Orcutt’s 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star team is having another fantastic summer.
As I write this, they are in Surprise, Ariz. for the second straight year, playing in the Babe Ruth Pacific Southwest Regional Championship Tournament.
They’ve won their first two games — beating Northern California’s Bel-Mateo 11-0 and Hawaii’s Oahu Thunder 2-1 — and are getting ready to play Southern California champion Torrance Thursday in the final winner’s bracket game.
Since I can’t be in Arizona this week, I’ve relied on Orcutt manager James Steels and assistant coach Joe Adams for the details and photos of each game so that I could, in turn, write up the game reports for our website and in print in the Santa Maria Times.
As with any good story, there is a lot more that I could say but space limitations limit just how long any of our stories can be.
That’s where our Blogs come in.
Blogs are a place where we can add some of the things that don’t make it into our stories.
It’s also a place where we can express our opinions.
And in my opinion, these kids are doing very well.
What doesn’t get into the day-to-day coverage is just how special Orcutt’s coaches are.
Steels, Adams and Pat Crowley spend countless hours working with their players. They are doing a wonderful job.
I’ve covered a lot of games in my 50-year career. I’ve seen all kinds of coaches.
All three will tell you it’s their players who are special.
They won’t say it so I will — I think these three are just as special.
They want their kids to shine in the spotlight but I think they deserve to be in the same spotlight.
James is a former big league player. He played for San Diego, Texas and San Francisco from 1987-89.
Joe has been coaching baseball and football for years. He was Orcutt’s manager last year when pretty much the same boys went to the Pacific Southwest Regionals as 13-year-olds. Joe and James swapped spots for this year’s run.
Pat is a longtime baseball player. He still plays in a recreation league when he’s not on the field with the Babe Ruth team.
They are all pretty amazing when working with their players.
They are constantly teaching.
Even more, they are constantly encouraging. They keep everything positive.
While the boys are amateur players, the coaches are consummate professionals.
You can see it on the practice field.
You always see it during games.
While none of them will take any credit, the things they do on the field translate directly into wins.
I’ve seen them out-coach other teams – picking up the other team’s tendencies and pitching patterns, taking advantages of the others teams weaknesses. They are always working to give their players an edge.
And when Orcutt shows up, the entire team is in uniform — coaches included.
You don’t see that very often at this level.
As I said, the coaches try to deflect the credit, putting the kids first.
I tried to get James to take some of the credit and here’s what he said to me.
“Joe, Pat and I couldn’t do this without the help of all the parents. They’ve been invaluable. They are all great parents and to come out in this heat, help the kids, help us get everyone to the games. making sure all they kids stay hydrated – I have to tell you how special they are.
“Every parent is here with us in Arizona; Bobby Navarro, Charlie Delgado, Nick Cantor, Nick Thayer, Jonathan Ibarra, Danny Samuel, Damon Badenell, David Espinola, Curtis Dulay and all their wives — They’ve been with us every step of the way.
“And we wouldn’t be here without the support of the community, people like Home Motors who have helped us and so many more.”
Orcutt also wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the commitment, passion and knowledge of its three coaches.
As journalists, we root for great games.
We don’t take sides and try to report the facts accurately.
But as fans, we can root for our favorite teams and I, along with thousands of others, am rooting for Orcutt to go all the way.
Oh, and James, make sure you call me after the game.