Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rags to Riches....All Star Baseball

Preston pretty much likes every sport he plays, but he genuinely loves baseball.  So when the option to play an extended season through the all stars program was presented to him - he jumped all over it.  Even though spring baseball was still in the throws of it (literally), they held all star tryouts in March.  Preston made the Homewood Red team (AAA team), and was excited to play with some awesome kids!

They started off just practicing on Sunday afternoons, but when spring ball ended, it ramped up quickly.  Preston was either playing a game, or practicing baseball every night (except when it rained....which was quite often this season).  He played pitcher, and ran all over that field backing up other in-fielders.  When they rotated positions, he played right field.  Both were new positions to him, but he quickly learned them and added a lot of value over the season.

Though the team had a lot of wonderful players (and parents), they were all in-fielders during regular season.  They could all hit the ball, and understood the game, but catching pop-flies in the outfield challenged them all.  Sadly they had some tough competition, and lost every game.  It wasn't like they got run ruled every game, they were often close.  They would start off winning, but after an hour, they would tire out (the all star season plays 90 minute games, or 6 innings versus 60 minute games during regular season).

always smiling
As the season came to a conclusion, they entered into a double elimination tournament against the other five teams in their division.  We didn't know what to expect, but they surprised us all.  They won their first game against Spain Park, by a lot!  It was their first win all season, and a great one!  So we decided that they had to wear their "lucky" red jerseys, and we weren't allowed to wash them.  In fact most boys, including Pres, decided that it would be best if they didn't even shower. 

The following night the boys played Hoover.  They started off winning by a big amount, but Hoover came back at the end.  Fortunately, the boys stayed strong and defensively held them and ultimately won the game!  It had to be the jerseys, right?!  So once again, no washing of the jerseys.  We didn't let Preston get by without showering again though.

Day 3, they were set to play Vestavia Rebels (the toughest team in the league who is undefeated for the past two years), however after warming up and being ready to WIN - the game was rained out.  This wasn't new for these boys, as they have had quite a few games rained out, or postponed due to rain.

However, these boys got up and came back on Friday night for the big game.  They gave it their best shot, but they couldn't pull it off.  But there weren't tears and bad attitudes, because these boys knew they had another shot the following day.  So like every day that week, Preston rested up and was ready to give it his best shot on Saturday.
They showed up at 10am, warmed up and realized that they had to play Hoover again (the winner of the 9am game).  They were wearing their navy jerseys and were pumped up!  They started off strong, and played very well.  They won, which put them up against their toughest competitors again...the Vestavia Rebels.
the sweet team between games on Saturday

Parents went to buy food, water and ice and they rested.  They gave it their best shot at 1pm.   They played well initially, but they started to show signs of fatigue, and it was HOT!  Sadly they couldn't pull it off like they had wanted.  However, when they were lined up for the awards ceremony, there was nothing but excitement and joy in their eyes when they were each handed their ring for earning 2nd place in the tournament!  This isn't a cracker jack ring either, this is a real live superbowl-looking ring that is actually heavy and has stones (they don't care if they aren't real).  This was a first for them, and they all wore them proudly!

The boys before they knew they were receiving rings.
Proud Daddy, who was there early for most practices, played catch in the backyard, and helped him with batting.
these smiles prove that they were proud of themselves and happy with their new loot
What a fun way to wrap up baseball!  Thank to Preston's coaches, Charles Perlis (head), Greg Brockwell, Scott Myers and Jonathan Winzeler (all assistants)....they did a great job!

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