This summer we were again blessed with very good weather, and although we did have one game rained out, the temperatures remained pretty mild compared to previous summers. We did have a challenge with lower numbers in the younger grades, but much appreciation goes to John Olson who recruited more players, so that we had enough to field two tee-ball teams. The 4th-6th grade group also had low numbers, but with the help of some substitute players, we had enough each game night to play the games.
Each year, the focus for all age groups is to become better in the fundamental skills of baseball, while also learning how to play competitively, with good sportsmanship and a positive team attitude. The tee-ball group (1st grade boys and girls) showed great improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. Every player enjoyed some success hitting the ball off of a coach's pitch, rather than having to use the tee at every bat. Those who attended the games also witnessed the teams go from not getting any outs on defense during innings, to getting 3 outs several times, which is a very big achievement for them at this age, as they are still learning to throw with accuracy and catch with consistency. I was very proud of this group for maintaining a positive attitude for all practices and games, and giving their best effort as they learned to play the game better. I hope to see them all out for little league again next summer.
The Pee-Wee group (2nd-3rd grade, boys and girls) had very good numbers this year, and they showed from game 1 that they were much improved from last year. This group played pretty good defense each game, with teams usually getting at least one out each inning before the other team reached the inning run-limit. They have a good knowledge of how to get outs in different situations, and most of them are very competitive, so there was always pretty good hustle on the field. The players all had good success hitting the ball and running the bases. This group is very fun to work with, and I enjoyed working with them again this season. I look forward to seeing them again next summer.
Reinbeck Little League: Tee-Ball Teams 1st graders:
Back Row L-R: Coach Tscherter, Braelynn Morgan, Jase Theesfeld, Xandra Anderson, Max Anderson, Xander Young and Delaney Petersen.
Front Row L-R: Logan Stice, Isaac Clark, Tavia Olson, Jada Blohm and Joshua Castle.
Not Pictured: Lauren Boyer and Dilynn Blohm.
The 4th-6th graders were up and down this year in both the town league and in the All-Stars. In the town league the games usually ended with a lop-sided score no matter which team won. To their credit though, the players still played hard to the last out, and often complained that they wanted to play another inning. Most players got to try several different defensive positions over the season, and I am pretty sure every player reached base on a base hit at least once. With the low numbers, many of the pitchers were first-timers, so games moved a little more slowly this summer. There were more hits, and more walks, but it was good experience for those who will be back next year. For the most part, I was pleased with the effort and improvement with the skills side of the game. One thing this group does need to work on is maintaining a positive team attitude during practice and games, and being encouraging to all of their teammates while playing. If we get that down, everyone will have more success, and Reinbeck baseball will remain strong.
The All-Stars ended the season 6-6 in A-games and 4-2 in B-games for a combined 10-8 record. It was a roller-coaster season for the A-games, as we started with a 7-1 win, then had a 3-11 loss, then a 14-1 win, then an 0-8 loss, then a 10-0 loss, and finally an 8-2 win to end the regular season. We entered the end of season tournament as the 4th seed, our lowest in my 20 years of coaching. However, the 8-2 win against Grundy Center had been a turn-around game for us, and we were better focused when we began our first day of tournament play. We defeated North Tama by an 8-1 score, and then took on the number one seed South Tama, on their home field, for the chance to get back to the championship game and defend our title from last season. In a very tough game, with good pitching and defense from both teams, The All-Stars pulled out a 2-1 win, scoring on a passed ball in our last at bat, then holding on in the bottom half of the final inning, avenging our 0-8 loss in the regular season, and earning a spot in the championship game against BCL-UW, who beat us 10-0 in the regular season.
The championship was one of the most exciting games I've been a part of as a coach, with many ups and downs, changes in momentum, and extra innings. The All-Stars led for the first 4 innings, before BCL-UW tied the game at 6 all in the bottom of the 5th, sending us into extra innings. Both teams were short on pitching for this final game, and it showed in the 6th inning, as we scored 5 runs in the top of the 6th, only to see BCL-UW score 5 in the bottom of the 6th. We were held scoreless in the top of the 7th, but BCL-UW was able to score the winning run in their half of the inning. Both teams showed great sportsmanship, and the excitement and cheering from the players and fans was fantastic. I was very proud that we were able to end the season playing our best baseball, and with the players showing the kind of positive attitude it takes to be successful in a team sport.
For All-Star A-games, Carsen Bystricky played 3B, Eli Thede SS/P, Tyler Tscherter P/SS, Jackson Kiburis Catcher, Keagan Giesking RF, Jace Petersen 2B, Cullen Eiffler LF/P, Aiden Wyatt CF, and Tyson Creswell 1B. In B-games, Colton Clark played RF, Cody Johnson 3B, Kale Hasselman 2B/OF, Danny Gleissner 1B, Dylan Riffey CF, Will Kiburis Catcher.
I appreciate all those who helped out at games, keeping the line-up/scorebook, helping coach, or umpiring. It is nice to have the help and support of the parents and family members of the players, especially on game nights. As always, I feel blessed of God to be able to work with all the kids each summer and get to know them better as they learn to have fun playing a great sport.