Cameron Marques was having a rough start batting-wise to his majors Little League baseball season. The recently graduated fifth grader didn’t sulk or pout, but instead turned to the World Wide Web to improve his game.
Marques, who plays for the Cardinals, took time out of his schedule to study YouTube videos and other resources online to improve his game. Sure enough, by the end of May his swing was starting to come back around.
“I just kept practicing because I wanted to get better,” he said.
By the time Cody baseball players have reached the majors in Little League they have started to gain the skills that can help them excel at a high level within the sport, and as shown by Marques, are starting to figure out what it takes to succeed at the sport.
With the regular season starting to come to a close for the Rockies, Cardinals and Mariners, the greatest achievement a coach or player can hang their hat on at this level is progress and mastery of America’s pastime.
“This is probably going to be a good group of guys to watch for awhile,” Mariners coach Chad Bower said with a smile.
For starters, the quality of pitching leaps significantly from the minors to majors level, with 11-and 12-year-old hurlers tossing curveballs, changeups and even the occasional knuckleball.
Noah Richardson, a fastball pitcher for the Cardinals, said he revels in the high pressure situations the game of baseball often offers. He provided an example of a recent instance.
“The other game we had two outs with the bases loaded,” Richardson said. “I threw three pitches and they were all strikes.”
Also, most players for the first time are starting to gain a deep understanding for the game, with some sporting six or even seven years of experience. This knowledge shows up in the form of stolen bases and deep bombs that tickle the outer edges of the field.
“I’m not fast but I was still able to get an inside the park home run,” Aaron Trotter, 12, said.
Syrus Bates is a member of the Mariners. Bates prides himself on being an opportunistic base thief, taking off as soon as the ball crosses the plate.
“I steal a lot of bases, it’s one of my favorite things,” he said.
Bower said he is proud of the wins and developments his team has been able to garner this year, but adversity is always present. Self-appointed team comedian Zayden Cockrell does provides some humorous relief from time-to-time but Bower said it’s all about getting his players to take a fresh approach when it starts to feel like the defense can’t miss or their own pitchers can’t buy a strike.
“We always say if something’s not going your way, which happens in a lot of games, just flush it,” he explained.
Paxton Yeates is a member of the Cardinals who counts Wyoming native and New York Met Brandon Nimmo as his favorite major leaguer. Yeates has kept a positive outlook this season despite his team only winning a few games.
“I have the confidence we’re not going to lose,” he said.
Once the Cody majors season ends, the top players will be selected for an all-star team that will compete for a chance to make it to the Little League World Series. Until that team congregates, Bower is focused on helping his team hone its fundamentals and expertise.
“We’ve just got to build on confidence and then I think these kids will be great,” he said. “So they can enjoy games, because it’s more and more competitive as things get going older.
Three teams compete in Majors
Trent Bower, Wade Bower, Syrus Bates, Owen Foley, Caleb Kingston, Garrett Lennon, Alex Sitz IV, Aaron Trotter, Eli Woodring, Zayden Cockrell, Gunnar Pedersen
Paxton Yeates, Gabe Grant, Sawyor Engdahl, Jarom Beardall, Myles Hensley, Dylan Ungrund, Noah Richardson, Emmett Anderson, Cameron Marques, Randall Nielson, Luke Thomas, Carter Roemmich
James Gleason, Tennessee Richardsson, William Duke, Reed Deming, Keaton Fowler, Jaxson File, Myles Bailey, Townsend Bailey, Carter Fales, Jaxon Hazel, Nathaniel Pryor