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One week to go

Opening Day for the Timbergrove Little League is this coming Saturday. We’ll finally get to play on the brand-new fields that were supposed to be ready for last year’s season but were delayed due to drainage problems. We were able to practice there last Tuesday, and with two batting cages we were able to really multitask effectively. Gary worked with pitchers and catchers while rotating everyone through for a few swings while I hit grounders and fly balls for some defensive drills. It was really sweet.

There have been a couple of bumps and bruises in recent practices, thanks to some bad hops and some bad glove-holding technique. The former can’t be avoided, but I’m hoping that the latter will help convince some of the kids who hold their gloves pocket-side up all the time that there’s a better way. We made it through last year without anyone getting really dinged up, and I hope that continues this year.

One of the mothers approached me after Thursday’s practice to ask if we were going to work with the kids on how to slide. That’s something I didn’t do last year, and truth be told it’s not a really high priority this year, not when the basics of throwing and catching are still big needs. Besides, though I’ve not forgotten how to do it, I’m not sure how easily I’ll get back up after demonstrating a slide. Seeing a coach injure himself will surely leave an impression, though it may not be the impression you want to leave.

We definitely have some pitching power this year – four guys who can throw fastballs that will be hard for the average kid to hit. Defense is always a shaky thing for any team, so the more Ks you can rack up, the better your odds will be. The catchers will come from this same group of kids, so we might also be able to control the running game a bit. The rule is that you can’t leave a base until the ball passes the batter. For the most part, if the pitch is caught by the catcher, runners stay put. Our guys will have a chance at making a play at least some of the time when they don’t catch the ball cleanly.

We’ve had good weather karma so far – no practices lost to rain as yet. Fridays are the designated rain days during the season. I hope we don’t need them.

Six days to go. I’m getting excited.

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