After winning the 6u T-Ball district, state, and regional championships in 2016, Coach John Pilger knew it would be tough to duplicate the performance in 2017 moving to machine pitch. Although he had the same core group returning from last year’s team, he believed the team would have to work much harder this year and need a little luck along way to repeat the championship performance of 2016. “We couldn’t have asked for more from this team, the boys worked hard and stayed focused on doing what was necessary to reach their goals” Pilger states.
Going undefeated in both the district and state tournaments, Pilger worried complacency and season fatigue might impact performance going into regionals, “they are only 7, so it’s tough to know what’s going through their mind as we prepared for regionals. We knew we had a talented team, but at this level of play we knew if we took any team lightly and didn’t play sound baseball from the first pitch to the last, we could get beat.” A humble Pilger goes on to say….“in baseball you can’t always control your destiny no matter how prepared you think you are, the boys can hit the ball hard but if it goes right to someone there is no gain. Winning or losing can come to down to a bad hop of the baseball. So, we knew a little luck here and there would also be important to our success.” Ultimately, Pilger believed preparation was key to their success…”we practiced a lot and we just ask the boys to be the best they can be every practice, every game and the outcome will work itself out.”
Based on the results, this team took heed to their coaching. They went undefeated in regional play and capped the season by beating Bryant, Arkansas in the Southwest Regional championship game. “This was a remarkable season with a special group of boys. I’m sure every player and parent is proud of the of the team accomplishments and they should be, but looking back what is most gratifying for the coaches was to see the commitment and dedication the boys showed from day one. They poured their hearts into this season.” Pilger was quick to thank the parents and assistant/volunteer coaches when discussing factors to success….”We had great coaching help and awesome parent support. It’s a huge a sacrifice for everyone and it certainly couldn’t be done without it. ”
2017 Cal Ripken 7u Southwest Region Champs
Coach – John Pilger
Asst Coaches – Scott Butcher, James Cunningham, Jacob Page