Maddie's team sounds exactly like my DD's team!It's been a while since I updated this, so here we go...
We are down to the last couple of game of the HS season, and it's been a pretty rough journey. The wide range of skill/talent level, and having only a few TB players, has lead to some challenges in putting together a consistent and effective defense. Likewise, hitting abilities range from good to terrible. All that said, the team isn't the worst in the league. There are two teams that are a big step down from ours, including one where their only pitcher is consistently in the low-30s. One the flip side, the top teams are stacked deep with very good travel players, including some that are committed to D1 schools. Those teams easily curb-stomp us (worst loss was 26-0). There is a middle team that we think we can beat if we play a good game. The previous meeting was an 8-4 loss with all 8 of their runs being unearned. We play them on Tuesday.
One of the things that has really stunned me is the seething negativity that constantly pours out of a few parents. They rip the coach, the players, and a couple of other parents. They are also the parents of some of the better players on the team. There's also a guy that constantly criticizes his DD, even when she does a good job, He's also the one coaching the whole team from outside the fence all game long. This is - by far - the worst group of parents I've been around.
The coach is new to HS ball, and has had all his previous experience in rec ball. He leaves a lot to be desired in some areas, but he has a good heart, gives it his absolute best effort, and is open to learning. As many things as I would do differently, I keep my mouth shut about it. He was willing to take on the task, and I wasn't. Without him, there wouldn't be a team. The school was very late in hiring him, and he has no AC. From time to time, the HC and I have had lengthy phone conversations about players, lineups, and game strategies. I appreciate that he confides in me, and I think I've been able to help him in a couple of areas. Next year, I expect him to be a little better, especially if he can get someone to help him.
Some good things...Maddie loves her teammates, likes the HC, and is liked and respected by all of them. She has gotten a very large majority of the innings behind the plate, and has been the #3 or #4 batter in every game. She leads the team in nearly every offensive category (AVG .436, OBP .542, SLG .769, 2 HR, 15 RBI), is one of the top 3 freshmen players in the league, and top-20 overall. She also was the first player on her team to hit an OTF bomb.
The team is on pace to equal the most number of league-game wins that they've had in the last 10 years (maybe longer). Next year, if all of the top players return, we expect an improvement in a couple of areas with some of the incoming freshmen, including a very-talented SS/CF with fantastic speed and a good bat. She will be a difference-maker in an area that has been a weakness - mid IF.
Most importantly, Maddie is having fun, learning more about the game, and making new friends. However, she really misses having a full team of players around her that play at her level, and is excited for the re-start of her travel team next weekend.