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.
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.
- 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 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!
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, hat 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
B) Player must attend the tryout April 14th at Southern Alamance High School (see details below)
Tryout Date: April 14, 2019
Location: Southern Alamance High School
631 Southern High School Road
Graham, NC 27253
Time: 1:00 PM
To register for the tryout, use this link: Online Tryout Registration
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!
- “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.
- “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.
Attention Travel/Showcase Teams
We’ve been hosting showcase baseball events since 2001.
Advantages of Playing SUMMER IMPACT Baseball Tournaments
- Play a minimum of 2 games on a COLLEGE Field at EVERY IMPACT Tournament this Summer (select 14U events do not apply)
- Unmatched prices for the value
- No games before 9:00 AM
- Games times have 30 minutes scheduled between games to ensure more time to warm-up
- Only high-quality fields are used
- Limited number of teams per tournament to maintain quality
- Invitation only format
- Great competition
- Well thought out and considerate team scheduling
- Fewer fields = less travel
- And much more!
If your team plays in 5 or more tournaments, we offer a rebate per event. Ask about details when you e-mail.
Email us at ImpactBaseballTournaments@gmail.com to request your spots! Sign-up details will be emailed back once your team’s spots have been reserved.
Please note, all IMPACT tournaments SOLD OUT in 2018. So don’t waste time and request your dates today!
We look forward to working with you in 2019! Be safe and play IMPACT this summer!
Impact Baseball is excited to host our Preseason College Coach Showcase Camp on January 12 at centrally located Southern Alamance high school featuring over 30 different colleges.
We have been operating camps since 2001. Be safe, attend IMPACT Camps.
*This camp is for 9-12 graders.
- Showcase Schedule: Sat./JAN 12 – 11:00 AM at Southern Alamance high school baseball field
- Camp Includes: Instruction, defensive workout, batting practice, pitcherbull pens, college coach speakers, etc.
33 Colleges Instructing
- Brunswick CC
- Catawba Valley CC
- Florence-Darlington Tech
- Guilford Tech CC
- Mid-Atlantic Christian
- Mount Olive
- NC Wesleyan
- Paul D Camp CCPeace
- Pitt CC
- Randolph Macon
- Rockingham CC
- Saint Andrews
- Southeast CC
- Wake Tech CC
- Winston-Salem State