Due to his age, Justin had to move up a level in baseball this year. He moved from coach-pitch league to Farm League kid pitch. Justin was a member of the Pyro Shock Fireworks Royals Team.Justin loves the major league Royals, so therefore, he was very excited to be on the Royals team for little league baseball this summer.
With moving up a division also came a few new rules. The kids had to face a kid pitcher when batting. There are no walks, but there are strike outs. If a batter gets four balls, then a coach comes in and pitches to them. If you are hit by a pitch, a coach comes in and pitches to you. You must hit the ball to get on base. Justin had his share of good hits, but he also struck out his share of times.
Every kid on the team, if he wanted to, got the chance to pitch in at least one game. Some games a different player would pitch each inning. The game at this level of play is very slow. Each player is just learning to pitch. Many balls are thrown all over the place.
The players are moved to different positions every couple of innings. Games were 90 minutes long which was usually about 3 innings. The boys started playing at the beginning of May and ended last week with a tournament. We do not travel and they only play teams in their league. The Farm League consisted this season of 5 teams - Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Orioles, Braves and the Royals.
Going into the tournament, the Royals, Justin's team, were the #3 seed. First, they played the #2 seed, the Diamondbacks. Also going into the tournament, the head coach decided to have a new strategy of having batting practice before the game. The boys had not been hitting the ball well the last few games so Coach wanted to try something new. The Royals won the game 11-1 which put them in the championship game!
In the championship game, the Royals played the #1 seeded Braves. The Braves were undefeated during regular season play.
At the end of four innings, the Royals had pulled the upset and won 6-0. During the regular season, the Royals had only scored 16 runs. But, during the two tournament games, the boys scored 17 runs. I guess the batting practice before the games definitely helped. Each boy stepped up to the plate fearless and with confidence. Everyone was hitting the ball and the defense was stingy.
After receiving their gold medals, they took a victory lap around the bases and then dumped ice water on the coaches!
Then the coaches had one last team huddle before the whole team went out for pizza to celebrate. Justin told me, "Coach said we could win the whole thing from the start. He knew we could do it!".