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Archive for Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fall baseball provides players with boost for the next level

October 11, 2006

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The Holcom fall baseball season will end this weekend. Instead of a tournament or trophy to mark a victorious season, league players will walk away with seven weeks worth of new knowledge and skills.

Mike Mattan, Holcom fall baseball league director, said the season is more about growing in the game than keeping track of home runs.

"We have more of an instructional league in the fall season," Mattan said. "We do a lot more coaching during fall games than you would see in the regular season, and the kids get a chance to play different positions."

The fall league is in its fourth season this year. The season normally runs for five weeks but was extended this year an extra two weeks because of rainouts.

Mattan estimated that about 100 players, aged 14- to 17-years old, played on eight teams in the fall season this year.

A few of the teams came from Topeka and Tonganoxie, and there were also a few teams set up by Lawrence area high school baseball coaches.

Although high school coaches can not coach leagues during the school year, they helped to set up teams for others to coach to prepare future players for high school baseball.

Mattan said many of the fall players go on to play spring and summer baseball the next year. Players also play on bigger fields during the fall, which gives younger teammates experience with playing at a higher level.

"The fall season is a good time to get them prepared and meshed into a team for the spring and summer season," Mattan said. "I get a lot of coaching done during the fall. During the summer there is always someone gone on vacation, and of course you are always trying to win.

There are too many distractions, and in the fall it's not like that. It's all about developing for the future."

Games are kept track of during the fall season, and teams don't play any final tournaments. Mattan said it is more about how many innings the players can play to prepare them for next year.

Many of the fall league players also continue to practice throughout the winter.

Looking back on another growth-filled season, Mattan said he has one goal for fall baseball in the years to come: to get more young players involved in the game.

"I would really like to get the 13- to 14-year-old age group to move up more in the game," Mattan said. "I think it would really help Lawrence baseball to get those kids playing at new positions and trying to develop for next summer or the summer after that."

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