The NEB 12U Dirt Dogs won 3 out of 4 games in another full weekend of double-header baseball which also revealed the unintended consequences of participating in town-based Cal Ripken programs along with a full AAU commitment.
NEB vs. Triple-Play on 5/1
On Saturday, NEB played the Triple-Play All-Stars from Central Mass. at Pirone Park. The Dogs took the first game 2-1, opening up an early 2-run lead in the 1st inning with runs scored by Matt and Jonathan. Good defense anchored by Aaron behind the dish and Matt at 1st combined with strong pitching from Anthony for 3 innings including 5 strikeouts kept Triple-Play scoreless until the 5th inning. Mike P. pitched in relief, earning the Save while Anthony took the win. On offense, Matt hit a double while Jonathan and David both went 2 for 2 with singles. and Brad also clubbed a single. Aaron scored 4 times while Jonathan and David each scored twice.
NEB then lost to Triple-Play 20-14 in a slugfest which saw runs scored by the entire batting orders of both teams while they clubbed each other nearly to death. NEB scored 6 runs in the 1st inning which was answered by Triple-Play with 8 runs in the 2nd. Then it was ON. The heavy-hitter of Game #2 was Aaron, who went 4 for 5 while hitting 2 singles, a double and a triple. Matt and Jonathan each hit 2 singles for RBIs, Collin stroked a 2-RBI double, and Brad, Scott, David, Rohit and Anthony each added singles to NEB’s part of the beat-down. The NEB pitching rotation ended up as a true team effort, with Nick starting, Zach in early relief and Mike D. closing.
NEB vs. Groton Bulldogs on 5/2
On Sunday, NEB played the Groton Bulldogs in Groton. The Dogs took the first game 12-7, with Matt on the mound for 3 innings while striking out 7 and allowing 2 hits. Matt then moved to 1st and Rohit pitched in relief, earning the Save while Matt collected his 5th Win of the season. On offense, Aaron was once again the Big Gun, going 3 for 4 with a triple and 2 singles. Jonathan also went 2 for 4 with a triple and single. Brad and Rohit both hit 2 singles, and Matt, Anthony, Zach, David and Nick all contributed singles. Zach scored 3 times, while Aaron, Jonathan and Collin all scored twice.
The Dogs also took the second contest 9-3, with Brad on the mound and going deep into the game while pitching 4 innings and striking out 4. Aaron pitched in relief, closing the door with his knuckleball and striking out 3. Brad took the Win and Aaron the Save. With the Dogs at bat, Aaron went 2 for 4 with a double and single, Matt went 2 for 2 with singles, Brad clubbed a double, and Jonathan also stroked 2 singles. Mitch and David also hit key singles to round out the effort. Matt and Jonathan both scored twice.
The Value of Pitch Counts
Last week was Opening Week for Cal Ripken baseball in this area, and a majority of the players on AAU teams also play on town-based teams in order to qualify for the All-Star Tournaments in early Summer. This is the first time I have had to balance competing schedules along with pitch counts. The matter of pitch counts is crucial because it is imperative that young, competitive players be protected from injuries due to overuse and repetitive stress. Having two competing schedules can make for too much baseball in a short period of time, so it is the parent’s responsibility to be on top of this issue and communicate with all coaches to set some protective limits. Here is the current Pitch Count recommendation from Little League International for younger pitchers which is based on sports science and is a good foundation to manage your player’s physical well-being:
Daily Pitch Limits
- 13-16 years (95 pitches per day)
- 11-12 years (85 pitches per day)
- 9-10 years (75 pitches per day)
- 7-8 years (50 pitches per day)
Rest Requirements (16 years and younger)
- 61 or more pitches = 3 calendar days rest
- 41-60 pitches = 2 calendar days rest
- 21-40 pitches = 1 calendar day rest
- 1-20 pitches = no calendar days rest
Pitchers also can’t pitch in consecutive games unless 40 or less pitches were thrown in the previous game. Read more here from the Little League publication on pitch counts and protecting the arms of young pitchers. It is the parent’s responsibility (not the coach’s) to make sure that their kids are protected.
The 12U NEB Dirt Dogs now have a 7-5 Divisional record. Stay tuned for next weekend’s action…