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New Season: Fall Baseball Begins

13s Doing PFP Drills

Sunday, September 8th welcomed sunny skies and 45 new 13 year old players to the 13U Ruffnecks Fall Baseball program.  The session began at 8:00 in the morning.  For three brisk hours players ran drills, took reps, and generally got accustomed to baseball on the “big diamond.”  It is a distinctive change of mindset for many players and families.  Batting practice on Field 1 of the NEBC demonstrated how different it really is!  Few balls were hit into the outfield real estate, and even fewer were hit where high school and college teams would position their outfielders.  But this is all part of the plan.  The newest group of 13 year olds were focused, earnest, and active.  Drill stations covered two full fields at the NEBC.  Among the concepts covered were taking leads from 1B; how to dive back to the bag; infield footwork and hand work; and basic long toss protocol.  Sound simple?  Well the game is very simple when it is played correctly and instinctively… That is the introductory message of the 13U Ruffnecks Fall Baseball program.  Each week we layer on more and more information, skill work, and team concepts.  The program runs until the end of October (Sundays ONLY).

HS Wood & College Prep Programs Also Underway

Approximately 80 players are participating in the Fall HS Wood and College Prep programs.  These sessions are a combination of limited drill work and games.  Some games are REd vs. Blue… intrasqaud events with umpires.  They are real games, but allow for some concepts to be taught in the first half hour of activity.  There are also some NEBC Fall League games in which players can participate.  Rosters are shuffled each week.  Ruffnecks Fall Baseball is a relaxed, weekend-only season to enjoy some innings and play.

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Isan Diaz is a Ruffnecks 1st!

Isan Diaz with 13U Ruffnecks

Less than a month ago Isan Diaz was in Nashville with the Triple A Miami Marlins affiliate from New Orleans.  Fresh off his participation at the All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland, Isan stayed in the Nashville hotel with his dad, Raul Diaz, who was coaching the 13U Ruffnecks at the CABA World Series during the same period.  In other words, he was in the same hotel as the 13U and 14U Ruffnecks… doing his own laundry in the same machines as we did the 13U and 14U laundry.  On Sunday night, July 14th, Isan Diaz made arrangements to provide tickets for the entire 13U team to the Nashville Sounds vs. New Orleans Babycakes game.  He met with the young ‘Necks, posed for a picture, signed a few things, and went about his business as a baseball player.  He hit a home run to the delight of the young players who just adopted a new “best friend” baseball hero.  Amazing.

The call to the Big Leagues came on Sunday, August 4th.  The first start was Monday, August 5th in a doubleheader at Citi Field against the New York Mets.  Of course Papa Diaz and the family, including Raul Jr. (17U Ruffnecks) traveled to New York to see Isan’s debut.  Also traveling to Citi Field was Dan Brookes, former Ruffnecks coach, who saw Isan Diaz in Springfield, Massachusetts and recommended the Ruffnecks program for the young 15 year old.  Many others from the Ruffnecks extended family were watching live on the MLB Network as Diaz found himself in the lineup for the 4:00pm game at 2B and hitting second in the lineup.  Among those watching from afar was Coach Kirk Fredericks, another Ruffnecks coach instrumental in Diaz’ growth and development.  In fact it was Fredericks’ tough love that provided a shot of reality to the young Diaz early in his first few weeks of summer baseball with the Ruffnecks.  The young Diaz was taken out of two consecutive games for simple reasons, such as not running hard.  Never happened before… but dad and Isan knew then that such lessons were tough, but formative.  Later that summer, at Auburn University, he sat another game for forgetting his uniform on the bus.  Another formative moment.  By the end of that summer and during the next season, Diaz attracted plenty of attention, including a potential offer from Vanderbilt.  But after his senior season in high school, Isan was drafted in the 2nd round, signed, and has worked hard ever since as a professional.

Home Run!

August 5, 2019 was the day that Isan Diaz became the first Ruffnecks player in our 16 year history to play in a Major League game.  And it was an extraordinary debut.  As his dad, Raul Sr., was being interviewed on television by the Marlins affiliate, Isan launched a two-strike pitch over the Mets bullpen for a home run… his first Major League hit in his first Major League game.  Off Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom!  The moment, and the reaction captured on video continues to go viral.  It is an amazing display of devotion and love for a son who has made it to the Big Leagues.  Many in the Ruffnecks extended family, from former Ruffnecks pitching coach Matt Blake (Cleveland Indians), former teammates, to current coaches and players commenced texting and calling each other with joy and amazement.  So happy for the first day, the first hit, the first HR… the first Ruffneck.  The joy continues.

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2019 Ruffnecks Fall Baseball

       Click on Image above for Registration Form.

The Week Ahead - Notices

(Updated Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 6:00am)


HS Wood & College Prep Rosters are posted.

13U Fall Baseball
Sunday, Sept. 22
8:00am Report
NEBC Field #1

HS Wood Bat League Gm
Saturday, Sept. 21
10:45 League Game
NEBC Field #1
Roster Posted

HS Wood Bat Session
Sunday, Sept. 22
Red v. Blue
NEBC Field #3
Roster Posted

College Prep Session
Sunday, Sept. 22
Red v. Blue

NEBC Field #3
Roster Posted

College Prep League Gm
Sunday, Sept. 22
3:30pm (Note: Time Change)
NEBC Field #2
Roster Posted

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