Farm League ‘foundation’ for baseball future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2002

Sports Editor

Farm League baseball isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about teaching.

"This league right here is the foundation for all of Troy Parks and Recreation," said Indians’ head coach Allen Blackmon. "This is where the kids start learning fundamentals. They learn how to throw a ball, how to swing (a bat). If we don’t teach them here, they’ll start getting into these bad habits and when they get older it’ll be harder to correct."

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But the focus is on fun. Farm League is coach-pitched for ages six and seven. Everyone is given a chance to hit and runners sometimes tumble over the base pads, sliding home whether it’s necessary or not.

After all, what’s baseball without a little soiled clothing?

"It’s real fun but it does take patience," said Blackmon. "We had a good group of kids. They worked hard, we practiced hard and I’m very proud of them. Every week we just kept getting better and better."

The Indians beat the Phillies 19-7 on Tuesday night to win the league championship, finishing with a 14-2 record.

Blackmon said this year’s league was as "competitive" as he’s seen it. At least four teams headed into the latter part of the season with chance for the title. Had the Indians not won on Tuesday night, they would have shared the championship with the Cubs and Cardinals.

"Us three and then the Braves were in first at one time," said Blackmon. "The four of us were within one game of each other during the entire season. It was a tough race."

Blackmon said what was particularly enjoyable was watching how the younger players quickly caught on.

"The first day we came out here and took batting practice, you could tell who the 7-year-olds and 6-year-olds were because the 7-year-olds were a little stronger," he said. "But boy, as the season went along that line started getting a little gray then. The 6-year-olds started coming around and that’s very pleasing."

The Indians got contributions from the entire team on Tuesday night. Indians team members are: Chandler Avant, Robert Benton, Tripp Blackmon, Stormm Garrett, Mitchell Mobley, Hakeem Penick, Preston Rhodes, Morgan Shaver, Arlen Sneed, Dalton Sonnenburg, Gabe Sprinkle, Daniel Teel and Brian Walker.