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Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Summer ball prepares Mavericks for more

July 26, 2006

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Clint Pinnick and Aaron Rea may already have an upper hand on other players on the Lawrence Mavericks baseball team.

Both have played baseball at Lawrence High before, although both of them will be entering the 10th grade at Lawrence High. Pinnick and Rea played baseball last year in middle school and worked hard enough to be brought up to play for the Lawrence High's junior varsity baseball team.

Despite this, Pinnick and Rea decided to play summer baseball with the Mavericks, who play in the Lawrence Amateur Baseball Association American Legion Class A league, and are coached by Lawrence High's head baseball coach, Brad Stoll.

"It's an advantage when I need to play varsity," Pinnick said. "Hopefully, when I play varsity."

Stoll said playing for the Mavericks gives the players an opportunity to learn the system that he and the other coaches use at Lawrence High, because every player on the Mavericks roster is currently playing for or will become a part of the baseball team at Lawrence High.


Lawrence Maverick Tom Schuh throws a pitch as an umpire watches. The Mavericks played host to a tournament at Free State High School from July 11-16.

Lawrence Maverick Tom Schuh throws a pitch as an umpire watches. The Mavericks played host to a tournament at Free State High School from July 11-16.

"These guys determine if I keep my job or get fired," Stoll laughed. "They're the future of Lawrence High baseball."

Another reason Stoll said the Mavericks play summer league baseball is because other Lawrence high schools, such as Free State, also have summer league teams. The summer competition helps prepare the players for future games against intercity rivals.

Although the Mavericks travel to several venues in Lawrence to play, (they call Ice field at Holcom Sports Complex home), travel outside of the city limits is also something on the team's summer agenda.

Earlier in the summer, the Mavericks traveled to Omaha, Neb., to compete in a tournament. The trip garnered the team a second-place finish.

Stoll said it was in Nebraska where many of his players showed some of their potential.

"Dorian had a no hitter in Omaha over the fourth of July weekend," Stoll said of starting pitcher Dorian Green.

Besides Green, there were other players who faired well during the summer months. Stoll said catcher Jake Green and third baseman Pinnick also have had "great" summers, but tagged shortstop Rea as the most consistent player.

As much as the players play and the coaches coach, there is another side to the Lawrence Mavericks.

Stoll said he couldn't have done any of what he has done this summer without the help from the parents.

For instance, at a recent tournament, which took place from July 11 -16, the parents were the ones who played host to the event. They were the announcers and also played the music.

The Mavericks won this parent-sponsored event for the opportunity to go to the state tournament.

It wasn't easy. The Mavericks lost their second game of the tournament and were facing elimination against the Junction City Blues.

The Mavericks beat the Blues and had to face the Topeka Post, not once, but twice. If they were to make it to the state tournament they would have win both games.

The futureLawrence Lions did just that, as they defeated the Topeka Post team on July 15 and July 16 to earn their trip to El Dorado, site of the state tournament.

Stoll re-emphasized the fact that he couldn't have made it without the parents, and in return, the parents spoke highly of Stoll and the influence he has on their kids.

Maverick player Gabe Jacobsens's father, Thomas, said Stoll keeps the players on a tight rope.

"He takes a great interest in the kids' personal lives," Thomas Jacobsen said. "He won't put up with any throwing of helmets, any of that."

Dan Rea, Aaron's father, agreed and gives credit to the coaches for giving the players responsibilities.

"They are around the influence of coaches," Dan Rea said. "It's easier to hold them responsible at home."

The proud parent also spoke of the program's success in getting the players in the right direction after high school.

Dan Rea said all of the graduating seniors on last year's Lawrence High baseball team got offered a scholarship, except one who had decided to play college baseball.

Both parents agreed that most, if not all of the Mavericks would like to play college baseball, but that's the last thing on a lot of the players' minds right now.

"He's told me he wants to be a part of a state championship team,' Thomas Jacobsen said of his son's goals for his upcoming years as a member of the LawrenceHigh team.

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