News and Announcements
North Bellmore, NY – The Rebels evened their record to 2-2 after taking both games of a double-header today. They beat the LI Baymen 4-1 and 3-1, respectively.
The Rebels victories came on the back of outstanding pitching and just enough offense and defense. Rebels pitchers Nick 2, Jack 8, Kevin 5, and Mike 13 exhibited great command and worked from ahead of the majority of Baymen batters keeping the kids from Ronkonkoma on their heels all day.
Score an assist for Coach Sam who, after another Friday of heavy rain, led the effort to have the field in perhaps the best condition it’s been all year. Thanks Coach Sam and those who helped!
Having a plan when you’re up at bat greatly affects the likelihood that you will hit a ball hard off of the ‘sweet-spot’ of your bat.
During soft-toss drills, I have asked many of you, "Where is your pitch?" Some of you quickly reached out with your bottom hand and pointed to a spot in the strike zone. Others just raised your shoulders in a universal "I don’t know" gesture.
‘Your pitch’ is a pitch in a specific location that you can really drive.
Ted Williams was once asked by a young ballplayer for some hitting advice. The last MLB player to bat .400 for a season (.406, actually) told the kid that the most important part of hitting is to "get a good pitch to hit".
YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR PITCH (the Splendid Splinter’s favorite was belt-high, middle of the plate — a popular choice). This is the first part of having a plan, or an approach, at the plate.
Next you need to know the count. You adjust your approach according to the count. Adjusting your approach means redefining your ‘hitting zone’ — where a pitch must be for you to swing — prior to each pitch.
When you step into the box with a fresh count (0-0), you should be looking to swing only at a pitch in the appropriate ‘hitting zone’ for a no-strike count: something smaller than the entire strike zone with a center in the location of ‘your pitch’. If you take a strike outside your ‘hitting zone’ with a no-strike count, that’s "a good take". If the pitch comes where you were looking for it, crush it.
If the count is 1-0, your approach stays pretty much the same as 0-0; looking for a pitch in your no-strikes ‘hitting zone’. Again, taking a strike outside your ‘hitting zone’ with a no-strike count is "a good take". And, again, if the pitch comes where you were looking for it, crush it.
At 2-0 or 3-1, your approach should have you ‘shrinking’ your ‘hitting zone’ even more toward ‘your pitch’. If it’s not there where you love it, ‘spit on it’. But be ready to rip, because you know the pitcher is probably trying to groove one (he doesn’t want to go 3-0 or walk you). If he lays it in there where you were looking for it, crush it.
If you ever get a ‘green-light’ to swing 3-0, you must ‘shrink’ your ‘hitting zone’ to only ‘your pitch’. If it comes in exactly where you’re looking for it, crush it.
If the count is 0-1 or 1-1 or 2-1, your approach becomes one of looking to swing at a pitch in the normal strike zone (within the full width of the plate (17") and between your letters and your knees). If it’s a strike, take your rip.
With a two-strike count (0-2, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2), your approach moves the other direction: you’ll need to ‘expand’ your ‘hitting zone’. Think in terms of adding 2 inches to each side of the normal strike zone. If the pitch is two inches inside or two inches outside or two inches below your knees or two inches above your letters, you need to be be swinging to ‘protect’ from getting ‘punched out’.
Having a plan at the plate will help you "get a good pitch to hit" and maybe you’ll be the next Ted Williams. :-)
P.S. I’ve added an album to the ‘Photos’ section called ‘Hitting Zones’ with pictures that show some of these concepts.
Coach Sam and I saw a lot of ugly slides at Monday’s practice. This is a very fundamental aspect of baseball that you all need to do and do well.
Please work on it at home or a nearby park or field. I suggest that you kick off your shoes (so you don’t snag a spike while you’re perfecting your technique; wear old socks :-)) and practice on grass. Set up a makeshift movable base as target. Start about 50 feet away and run hard. Work on sliding straight in, to the inside of the base, to the outside of the base, and then the ‘slide-by slide’ where you slide wide to the side of the base and get it with your hand. Then work on sliding straight in and popping up onto your feet.
These are some of ‘the little things’ that can make or break a play, a big inning, or a game.
North Bellmore, NY – The Rebels 2009 travel season got off to a rough start when they lost both games of a double-header to the Mattituck Mets.
The Mets, last year’s National Junior Baseball League champions who posted a perfect 17-0 record, proved to be the formidable challenger their record suggested with excellent defense and strong hitting throughout their lineup.
The Rebels battled and put on a respectable showing jumping out to early leads in both games. They also flashed the leather with some fine defensive plays of their own. But, in the end, the Mets great fielding and offensive depth was too much for the Rebels to overcome.
In post-game commentary Coach Sam reminded all players and families that the NJBL "A" division is expected to provide nothing but very strong clubs. This high level of competition will ultimately make the Rebels stronger and sharper in this season and the seasons to come.