Alman on Summer Baseball

Summerhawks 1

Another season of summer baseball is over for both Cheney’s 15U and 17U Summerhawks teams.

I don’t have much to say about the 15U team, other than they played. Lack of communication and scheduling changes – mostly from the Spokane Indians Youth Baseball program – resulted in few stories to be written about the team, which kind of sucks to be honest. But that’s the nature of the business.

While I don’t have a lot to talk about when it comes to the 15u team, I have plenty of things to say about the 17U team, who played an independent schedule against some tough teams.

Head coach Austin Sharp was at the helm for the second season. This year’s team consisted of kids from last year’s summer teams, as well as players from Cheney High School’s JV and varsity squads. It was a good mix of players who already had a grasp of the fundamentals, but needed some refining in hitting, fielding and throwing.

The team ended with a 13-15 record with appearances in the Desert Heat Classic (2-4) and the Wood Bat ClSPTS - Summerhawks Colton Houtari - 07072016assic (3-2) tournaments. The Summerhawks ended the summer with a second-place finish in the Smash N’ Splash (3-2) tournament – I’ll have a recap of that later today or on Saturday.

Cheney’s season wasn’t just tournaments. They played against some tough club teams like the Prairie Cardinals, Pullman’s American Legion team and the Northwest Premier squad.

Several players performed well at the plate, including Andrew Witt, who led the team with a .500 batting average in 24 games, Jake Berman (.421 average in 17 games), Devin Cook (.400 in 21) and Dylan Arthur (.338 in 23).

Arthur was pretty good at the mound, pitching 37 innings, striking out 38 batters and ending with a 2.838 ERA. Johnny Owings had the second-longest time pitching after he threw 20.2 innings, had 19 strikeouts and had a 4.403 ERA. Players like Cook, Nick Berman and Jacob Lauber also picked up some pitching experience during the season.

The independent schedule seems to be working for the 17U team. The only drawback seems to be a lack of a postseason for players. After talking with one of the members of the Cheney Baseball Association, it sounds like the program is working on establishing some sort of season schedule with a playoff format attached to it.

One of the comments I normally get from coaches is how the idea of the summer baseball program is really to help the athletes prepare for the spring season. I think that’s fine, but it’s also good to give players something to work toward if they win games. It will help them, not just in sports, but also in life.

That said, I’ve watched athletes play in the summer program and be 10 times better when they reach the spring baseball season.

If this year’s group of players can roll into spring with the momentum they built over the summer – especially in the tail end of the season – they’ve got a good chance to make it to the 2A postseason.

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