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Match Report: Little League Minor A – A Leap Forward against St.Kilda

November 24:

One of the greatest frustrations I have with being away from home – apart from missing my family, is the fact that I miss participating each weekend in junior baseball.

It is something that I enjoy tremendously – for a variety of reasons!

This weekend I was fortunate to be back home, and around for a little baseball action.  As circumstances would have it … it was to watch our boys compete against St Kilda, the very first team we played this season.

It was a real joy to be back and see the boys again – and to see Nick, and the way he has settled into the job!

Thanks to technology I am able to keep up to speed with the game via GameChanger – our scoring app, and even by statistics alone the team has improved.

To see it with my own eyes was tremendous!

One of the best parts of the game at this level is discovering hidden talent – and we certainly did this weekend.  An all new battery for the Royals this weekend with Jett Beaton on the mound, and Sydney Stillwell behind the plate.  It was a terrific combination!!  With neither boys having had any experience it was gratifying to see just how well they did.

Sid was sensational behind the plate – particularly after taking a swing to the arm!!  It’s a tough place to play – and catchers can get a little banged up, but Sid showed tonnes of courage and plenty of skill.  His positioning at the plate was exceptional for someone with limited experience and he read the ball very well indeed.

The real revelation was Jett Beaton!  Having not pitched before Jett threw two very strong innings.  He gave up one long hit in the first that banked some runs for St Kilda, but showed a terrific ability to leave it behind and come out the next inning and shut St Kilda out.  He finished the game giving up 5 Hits, 4 runs, with 3 Strikeouts and 1 walk!  Numbers to be very proud of!!  Importantly Jett was offered some advice before the game to assist him with his debut …. and right throughout the game, he continued to listen and work on what he was asked.  He could do no more than that, and received a tremendous result because of it.  As coaches, we can ask nothing more!

Defensively we played really well – Brady at first made some terrific plays to complete a couple of outs, and following a move to the catching position completed a rare put out on a steal of home after a poor throw back to the pitcher.  St Kilda had been sending runners all game – but on this occasion a bullet throw from Robinson, handled perfectly by Brady for the tag stopped their running game in it’s tracks!! It was a great play.

Griffin made a sensational catch in left field, running in to make a difficult catch look easy to help Robinson out to complete the 4th inning.

I must say – defensively we really do look pretty good!  All the boys are thinking about where they need to make their throws, and there was a number of solid ground ball outs that are music to pitcher’s ears!!

Offensively we are still struggling a little against “good” pitchers.  We should never be afraid to swing the bat …. let’s face it, it’s the only way to hit the ball.  And, if that means we strike out – so be it.  What was encouraging in the later innings was the quality of swings I saw.  There has been some great improvement and we really do have some players with terrific looking swings – we just need them to watch the ball, and keep their heads down.

So …. despite the result, a 6-1 loss, we played very well.  They only registered a total of 5 hits for the game – we registered one run on 3 hits.  Not a major difference and certainly by comparison to the previous encounter’s 17-1 loss a major improvement.  And, as the subject says – A Great Leap Forward.

A massive thank you to all the assistance from Nick, he has – and is, doing a brilliant job.  Thank you to Marcus for last week, and to Ella for her scoring efforts.

I look forward to seeing everyone in a fortnight … in the meantime, stay safe and Let’s Go Royals!!

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