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Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Postseason still left for DCABA

Teams begin tournament play

July 7, 2004

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Just because the Douglas County Amateur Baseball Assn.'s regular season is over doesn't mean games are done.

Each age groups' postseason tournaments are getting started, and the league's Select teams are preparing for competition in tournaments throughout July.

Although the league awards trophies to the winners of regular season league play, a second trophy is up for grabs in the double-elimination tournament.

Teams are seeded based on their placing in the league, and DCABA awards both first and second place teams in the tournament with trophies.

The regular season was scheduled to end before July 4, but rescheduled games due to a rainy June have pushed some of the tournaments back. The 10-U, 11-U, and 12-U leagues were scheduled to start this week.

"With all the rain we've been having this summer, it could take three weeks to play the tournament," said Mike Willoughby, head coach of the undefeated 9-U Mustangs.

In addition to the postseason tournaments, players on each league's DCABA Select team will take the competition to another level by participating in tournaments across Kansas and potentially the nation.

Willoughby's 9-U Select team played in Princeton last weekend in preparation for the National Baseball Congress State tournament later this month in Pittsburg.

If the team places first or second in Pittsburg, they will qualify for the NBC National tournament in Bartlett, Tenn.

Each year DCABA adapts its rules to how Select teams are chosen. Last year, the league hosted a tryout with the coaches selecting teams.

This year each head coach voted for eight players to make the Select team, and then Willoughby chose 12 players and one alternate from those nominated.

"This process is a smidgen more diplomatic than in the past, but when you are choosing a Select team you can't make everybody happy," Willoughby said. "I had a lot of feedback on the players that helped me make my decision."

He said his experience coaching his son, Troy, and now his younger son, Shane, has given him a knowledgeable perspective on the talent in the league.

"I've been watching the kids since Shane was 7," Willoughby said. "I feel like I have a good feel for who can play."

Willoughby is coaching a DCABA Select team for the third year. Last year, as 8-year-olds, the Select team went 19-2, won the NBC State tournament and took second place at Nationals.

This year, three of the players from that 8-year-olds' Select team will be playing on the team again this year. Seven of the boys played in DCABA last year and four played in Lawrence Parks and Recreation leagues.

Despite the fact that this will be a majority of the players' first experience playing in competitive tournaments, Willoughby is confident about the skills of his players and has high expectations for his team.

"These kids are 8- and 9-year-old boys who were a part of a league with players who are not just good baseball players, but good athletes," Willoughby said. "I think we will do great as long as we don't get big headed or anything like that."

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