This would be the first game in three seasons that the boys would be taking the field separately. They were ready, I was not. My heart was struggling with the idea that I would have to choose one kiddo over the other at some point or another during this season BUT luck was on our side and when the regular season schedules came out, we had ZERO overlap out of 28 games. This meant that both Justin and I would get to watch both boys play, they would get to watch their brother play but it also meant our next 6 months were going to be spent at the ball fields. Good thing I love not only love them but I love baseball too.
Up first was the Aces 9u team--Kaden's team. We have a number of familiar faces on the team but we picked up some new faces that instantly fit into the Aces family. They got new uniforms for this "new" team and man do they all look sharp.
Last season was the first kid pitch season and Kaden struggled at the plate. He had zero trust when it came to the pitchers he was up against and he wouldn't swing the bat. I don't think he actually swung until the last few games and he had one "hit", and I say "hit" because he was thrown out but he made contact and EVERYONE was on their feet when it happened. I wasn't sure what to expect. Justin and I decided that we would bribe him---for every swing we would pay him a quarter. Money motivates the kid. And it worked. First up to bat and he got a hit, like a REAL hit. Now he struck out one other time and then walked but that didn't matter, he did his job and earned himself some money at the same time.
Justin and I were so very proud that he got up there and was swinging---and at good pitches too. Now, to focus in and connect. He'll get there. Sadly, they didn't get too many chances in the field to make play but they walked away with a win! Aces 9u were 1-0.
Fast forward a week and he was our starting pitcher. I was a nervous wreck. Not that I was worried that Kaden would get a ball hit back to him and it would hurt him, but more so because pitching is a head game and Kaden can easily get frustrated. But he proved that I had zero to worry about and he rolled that evening. He pitched three innings, striking out 6, throwing out 1, allowing 1 hit and only 2 runs. His defense backed him up & the offense piled the runs on. He and a buddy switched positions in the fourth inning and his buddy kept with it and the two of them helped secure another win.
As good of a game as he had on the mound, it wasn't the same at the plate. He struggled again and he knew it. He couldn't shake it off and got frustrated each time he was at bat when he struck out, swinging or not. For the most part, he had his moment (quietly) and then walked back out to the mound and continued to perform. I was so proud of his effort and tried telling him that he played the role that his team needed him to play. He gave them the chance to win that game and he should be happy about his overall performance. He wasn't buying that and was stuck on how he "sucked" at hitting. So, since he was swinging, I figured it was time to reach back out to Nate at DBats and build that confidence. Let's hope a few lessons with Nate will have him back on track and he'll be smiling from both sides of the field---and if not, let's hope he can get a few walks! Either way, it's going to be fun season watching the Aces play.