The Outlaws will be playing games this spring in a 14U division of the AAU Delta Valley League. The Outlaws are a 13U team with a couple of even younger players. This will give the boys an opportunity to play on a field with 90 foot bases. They have been playing 80 foot bases in the 13U tournaments since last summer.
The Outlaws played the Best Speed 14u Hornets in the first game of the season at Case Field. The bad news was that this field had a grass infield with very, very long grass.
At the plate, Jack was 0 for 2 with a strike-out looking. In his first at-bat, he grounded a 3 and 0 pitch down the third base line. He hit the ball hard enough that it carried to the third baseman. Jack got thrown out at first by half a step. Jack struck out looking on a 0 and 2 pitch in his second plate appearance. He took the first pitch for a called strike and then fouled off the next two. Jack took a very low outside pitch for a called third strike. He was muttering in the car afterwards about feeling locked in and then taking that low pitch.
In the field, Jack played four innings at third, one inning at first and pitched an inning. He had two put-outs and three assists. At third, Jack handled two ground balls to the left side and threw to first for the out. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily he handled the longer throw on the 90 foot bases. This is the first game that Jack has ever played on 90 foot bases... He also tagged out two runners at third: one caught stealing on a throw from the catcher and one picked off on a throw from the pitcher. At pitcher, Jack handled one hit back to the mound and threw the runner out at first.
Jack pitched for the first time since last October. He pitched the sixth and last inning of the game throwing 26 pitches: 14 balls and 12 strikes. Jack told me afterwards that his strategy was to pitch high and tight and then low and away. He struck out the first batter looking, got a ground ball from the second batter and then walked two batters before striking out the fifth batter looking to end the game. Jack was very excited about pitching...
The Outlaws gave the game away. They gave up 11 walks, hit 4 batters and committed 5 errors. Additionally, four of the six hits by Best Speed were infield grounders that died in the tall grass. The Outlaws ended up losing by the score of 12 to 3 in six innings. The box score is here.
One of the most interesting things to me was that there was not a single kid on the other team that was physically much bigger than Jack. The Outlaws will be playing in four 14u tournaments during April and May. It will be interesting to see how Jack stacks up.