News

On The Field: Chris Adams

Date: April 17, 2019
By: Eric Leary

On today’s edition of On the Field, Chris Adams joins us to give a brief overview of his career, the season and much more.  He is the head baseball coach at Ledford High School in Davidson County.

At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

We are pleased to be 16-1 at this point in the season and at the top of our conference standings.  We have four very difficult conference games left and quite a bit can still happen. Our goal continues to be win the regular season championship and earn the highest possible seed we can heading into the state playoffs.  

Weather is always an issue for baseball.  This season has definitely presented some challenges.  How have you adapted to the weather?

We are fortunate to have a nice indoor hitting facility that we can visit off campus.  We have also tried to do as much as we can in the gym. Nothing beats being on the field and getting live practice but our kids have adapted as well as can be expected with all of the indoor practices we have had to have this season.

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level?  Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

Chris Villaman and Noah Soles have both committed to NC State University.  Tyler Smith has committed to Averett University. Jake Stroud is still undecided.  I think we have quite a few young players that may eventually get opportunities moving forward.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Ledford High School?  And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?

Head Baseball Coach From 2002-2008 and 2014-2019.
Head Football Coach From 2010-Present
Head Baseball Coach at High Point Central 1995-1997

I have relied on many different coaches to help get me to where I am today.  Some of the most influential have been Kenny Angel, Gary Whitman, Rick Larrick, Kenny Carter, Danny Thomas, Cliff Butcher, Dickie Cline and Rob Shore.

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

All of the teams I have coached have been memorable in their own way and generally successful. The 2003, 2008 and 2016 teams all advanced to the Regional Finals. Of course, the most memorable team would be last year’s team which advanced to the state finals for the first time in school history.    

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense. But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them. Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

We had some battles with East Rutherford and Coach Reynolds in the 2003 and 2008 Regional Finals. North Davidson has always been a tough opponent for us under Coach Meadows and Coach Griffin. We had some great playoff games with Coach Hodge and his Shelby Crest teams. Of course, I gained a high amount of respect for Coach Harwood and the Whiteville program after playing them last year in the state finals. Earlier in my career Coach Goodson at West Stokes, Coach Kesler at North Rowan, Coach Tricarico at East Davidson and Coach Brown at Central Davidson were always tough teams and tough coaches to compete against.

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice?

Working on defensive situations with live runners and a coach hitting balls. I also enjoy our coach pitch scrimmages where we can work on different situations both offensively and defensively.

What is your favorite position or skill to coach?  Favorite drill?

I enjoy working with all of the position players.  I spend a lot of time with the pitchers and catchers during the preseason. I probably spend more time with the Infielders than any other group once the season starts.  

My favorite drill is working with the hitters in the cage while I am throwing front toss.    

What does your program do on game day that is unique or special?

Each player takes an “All In” chip before we start our warm up process. They keep the chip in their pocket and turn it in when we have our final team meeting signifying they are “All In” with the team and whatever it takes to win.

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?

White Pants, Black Top, White Hat

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting –  coach 3B or dugout? Dugout
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Both
  • When your guy hits a HR  – high five or fist bump? Depends on the situation
  • When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? ankle length
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? the stopwatch is either in my pocket or tied to the fence
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? painted lines

We appreciate you taking the time to share with us Coach Adams!  We’ll be tracking you and your program as the 2019 season rolls on!

On The Field: Jake Smith

Date: April 10, 2019
By: Eric Leary

Impact Baseball continues to take a deeper look at some of the top high school baseball coaches with our “On the Field” series. Today we are checking in on Jake Smith of Randleman High School, in Randleman, NC.

At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

The season is going great so far.  We are working towards our goals everyday.  Need to continue getting better throughout the course of the season.  

Weather is always an issue for baseball. This season has definitely presented some challenges. How have you adapted to the weather?

Weather is always a challenge for this time of year.  We just try to take advantage of good days and make the best of the bad days. It’s frustrating but we can’t control it.  

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level? Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

Matt Kemp 2020 (NC State), Trey Cooper 2020 (NC State), Nick Neal 2019 (Walters State CC). Ramsey Petty, Dominick Poole and Dawson Edwards are all 2020 prospects.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Randleman High School? And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?

This is my 6th year being the head coach at Randleman.  Big influences in my coaching development have come from my high school coach Charlie Gamble 3rd, All of my coaches at ECU, along with my coaches in the Oakland A’s organization.

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

All of the teams have been great to be a part of here. We have great young men that play the game the right way. 2015 was a special year.  We came up one game short from winning the state. That team was led by Trevor Clemons, Caleb Webster, Bailey Welch, Tanner Routh, Evan Walls,  Zac Kemp and others. That team played with so much passion and energy unlike I’ve coached before. It was definitely a year to remember.

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense. But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them. Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

We have a great rivalry with Southeast Guilford. I know those coaches really well over there. My high school coach is an assistant coach along with his son. They always have a great team. Kids from both teams know each other well since it’s a short distance apart. Both teams respect each other and it’s always a great game to be apart of.  

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice? Throwing BP

What is your favorite position or skill to coach?  Catching

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program? All orange with blue hats

What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Randleman High School? All of it

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting –  coach 3B or dugout? 3B
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Signs
  • When your guy hits a HR  – high five or fist bump? Handshake
  • When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? Ankle
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? Stopwatch
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Painted

We here at Impact want to thank Coach Smith for his time to share about himself and his program.  All the best to you and the Tigers!

On The Field: Gary Nail

Date: April 3, 2019
By: Eric Leary

On this edition of On the Field, Impact Baseball is joined by Head Coach Gary Nail, of Reagan High School, in Pfafftown, NC outside Winston-Salem.  Let’s get right to it!

At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

I would say, so far, it is going pretty good. Still early and we definitely have a ways to go to reach our season’s goals. Our guys are working hard everyday to get better and that is really all the coaching staff  can ask for.

Weather is always an issue for baseball.  This season has definitely presented some challenges.  How have you adapted to the weather?

We have been going inside and hitting in our cages. Pitchers have been getting their work done off the indoor mounds as well. We get outside as much as we can. Sometimes we have to set up an infield in the outfield to get defensive reps. It has been a little of a challenge but we are making it work.

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level?  Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

We have two seniors who have signed to play at the next level. 1B/3B – Nick Leonard has signed to play at Coker College and OF/P – David Asbill has signed to play at Winston-Salem State. We have several other players who have committed to other schools as well. Juniors Danny Beal P/3B and CJ Boyd INF/P have committed to ECU. Sophomore Josh Hartle P/1B has committed to Wake Forest and Freshmen Carter Boyd P/INF/OF has committed to Florida.

Other players that I think deserve some attention are junior, Trevor Faulkner – 2B/SS and Sophomore, Colby Welborn – C/OF. Both are really good players that schools hopefully will start getting to know.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Reagan High School?  And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?

This will be my seventh season as the head coach at Reagan. I started my head coaching career at North Stokes and continued it at North Surry and South Stokes before coming to Reagan. People who influence me in my coaching development would first of all be my parents. They instilled in me the value of hard work, responsibility, morals and ethics. Baseball wise, I would say Coach Barry Hall at East Surry probably had the biggest influence on me. I learned so much about how to run a baseball program.   

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

Some of the most memorable players I have had the fortune to coach are Jordan and Dustin Ackley, Zach and Nick Conaway,Tim Smith, Conner Leonard, Spencer Holcomb, Will Sprinkle and Garrett Saylor. What made these players stand out, besides talent, was their character, work ethic and drive to get better. These are just a few. I have been really blessed to coach so many good players.

As far as teams, I would definitely have to say the 2002, 2003 and 2004 State Championship teams I had at South Stokes. These teams were special because of the bond they had with each other. They played as a team and each player did not care who got the credit. All they wanted to do was win. They has GREAT team chemistry, along with the overall talent that is rarely seen at the 1A level. Very special group!!

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense.  But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them.  Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

Coach Barry Hall’s East Surry teams were always a challenge. Well coached and always tough. Our conference, Central Piedmont, is a grind, week in and week out. Every team is well coached and you better be ready to go everyday.

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice?

I would say it is when we do our fundamental defensive drill sets. I also really like what we call “Raider BP”. It is a high energy, competitive BP round.

What is your favorite position or skill to coach? Favorite drill?

I like coaching the infielders. My favorite drills are a 3 minute double play drill and our defensive drill sets.

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?

My favorite uniform is our teal jersey with our white pants and either our white or black hat.

What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Reagan High School?

I think the best part of our facility is the field itself. Our coaching staff puts a lot of time and work into our field and I really like the playing surface we have.

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting –  coach 3B or dugout? 3B
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Wrist Bands
  • When your guy hits  a HR – high five or fist bump? High Five
  • When you are in uniform  – ankle length pants or high socks? Ankle length pants
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? No stopwatch
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Painted lines

We are grateful here at Impact Baseball for Coach Nail in not only sharing with us today but also all he does for his players and the game!  Best of luck the rest of the way Coach!

3 Go-To Grip Strength Exercises

3 Go-To Grip Strength Exercises
By: Andy Partin

Stronger hands, wrists, forearms and overall grip have obvious benefits in baseball especially in swinging a bat but also can increase velocity and prevent injury by supporting the elbow.

Throwing a baseball requires plenty of wrist and finger snap. The stronger both are the more spin you can create on the ball – increasing velocity. Same with a bat. The stronger your hands and wrists are the more bat-speed you’ll have.

Forearm muscles are divided up in to two basic groups:

1) Forearm Flexors are better known for “grip strength” in forms of “isometric” grip strength, like holding something heavy in your hand and (B.) “concentric” grip strength, like crushing someone’s hand when you shake it (closing your hand against resistance).

2) Forearm Extensors are responsible for extending the wrist, like when throwing a baseball. Doing bicep curls, reverse curls or hammer curls will only partially work the forearm extensors where reverse wrist rolling  train the muscle group completely and very directly.

When recommending a training program for baseball players, I like to recommend 3 different types: rolling, gripping and timed holds. This allows you to train the hands, wrists and forearms in several different ways.

Exercises:

1) “Rolling”

Most baseball players have performed the wrist rollers where you roll the weighted rope/line up round the roller. Remember, it’s equally as important to “roll” the weight back down as it is to roll it up.

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2) “Gripping”

Squeezing grippers like the Captain’s of Crush is a great exercise for grip strength. Mixing it up by squeezing a gripper 10 or 20 times to fatigue and then performing a squeezed “hold” for 30 seconds (for example).

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3) “Pinch Blocks”

These are the best for isometric grip strength. If you have smooth bumper plates you can also pinch-hold those as well.

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I recommend training grip strength sub-maximally every other day (3 x per week) at the end of your workouts or away from your workouts throughout the year.

Important Note: You will need weighted plates for both the wrist roller and pinch block. I’d suggest 1 x 2.5 lbs, 1 x 5 lbs and 1 x 5 lbs to start with.

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On The Field: Joey Miriello

Date: March 28, 2019
By: Eric Leary

Today’s edition of On the Field, the Impact Baseball is checking in with Joey Miriello of Triton High School, in Erwin, NC.  

At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

Right now we are (5-4) …  I am pleased with where we are right now.  By most standards we are young and somewhat inexperienced, we have the approach of taking game by game and try not to get ahead of ourselves.  Our main goal is to get better with each game and learn from any mistakes we might have made the previous game mental or physical and them correct them.  So far, we have done a good job of this.

Weather is always an issue for baseball.  This season has definitely presented some challenges.  How have you adapted to the weather?

I can’t remember a season that has been this wet in my 15 years of coaching.  We have had to adapt by moving quite a few practices indoors, and try and get outside as much as we can. Our guys have done a good job adapting to these changes and I don’t feel it has affected us in any negative way.

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level?  Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

Parker Crews Sr. OF has signed with Mid-Atlantic Christian University Colton Neighbors Sr. OF has had offers and interest, but has not made a decision on his future yet.  Dalen Thompson Soph. SS, Ethan Hedgepeth Jr. INF, Grayson Bradham Jr. C, and Hayden Pope Fresh. RHP among a few other underclassmen have the ability to okay at the next level.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Triton High School?  And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?  

I have been the head coach at Triton for 11 years and was the Head Coach at Douglas Byrd High School for one year at the age of 22 right out of college before I decided to come to Triton.  While at Triton I was also the Head Soccer coach for 7 years but gave it up when my first daughter was born 6 years ago. Without a doubt my Dad has been my biggest influence when it comes to coaching.  He was a high school baseball and basketball coach in the 60’s and 70’s. He has always been there for advice and guidance. Other than him my college coach Tom Austin was and continues to be a great source of knowledge, I definitely would not be where I am without both of them.

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

My first year as head coach in 2008 we went 19-6 and went pretty deep in the playoffs.  That year was very memorable due to the success we had. Our 2014 team won the conference regular season and tournament championship which was the first championship the baseball team had won in 20 years.  There have been so many players that have made my job so enjoyable and memorable but these few stand out because not only were they great players, they had great work ethics and also were great young men on and of the field.  Ethan Strickland (Wingate and Brunswick CC), Dillon Stewart (UNCG, Brunswick CC), Trent Fennell (Barton, Colorado Rockies), Houston Hamilton (Brunswick CC) Aaron Hedgepeth (Mt. Olive).

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense.  But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them.  Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

I have always enjoyed the rivalries we have with South Johnston (Aaron Parnell) Harnett Central (Lance Honeycutt) and Midway (Jason Fussell)  It seems like year to year regardless of what type of season expectations we may have had our games are always intense, emotional, and are always great games.

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice?

My favorite parts are cutoffs, backups, tandems, and situational ground balls and fly balls.  You can cover so many things defensively with these drills and put the needed amount of pressure on my players to make the correct mental and physical decisions.

What is your favorite position or skill to coach?  Favorite drill?

Catchers is my favorite position to coach and my favorite drill is fungo blocks.

What does your program do on game day that is unique or special?  

My players always meet in the team room about an hour before they are required to be there and play video games or just eat lunch together. That gives them an opportunity to relax a little bit before things start to get serious and it also helps build team unity.

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?  

We have somewhat of a throwback look with the knicker pants which are white with a white jersey, blue stirrups with black trim and a white black and blue hat. That seems to be my players favorite uniform and it is also mine.

What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Triton High School?  

It is tough to pick one thing about our facility because in my opinion we have one of the nicest facilities around. But if I had to choose one thing it would be our team room. We built a team room about five years ago and it could rival most college team rooms.

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting –  coach 3B or dugout?  Coach 3B
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Definitely signs
  • When your guy hits a HR  – high five or fist bump? High five
  • When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? Both
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? Stop watch
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Painted lines

Thanks Coach Miriello.  We here at Impact Baseball appreciate your time to share with us and we appreciate all that you do for the game!

On The Field: Jere Morton

Date: March 20, 2019
By: Eric Leary

In today’s “On The Field” edition of our High School Coach spotlight, Impact Baseball checks in with Jere Morton of Broughton High School, in Raleigh, NC.

At this point of the 2019 season how  would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

We have 10 seniors and this has been a year we’ve looked forward to since they stepped on campus four years ago.  We have opened the season playing well against some well-coached and traditionally strong Raleigh area programs. There is still a lot of work to do towards our goals.

Weather is always an issue for baseball. This season has definitely presented some challenges.  How have you adapted to the weather?

On days that the weather has not cooperated, our guys have had the drive to put in good work wherever is available. We also had an intense game of wiffle ball between JV and Varsity one rainy afternoon.

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level?  Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

Xander Hamilton is a RHP/OF that has signed with Virginia Tech. Seniors Joe Barrow and Penn Sealey are both uncommitted seniors who are looking for the right fit on the next level. There are some juniors in the program that have a chance to play on the next level
as well with continued hard work.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Broughton High School?  And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?

This is my 3rd spring as the varsity baseball coach at Broughton.  I coached the JV team for 2 years prior to my current position. I grew up around the game of baseball and a family of coaches. I spent summers watching American Legion baseball throughout my childhood due to my father coaching in Cary and my uncle coaching in Garner. I began coaching in 2008 as an assistant with the Cary Bulls Junior Legion program and have made coaching stops along the way since then with Cary High School (Asst. Coach), Showcase Baseball (Dirtbags!), Cary Babe Ruth (Head Coach), Middle Creek High School (Asst. Coach) and Wake Tech Community College (Recruiting Coord/Pitching Coach).  I have also been fortunate enough to serve as a baseball instructor with the Town of Cary based out of the USA Complex for the last several years running camps and clinics.

Coaching influences have been my dad (Jere Morton III), my uncle (Moe Barbour), Ronnie Powell, Chris Kiec, Joe Blanchard, Harry Jones, and Jim Comis.

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

I’ve had a lot of players and teams over the years that are extremely memorable and naming a few would be a slap in the face to the many that deserve to be mentioned here. I have always had a strong relationship with my players and teams and it’s hard to single any out.

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense.  But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them.  Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

The Raleigh area has so many great coaches that every night you are going to go up against a coach that knows his stuff and has been around for awhile. One coach that comes to mind is Austin James at Millbrook HS. I respect him and his program but the contests are always intense. He gets the most out of his guys and it has brought some life back to an old Raleigh rivalry.  Jeremy Thompson is another coach that I love to coach against — his teams are well prepared and he does a fantastic job scouting your guys. You can’t get anything by JT!

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice?

21 Outs — Outs 19-21 are the most fun for me. I love seeing who looks nervous and who is ready to finish the job.

What is your favorite position or skill to coach?  Favorite drill?

Tough one – I’ve always coached pitching but I enjoy working with infielders a good bit.  I’m a big fan of footwork around the bag on double plays and getting comfortable making uncomfortable plays in practice, with expectation that it becomes routine in games.

What does your program do on gameday that is unique or special?

Nothing that I know of – but I know those young men are tight and do a lot of superstitious things at times.

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?

Love a clean, simple look.  At a school like Broughton, especially, we take pride in our history and tradition. This is the 90th year of Broughton and we respect that with our uniforms. Personal favorite at BHS: Purple Hat, White/Purple Pinstripes.

What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Broughton High School?

It’s right there in downtown Raleigh and that’s pretty cool.  Also, the field was named after a former coach and there is a ton of history inside that park.

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting –  coach 3B or dugout? 3B
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? SIGNS
  • When your guy hits a HR  – high five or fist bump? Fist Bump
  • When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? High Socks when the pants allow. All the kids like these day are long pants!
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? Probably a stop watch
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Chalk is pretty sweet.

A huge thank you to Coach Morton for his time to share those insights about the game and on him and his program. Impact Baseball wishes him and his team all the best as they continue to compete this spring!

 

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On The Field: David Houseton

Date: March 15, 2019
By: Eric Leary

As the spring continues to progress for the game at various levels, Impact Baseball is going to take the opportunity to highlight some of the many quality high school coaches in the region.  The hope is that these coaches get to share some aspects of their program and of themselves that allows us to connect how their love for the game translates to the culture they promote for developing their players both on and off the diamond.  

First up for the series “On The Field” is David Houseton of Covenant Day School in Matthews, NC.

At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?

This season is off to a wet and slow start. I feel good about where we are as a team with only two games played so far. I have felt good about this team’s chemistry coming into the season and I have seen that play a big part in our success in our first two games.

Weather is always an issue for baseball.  This season has definitely presented some challenges.  How have you adapted to the weather?

We are blessed to have a tarp here at Covenant Day School. We were able to get our tarp on early and save a few practices and one of our earlier games. The tarp has allow us to get on our field faster than normal and this had lead to great practices for us the last two weeks. But the rain has canceled at least four games that we had on our schedule. With all the water we have to used the yellow dimple balls for practices to save our baseballs from getting wet and utilizing our cages much more. On some days we are confined to using indoor space if available. Like most programs in our area this spring has been a challenge.

Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level?  Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?

Jackson Bertelsen comes to mind. He is attending West Point to play baseball next year. He has went to Covenant Day his entire life and we are proud that he will play four years of baseball at Army. We also have Phillip Abner who is committed to Florida University as a left hand hitter. The guys that I think deserve some attention are: Cooper Andrews, Jon Rossi, Ben Walton, Robert Stone and Brenham Daniel to name a few. These players are outstanding people and can bring along to a college baseball program.

How long have you been the head baseball coach at Covenant Day?  And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?

I have been the head baseball coach at Covenant Day for the past 10 years. Prior to coming to Covenant Day I spent eight years at Charlotte Christian. Throughout my coaching career I have coached football, and basketball. I have also coached travel ball for the past 19 years every fall and summer as well. The biggest influences have been Coach Greg Simmons at Charlotte Christian. He has been a tremendous mentor for me and I try to stay in contact with him as much as possible. Also, my experiences working with USA baseball has had a profound impact on my coaching develop as well. Over the past 18 years I continue to grow and attend our state coaching clinics and the ABCA. I don’t think you can ever stop learning and seeking knowledge.

Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach?  What makes them stand out?

My first year at Covenant Day was memorable. Those guys were the first and they help build the foundation that we have at Covenant Day now. This years Covenant Day team also stand-out for me. This team is loaded with leaders and guys that want flat out get better. This makes coaching them a joy on a daily basis. Our team chemistry is also at a all time high as well. Most of this is credited to the culture that we have built in our program which is about servant leadership and drinking out of the water hose. The water hose mentality is mental edge that we have established in our program here at Covenant Day.

Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense.  But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them.  Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?

I would say the rivalry for us is Charlotte Christian. We are the only two Christian schools in our conference. I also graduated from Christian and coached there for eight years. Also, my players know a lot of their players. This makes our games interesting and I know my guys look forward to playing them. Our conference is a challenge and with that said we have some great coaches in our fold. Mike Hennessy at Charlotte Country Day is sharp, Jim Cerbie at Providence Day is a wizard, Rod Rachel always gets the most of his teams, Greg Simmons “The Goat” always has one of the best teams in the state, and Kim Cousar has been coaching for a long time and it’s hard to get things past him on the field. I have been blessed to coach against these great men and have learned from them along the way. Each coach has seen so much making each conference game a challenge.

SHORT TAKES

What is your favorite part of practice?

I would say the entire practice. The games belong to my players and the practice are my time. I like to remind myself that I have the best job in the world. Most people are stuck in an office at 2pm in the afternoon. I get to go play outside and coach baseball.

What is your favorite position or skill to coach?  Favorite drill?

My favorite position to coach is infield. I played outfield in college so coaching the infield has been a challenge over the years. But learning and growing over the years I have been able to work with and develop my infielders for high level of play. I also like coaching my catchers as well. Another position that I never played but I work extremely hard to get the information and drills needed for my catchers to develop. My favorite drill is the Japanese Drill. I learned this drill from the Japanese Collegiate National Baseball team. They used my field this summer for practice. Basically, it’s a full team drill that covers just about every defensive situation you may encounter during a game. It’s fast paced and forces players to be alert and to execute the basic fundamentals we need for team defense.

What does your program do on game day that is unique or special?

What makes game days special is our devotions before each of our games. Outside of that our pregame is nothing normal from what you would see from other programs.

What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?

The favorite uniform for us would be the all- white uniforms with our pinwheel hat. We also like our all navy jersey, we can wear either our grey pants or white pants with that jersey.

What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Covenant Day?

I would say our foul territory and our playing surface. We have a lot of space behind home plate and down the lines. Our playing surface is solid and this winter we had it resurfaced. We also enjoy a clubhouse attached to our 1st base dugout, this has been a great place for our team meetings and what we would consider the hub of our facilities.

SPEED ROUND

  • When your team is hitting – coach 3B or dugout? 3B Box
  • When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Signs
  • When your guy hits a HR – high five or fist bump? I get pretty hyped up!
  • When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? Ankle Length Pants
  • When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? Stopwatch
  • When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Painted Lines

What a great start to this new series on our high school coaches!  A huge thanks to Coach Houseton for getting us going in the right direction.  We here at Impact Baseball are wishing him and his program all the best as they continue through the spring!

IMPACT Baseball Welcomes Leighann Bradish to the Staff

IMPACT Baseball has named Leighann Bradish as Director of Client Services. Leighann is a recent graduate from North Carolina State earning degrees in Sociology and Spanish.

Please join us in welcoming Leighann to the staff!

Middle School All Star Event

IMPACT Baseball will be hosting a Middle School All Star Event for the top North Carolina and South Carolina middle school aged players.

Date: Sunday, May 5, 2019

Location: Ting Park (Holly Springs Salamanders Stadium)
1151 N. Main Street
Holly Springs, NC 27540

Cost: $75 per player (includes jersey and game fees)

In order to be considered for the event, a player must do one of the following options:

A)  Player must be recommended by a High School or Middle School Coach using this link: Player Recommendation Form

                                                         OR

B) Player must attend the tryout April 14th at Dirtbags Baseball Training Center (see details below)

Tryout Date: April 14, 2019

Location:
Dirtbags Baseball Training Center (updated 4/13/19 at 5:25 pm)
3376 S. Church Street
Burlington, NC 27215

Time:
1:00 PM

Cost:
Free

To register for the tryout, use this link: Online Tryout Registration

Words of Encouragement

The Phraseology of Baseball

Have you heard any good games lately? That’s right, I said heard. No, not on the radio – which by the way, I love listening to baseball on the radio … very nostalgic – or even on the TV – coincidentally, I often watch games on TV without the sound … figure it out. I am talking about the sounds of the game at the park. You hear all sorts of stuff while watching a game. Beyond the cracks and pings of the bat, the roar of cheering crowds or even the forceful calls by the ump, are the host of one-liners spewed by fans, players and coaches, from little league fields to big league parks.

Recently, I took the opportunity to listen at a game with a fine tuned ear and noted some frequent – and not so frequent – comments and projected announcements. These ranged from true encouragement to obvious information. The list was HUGE. Then I consulted other observers of the game … the list grew even more. By the time IMPACT honcho, Andy Partin, weighed in … the collection had taken on an identity of its own. I had to divide (and conquer) … and portion this analysis into parts – I hope you’ll excuse me for this. So, for installment number one I’ll focus on the “general” and “offensive” categories of comments and phrases. Of course, many of these come with commentary and explanations … many of which are just light reflections. If you use any of these that I poke fun at … don’t take offense, I’m sure I’ve said most of these at some point … although now, I may watch my mouth!

 

General Category

  •  “Humm Babe” … Why do we say this almost with automatic reflex when a player is on center stage? I understand that it is an abridged encouragement of “come on you can do it,” but if the phrase were to be analyzed without the context of the events, wouldn’t it sound ridiculous?
  •  “Come kid” … Just a derivation of “humm babe.” I like to hear the player that alternates between the two … they are showering their teammate with a plea of fortune. Almost a “please do good, please do good, please do good.”
  •  “Whataya say Johnny?” or “Whataya say (pick a number)?” … Here the encourager is placing hope in the player’s ability to respond to the situation with positive results. But the player of focus has an opportunity to answer in a number of alternative fashions – isn’t that nice and thoughtful.
  •  “Thatta boy!” or “Thatta baby!” … Jubilation! This affirms the attempt by the player … as if to say “do this more often.” I use this one a lot with my lab when playing fetch.
  •  “C’mon BOYS!” … This is the pivotal RALLY cry by the self-promoted leader of the masses. It is meant to unify in the face of adversity. Every time I hear it though, it reeks of desperation.
  •  “TEAM on 3 … 1-2-3 … TEAM” … You could replace “team” with anything – hits, runs, applepie … it is symbolic of the groups unity. It is usually done with all hands merged together in a huddle – the caller in the middle – and most of the players’ eyes are scouring the crowd, the horizon, or the ground looking for … urr, something.
  •  “___________! ____________!” … What? You don’t get this one? It’s the repeater syndrome. You can put any line or phrase of choice into the blanks and quickly recognize the phenomena. Watch. “Come kid. Come kid.” See? I knew you’d get it.

I’m sure that more comments could go in this set, but I’ve run out … for now.

Offensive Category

  •  “Ducks on the pond.” “Don’t leave ‘em out there.” … Just two of a gaggle-load of encouragements for the hitter to get the runners in scoring position to the plate. Translation: don’t let us, our fans, and the game of baseball down by squandering this opportunity to score some runs.
  •  “Trade places right here.” … Similar, but very situation specific. Runner at 2B. We want the hitter to smack a double – drive him in. WHEN it does happen, the one that spoke the line usually pushes his shoulders back with an I-knew-he-could-do-it smirk. Whatever.
  •  “Good hold.” … Heard this one this year from a coach proud of his batter for not swinging at a ball. I thought he was coaching wrestling for a minute. Geez. I’ve also heard in recent years, 3B coaches say “NO” to a batter with the ball in flight and halfway to the plate. The results would bring responses of “good job” or “why did you swing at that?” Definitely an example of high level obedience when successful.
  •  “Good eye.” … I guess this means the same as “good hold,” but it provides that batter with a sense of judgment. Almost as if to say, “he has a very good eye for …” – like art.
  •  “Let’s get the bats going.” … Translation: We are not doing very good at the plate, boy this pitcher is good, I wish we could hit better – all rolled into one phrase.
  •  “Drive the ball now.” … This is always said from coach to player with a huge tone of confidence and clarity. Once, I want the player to turn and pop off, “oh, is that what we’re supposed to do?” Just so it’s not my player.
  •  “Don’t try to kill it.” … Translation: stop trying to swing so hard, you aren’t going to hit the ball out of the park! You’re 5’5” and weigh 120!
  •  “Be a tough out.” … To me this says – overachieve … you haven’t done so well today … but right now, play over your head. Maybe I’m reading too much here. I definitely have used this one … it is encouraging to a point. Don’t you think it has that daddy-wants-his-boy-to-be-a-man type tone?
  •  “Be tough with two.” or “protect the plate.” or “don’t let ‘em in.” … These are for the hitter facing the two strike count. Those saying the line are trying to be “there for you man,” … but really, it’s a “sorry I can’t do anything, but I’m pulling for you” sort of line.
  •  “It’s gotta be perfect.” or “one spot, one speed.” or “sit on your pitch here.” or may fave, “it’s gotta be on a tee.” … All are aimed at the batter facing the to-good-to-be-true opportunity of a 2-0 or 3-1 count. Translation: don’t screw this up by swinging at something you can’t hit.
  •  “Be a lead-off”… At the start of any inning, to a guy that is 8th in the line-up. For a reason. C’mon.
  •  “Be ready for the curveball.” or “here comes the deuce.” … This is the announced by the seer – the crystal ball holder – the back-to-the-future time traveler that knows a breaking ball ALWAYS follows the first pitch fastball at many of our lower level contests. After a whiffing swing, often we get, “why’d he swing at that.” OR, or … after the curve drops in for strike two … wait for it … “I told you it was coming.”
  •  “Keep your back elbow up.” … I have so many issues with this one, I’m moving on …

 

Common phrases to baserunners … everyone wants to coach 3rd sometimes

  •  “Get dirty” … after the pick-off was TOO close. Even better is, “I’ll wash the uniform.” Clever.
  •  “Break up two” … a good reminder in the double play situation. Something to say when we don’t have anything to say.
  •  “Turn the page” … after a pick. Didn’t get this one for a long time … still think it’s hokey.
  •  “Probably not his best” … Nope, I was wrong, this one is definitely hokey-er.
  •  “Get a lead” … Before saying this, consider that a reason for a lack of a lead may exist. Because invariably after a close call on a pick-off you’ll hear, “DON’T GET PICKED!”
  •  Without fail, if a third base coach holds a runner with no outs, or even one down and the ball is inbounding to the cut – surely no way he’ll beat the throw, some expert will holler, “SEND HIM COACH.” But – but, if the runner is sent and the play results in an out, similar voices will chorus a, “what were you thinking?” Coaching third can be lonely business.
  •  Another situation that brings a combo of phrases is the ever embarrassing dropped foul pop up. I’ve gotta give AP the credit for this one. As soon as the ball hits, like popcorn from the masses and the dugout we’ll get a tag team on “new life” … followed by “make it hurt.” I never knew we could combine relief and revenge so eloquently.

Again, these are just a small collection of the gargantuan sea of baseball phraseology. It’s part of the game. We’ve been doing it since, “heyyyy, batta batta swing.” I’ve not intended to offend anyone. I’ve actually said most of these I’m sure. All I’ve done is call to attention what an observer hears at the park. Without a prior base of knowledge on the game, most of these really sound silly I think. Sometimes it’s good to laugh at ourselves … I tend to find lots of opportunities personally. It sure is a funny game … in so many ways.

Be on the lookout for my pitching/defense list … coming soon.

Thanks to Andy Partin, my wife Tracy Leary, and countless others that offered a few phrases for consideration.