"This Much Is Everything"

Coach Penders held up his hand, and spoke frankly to the team.  "This much is everything."
An empty space of about an inch was between his fingers.  "The difference between us winning and losing, the difference between being good and being great... it's this much."
It's the little things that add up.  Execution, having a plan, and smarts.  For most of these young players, they are still finding out who they are, both on and off the field.  Part of being a good ball player is knowing how to make adjustments, and that's hard to do if you're still finding out who you are.  This weekend, the guys didn't make those adjustments, and they got beat... by "this much."  Competing means, that sometimes we lose.  Baseball is itself a game of failure; even the best only hit .300, and while we NEVER want to lose, we have to use the fact that it happens to grow, to be better.  These guys are competitors, and I think they will grow from this weekend.  They certainly have skilled and dedicated coaches to help guide them, but at the end of the day it needs to come from them.

Saturday was a marathon.

Reliever Will Jolin
No, it's not the 4th, it's the 14th.  The Huskies went down in the 15th after a three run top frame from the Bulls offense.  Heck of a way to lose, and an intense game with a few amazing highlights including a bottom of the ninth game tying solo HR from freshman catcher, Max McDowell.  Starter Anthony Marzi went 8.1 innings, and fanned 10.   Read the recaps for more info, it was a great game.

Saturday Game Recap:

Sunday was nervy.  
"You are as good as you believe you are, especially in Baseball."  -Coach Penders
The possibility of being swept usually puts fire into the guys, especially when defending home turf against a foe.  Nobody wants to be swept at home.  Sometimes that pressure makes guys nervy, or apprehensive.  This game had a mix of fire and apprehension.  It was good to see some players trying to  spark some intensity, and get things going later in the game.  Leadership and confidence are integral.  Some guys have it, and others don't.  The guys battled, and came within one in the 8th, but couldn't capitalize on bases-loaded, 1-out situation.  Again, they lost by "this much."  

Sunday Game Recap:

This will most likely be my last post from this trip, as all the main action has ended.  Today (Monday) is office work, and an optional lift.  We're heading over to watch a prospect player later today as well.  I'll go check it out, and if there is more to report, I'll throw it on the blog.  Otherwise I leave tomorrow, making the long journey across the pond to Lisbon.  

I want to again state just how wonderful this experience has been for me.  I've learned a ton, seen new techniques and drills, seen some things that we've been doing in Portugal which is always good reinforcement, and been around a ton of baseball.  Thank you to Coach Penders for allowing me the honor of wearing the UConn jersey, I wore it with pride.  Thank you to Coaches Jeff Hourigan and Chris Podeszwa for sharing their wisdom and making me feel like part of the team.  A very big thank you to Coach Josh MacDonald for hosting me, and to the MacDonald family for their hospitality.  All the coaches and staff at UConn and University of Hartford have been fantastic, really world class people and programs.  Another thanks to the EBCA for the opportunity to come and grow and learn from Coach Penders and crew.  The EBCA continues to do great work, and grow the sport in Europe with so many great initiatives.  Thank you!!!

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