Under-9 all-stars boast strong pitching

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2007

Special To The Times

HOKES BLUFF &8212; The Demopolis pitchers of the 9-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team displayed the form that made it such a dominating pitching staff during the regular season at the state tournament.

In the four games over a two-day period, these young pitchers combined for 35 strikeouts, 16 walks and 5 earned runs, to record a remarkable 2.04 ERA.

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According to Sellers that ability didn&8217;t just materialize. The pitchers practiced everyday two hours prior to the regular team practice. The five pitchers spent the better part of that time going through warm-ups, stretching, conditioning and pitching drills that didn&8217;t always involve a baseball.

To prepare for such situations, during practice, once each player threw his pre-game bullpen, he would walk to the mound where Sellers would give him the situation. It might be top of the first inning with one out or bottom of the sixth with two outs, bases loaded and a 2-1 count on the batter. If the pitcher succeeded, he sat down while his teammate went through the same situation. If he failed, he found himself running.

By the third week the pitching staff was succeeding more and running less, said Sellers, but more importantly they were pulling for each other and coming together. He said the pitchers came to appreciate the work they were putting in and the results they were getting as the state tourney approached.