Expectations high for Babe Ruth All Stars
By Sparta Live | July 9, 2012 12:00 am
According to Babe Ruth manager, Ken Temple, expectations are high for Sparta’s 15-year old All Star team, which will be hosting the District Tournament July 12-15.
The All Star tournament, which is being played at the WCHS baseball field on the east side of town, swings into action on July 12th at 6 p.m. with Crossville taking on Lebanon. The winner of that game will play Livingston in a 6 p.m. game on the 13th.
The first action for the Sparta team will be on the 12th at 8 p.m. against Fentress County.
The championship game is slated for 2 p.m. on July 15th. The state tournament will be played in Lebanon beginning July 20th.
Temple, who is the manager of the All Star team, has been very busy with baseball in White County this spring and summer. In addition to coaching the Sparta Yankees, which won the local Babe Ruth tournament, he was also president of the local league. He spent the month of June coaching the Warrior baseball summer league team and will be coaching the junior varsity team this month. He has two sons, Ian, who played Babe Ruth, and Isaiah, who played in Little League and was also an All Star.
The members of the Sparta Babe Ruth All Stars are: Ethan M. Roberts, Ian Temple, Ty Cloyd, Darin Cole, Ethan T. Roberts, Tyler Brock, Seth Davis, Colton Hudgens, Preston Parks, Tyler Qualls, Allen Newport and Zack Flatt.
Assisting Temple will be Jason Cloyd and Mike Roberts.
Temple talked about his coaches, “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without Jason Cloyd. Jason and I have taken the 13’s & 14’s together in the past three years and now this year, the 15’s. Jason keeps me on target with our plans and goals and has a very good understanding of the game, but most of all he keeps me calm. The relationship we’ve developed is the absolute best coaching relationship a manager could ask for. Mike Roberts, who has been helping Jason and I with the high school travel team, is also another essential element to the staff. He is our chart keeper and pitch count keeper, who really helps me make my on-the-fly decisions for pitches and positional shifts. I could not have done any of this during this summer without the two of those guys. This could be my last year as the Babe Ruth president (provided we find a suitable replacement) so I’d like to go out with a bang.”
As far as his expectations for this team, Temple has only one – that is to advance.
He noted, “The expectation for us going into this district tourney is to advance, no exceptions. This is the absolute best shot we’ve had in years of getting past the state with boys of this age group, and we’ve been working very hard this summer collectively to make that happen. Based on the past few years of Babe Ruth tourneys, and performances of those cities high school JV teams, I would say Lebanon would be the favorite, but I honestly can’t see anyone stopping us.”
Temple feels the strength of his team is the pitching.
He continued. “With the addition of Ethan M. Roberts to the squad this year, pitching is very deep. We’ve also picked up Tyler Qualls, another pitcher who may see a few innings here and there throughout the tourney. Along with Ethan in the starting rotation is one of the team’s co-captain’s, Darin Cole. Darin is not only one of the strongest pitchers on the team, but one of the strongest in this area for his age. My third starter, who I’m looking to start against Jamestown in the tourney opener is Tyler Brock. Tyler has dealt with some arm issues in the past few months but after a few solid weeks of rest, looked very strong in his last high school JV summer team start against Shelbyville. When you look at our 12-man roster, you will see that everyone pitches with the exception of two players. I think Zack Flatt who is a strong lefty, is very underestimated, and will come in handy during this tourney on the hill along with Ian Temple and Seth Davis.”
As far as concerns going into the tournament, Temple worries about injuries.
“My biggest concern is going into this is keeping everyone healthy. I have several kids with small injuries, nothing major, but no one has had any real rest this summer. All of these boys have been playing baseball solid since March with little or no break and no real break until high school summer ball ends on July 29th. We’ve consciously not practiced them to death like one would typically think we’d do, and it’s due to this one factor.”
Temple also discussed his team’s performance at the plate, “When it comes to hitting, some of our boys are strong contact hitters and some are just feast or famine. We really need to just clear our minds and hit the ball where it’s pitched. We basically just need to be smart at the plate and not waste any opportunities.”
Defensively, he said, “When it comes to fielding, I basically have no doubt in any position on the diamond. I have two of everything and who plays where, will be determined of course by who is on the bump. Allen Newport is with us this year and is a traditionally tall first baseman with a gold glove, an exceptional bat, and of course he can pitch too.”
Temple feels another big advantage of this team is the team chemistry.
“I think another few advantages that we have this year is the rapport that we’ve developed as a team during the high school travel games and hosting the tourney on our diamond is going to be a big plus. This particular group of boys works very well with each other and they all are baseball minded, but still have a lot to learn. We really need to watch our body language when we make mistakes or if things just don’t go our way (that’s when wheels seem to fall off). I would like to see these boys shake things off the moment they happen, almost as if they never happened at all. When that’s achieved individually and as a whole, I would say then that I’ve done my job. Baseball is alive and well in Sparta and I’m glad to see us hosting this tourney and getting to play it on the high school field. Coach (Shaun) Floyd was very open to the idea and has supported us with every need we’ve had so far.”
Temple also talked about what lies ahead.
“If we are fortunate enough to make it out of the district this weekend, we will head to Lebanon for the state tourney, which is scheduled to start on Friday, July 20th. The regionals are slated to begin on August 8th and are going to be played in Ocala Florida. The Babe Ruth World Series is slated for the 18th of August and is going to be held in Van Buren, Arkansas. Although that may seem to be getting ahead of ourselves, I can’t help but to have faith that my boys will battle out that way mid August.”
As far as the tournament beginning this week, the general admission price is $5 per game or a tournament pass, good for all nine games, can be purchased at the gate for $15. Tourney t-shirts will also be available for $15.
Temple concluded, “Our District tourney will be a very well put together event with the best umpires in our area. Red Turner’s Sporting Goods put us in some of the best uniforms on the market and they’ve also put together some very nice tournament t-shirts, which represents all the teams playing. I would like to send a personal thank you to all the parents, the businesses for their financial support, the White County fair board, Coach Floyd and his staff for supporting us and, most importantly, the boys for all their hard work. It really seems like Sparta is getting back into the business of building true ball players again and I’m proud to be a part of it.”