Three's company: Spring Youth Baseball looking to challenge Dodgers and Royals in Troy's crowded summer baseball scene
For the Renegades, the story starts at their local Little League fields in Lansingburgh, Brunswick and Twin Town, just to name a few. But around the age of 10 or 11 - about five years ago - this team came together at Spring Youth Baseball, near the Emma Willard School campus in Troy.
The players and their parents believed that Spring would offer them a better challenge on the diamond than they would receive elsewhere.
As 12-year-olds, they finished in third place in a qualifying tournament for the Cal Ripken World Series. A year later, they won the 13-and-under AABC World Series in Michigan. Last year, the team was seeded first after pool play in a World Series in Lynchburg, Va.
This summer, the Renegades are headed to a national tournament in Nashville, which starts this week. They also hope to clinch a berth to the AABC World Series in Owasso, Oklahoma, which begins in early August.
Ultimately, Spring Youth Baseball is hoping that the pioneering Renegades pave the way for baseball for players aged four through 18 at Spring in the near future.
Spring is planning to construct two or three more smaller fields to give more opportunities to the four to eight year-old players just learning the game.
Spring will also have a permanent home for its 13-and-older teams with a 90-foot diamond somewhere in the city in 2011. They hope to draw some of the top teams from the Northeast to Troy for games, just like their neighbors, the Lansingburgh Royals and the South Troy Dodgers.
Is it a crazy idea? Sure it is. The Capital Region has an established path for talented players to follow to college baseball and beyond, but the folks at Spring seriously believe that they have the energy and the passion necessary to push a brand-new program for teenagers into the stratosphere of local baseball.
"I told these kids, as long as you’re having fun and you continue to do it, I’ll use every ounce of vacation I have you," said head coach Kevin McGrath. "I’m also on the City Council, which is a job in itself.
"I miss a couple of meetings here and there, but it’s worth it," he continued. "You only get one shot, you really do. So it’s worth it. To see these kids start to get looked at by colleges, it’s worth it. It really is."
It will be interesting to monitor Spring's progress over the years and see if they can meet the ambitious goals they've set out to accomplish. Again, for the full story, check out Sunday's edition of The Record.
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