isn't the size of the player that matters, it is the size of his heart. Our boys showed a lot of heart during this tournament, but in the end came out in 9th place. It was a successful trip for baseball, but a great trip for fun with the team family. We tubed the river, jumped off rocks and had hours of fun at the pool and in Sam's huge hotel townhouse/room. I think the boys will always remember this trip, not just for the baseball. And how can anyone forget "the bucket o chicken." Oh yeah, I forgot to mention we ended the season ranked #1 in the nation.

2005 Superleague and City League All-Stars

We decided that we should all play superleague together this year as well as city league. During the week we all played on different teams, but on Saturdays and for special tournaments we were together. We won the Memorial Day tournament against the Idaho Falls Mariners. It was originally rained out, so we had to make it up later in the season.
The first time we played the Mariners was during the Idaho Falls tournament, they had never lost, and our boys surprised them with a late rally to win and we would go on to win the tournament. This will turn into a very big rival for us, but we all respect each other and it is so much fun to play them.
This is our second city league state championship. We beat the Southern Utah Reds 10-0.(Not quite the nail biter from the year before) This was the lead in to the 9 year old minors Pacific Southwest regionals. It was being held at our own ballpark in South Jordan. We had everything going for us, we just needed one last win against Scotsdale, Az. to make it to the Championship game. Well, we fell just short that night,and lost. We ended up taking 3rd place, not quite the end to the season we had hoped for.

The Beginning of Something Great July, 2004

So this is where it all began for most of the boys on our team. Pee-Wee State Champs, 2004. We won a thriller of a game 1-0 vs. SouthEast Valley Allstars. We had to go extra innings, since we were tied 0-0 at the end of 6. Being the visiting team we had to hold them to get the win. As coach Sam said "the baseball gods were on our side that night to come out of a bases loaded no outs situation and win." Well that is just the beginning of what is to come for these boys.