Tired of seeing the same ol' photos of my kid playing baseball? Uh...tough?
Today, he tried out for the "club team" in his division of the PONY baseball league. This year, the team is called the Mavericks. Tryouts were kind of a big deal. Daddy and Grandpa had made a point of practicing with him for the last couple of weeks since the "evaluations" for the Mustang 1 division. Lots of focus on catching fly balls and grounders...his two weakest areas at the evals.Smunch had a basketball game this morning. Basketball is not really his sport. The game got him all wound up, even though he touched the ball just once the whole time. Then he had to watch Mam's game. We had a couple of hours before the tryouts started, so we tried to make him chill out. But he was still kinda wired. It took forever for him to get dressed for baseball. I yelled and threatened to be really angry if he blew the tryouts because he didn't focus and do his best. And then we casually walked to the tryout venue.We got there right as the kids were going out to warm up. There was a parent meeting where it was impressed on all of us that the club team is a big committment and if we want to do a lot of traveling or play other sports in the spring, we'd best be on our way. Of course, I'd already had these discussions with Smunch. Smunch was committed and now, we may be too...if he makes the team.
The boys were a familiar cast of characters...as are the coaches at this point. He's played with many of the boys in camps, on last year's club team or on the all-star team. The head coach for the team is a guy I really like and have a lot of respect for. I think he's really good with the kids.I hope Smunch makes this team, even if it will be a big pain in the ass on our schedule. The team's first tournament is scheduled for before the baseball season even starts.
When warm-ups were over, catching fly balls was the first order of business. After his performance last time, I was nervous for Smunch. But this time, the fly balls were being launched by one of the coaches, using a bat instead of a pitching machine, so they were less consistent, but not as fast.The coach launched four balls in Smunch's direction and Smunch caught.. Every. Single. One. It was awesome!
He went to the batting cage for the batting evaluation. It was far less stellar. They had him bunt, but he's so short that the balls coming from the pitching machine were really to high for him. He got one decent bunt down out of three. He whiffed the other two. The rest of the hitting wasn't great either. I think he whiffed at least one and probably would have popped out on most of the others. Oh well. No pictures because shooting through two layers of netting is such a waste of time.
They evaluated his base running. He ran well, but had a lousy slide into second. Oh, well.
Next, he was back on the diamond fielding grounders.The idea was to field each ball from between second and third base and throw to first. He fielded four balls cleanly (a marked improvement over two weeks ago) and threw pretty accurately. Then he moved over to first and caught a couple balls from the other kids trying out...their throws weren't so accurate though.
Last order of the day was to play a "scrimmage". It wasn't really a scrimmage. Some of the kids were evaluated on pitching while others were evaluated on batting and fielding, I guess. There wasn't much fielding going on. Smunch did O.K. He made some pretty good moves on fielding, even though he didn't have much hit his direction. He hit the ball one of the other kids pitched to him...even though it was a kind of wimpy hit straight to the first baseman. And he did a pretty passable job of pitching. He's certainly not the strongest pitcher out there, especially as a little guy, but he's pretty accurate.More than two hours after the tryouts started, the boys were done. I believe he did his best, but I don't have a feel for whether he made the team. I'm hoping it's a plus that the coach knows him, but I'm not sure about that either.
By and large, the kids who show up for this tryout are good. There were about 20 of them and no one ever said how many they were planning to have on the team. I figure they might not cut any, or they might cut as many as eight.
I didn't really watch all the other kids. I was too busy watching my own kid.
I know there were a few kids who really stood out for their skills. Smunch wasn't one of them. I know there are some kids who will make the team because their dads are really involved...or their dads have volunteered to coach. Smunch isn't one of those either.
For those who make it, practice starts in a week or so. I guess we'll see...