13U Ruffnecks

13U Ruffnecks Program Overview

2018 13U Ruffnecks

The 2018 13U Ruffnecks are ready to take the field with a roster of 15 players.  This year’s players come from 10 different towns from throughout Massachusetts.  It is a committed group.  The squad is coached by first year head coach Raul Diaz and 8th year coach Steve Zerdelian.  The mission is to learn the game and to develop baseball instincts that serve the best interests of players who desire to become high school varsity contributors with an eye toward college.  We play as many as 70-80 games (see the Schedule Page).  There is plenty of time for everyone.

The 13U year is the entry point to the Ruffnecks experience.  The Fall Baseball program serves as the primary selection mechanism for assembling the 13U roster, though several players are enrolled after Fall Baseball ends.  The Ruffnecks program is decidedly slow and deliberate in selecting our 13U roster.

2018 Preview

The 2018 team features two catchers: Will Fosberg and Tyler Tedeschi.  The outfield is a work in progress with several players in a position to contribute: Lefties Ryan Chandor and Max Gomez will get time.  Matt Morin, Teo Spadaccini, Hunter Stevens, Ben Kuechle, and Oisin Lee will also compete for spots in the outfield.  James Mitchell, James Henshon, Ryan Grundy, and Lee will work in the middle infield.  Early projections show the corners manned by Kuechle, Trevor Grady, Hagan Ward, and John Milewski.  Eleven of the fifteen players project to contribute to the pitching staff.  The 13U Ruffnecks year sees many changes in where players find time on the field.  Lineups are consistent with our motto, “Be a baseball player first, and a position player second.”

13U Ruffnecks 2018 Roster

#Last NameFirst NamePositionsSchoolClassHome Town
12ChandorRyanOF, LHPFesseneden School2022Weston, MA
35FosbergWilliamC, IFKennedy Middle2023Natick, MA
3GomezMaxOF, LHPNoble & Greenough2022Dedham, MA
13GradyTrevorIF, RHPTahanto Regional2022Berlin, MA
22GrundyRyanIF, RHPWeston Middle2022Weston, MA
33HenshonJamesIF, OFRoxbury Latin2023Wellesley, MA
4KuechleBenOF, IF, RHPBelmont Hill2023Lexington, MA
27LeeOisin3B, OF, RHPF.A. Day2023W. Newton, MA
26MilewskiJohn1B, RHPWalsh Middle2023Framingham, MA
15MitchellJamesIFSt. Bernadette2023Southborough, MA
24MorinMatthewOF, IF, RHPClarke Middle2023Lexington, MA
2SpadacciniTeoOF, IF, RHPDiamond Middle2023Lexington, MA
34StevensHunterOF, IF, RHPBrown Middle2023Newton, MA
10TedeschiTylerC, OF, RHPPlymouth Middle2023Plymouth, MA
9WardHagan1B, 3B, RHPWellesley Middle2022Wellesley, MA
Coaching Staff
Raul DiazHead Coach1st Year
Steve ZerdelianAssociate Head Coach8th Year
Ted ChristiePitching 1st Year

What We Look For

Our primary objective is to build a “class” of Ruffnecks who enter the program at 13U.  We look for baseball players with good “Baseball IQ,” and good baseball “I-Will,” which means we like players who demonstrate good instincts and drive.  At 13U athleticism is more important than size.  Small players who have good instincts will grow and develop just as well as those who are bigger and stronger at 13.  Some players may have difficulty making the transition to the big diamond, but if there is a baseball player inside, we will do our best to develop.  We do NOT select our 13U roster for the sole purpose of winning at 13!  We select individuals and families to develop the best class of Ruffnecks we can find. We expect focused players with a sense of purpose.  We expect parents who understand the core principles of non-parent coaching and no involvement during practice and games.  The 13U season is the beginning of a developmental path in the Ruffnecks program. Talent is important.  Purposeful commitment and an understanding of our fundamental principles of teamwork and development is more important.  It is not always easy, but those who stay will be ballplayers.

Developmental and Competitive Objectives

We tell players, “Baseball begins at ninety,” which of course means 90 foot base paths.  For the rest of their baseball careers, players will be on a regulation-sized field.  This is where it is critical to develop a “feel” and instincts for the game.  We coach to instincts and try to develop instinctive players.  Speed and athleticism are important.  We seek players willing to learn new positions, expand their versatility, and who understand that the pyramid of success narrows as one gets older.  Infielders may become outfielders; catchers may become third basemen or first basemen; short stops may become catchers.  The journey can change over time.  The most successful players are baseball players first and foremost; the position they play is secondary to their development as a ball player.  We are conservative with pitchers.  They enter games from the bullpen, not from a position.  We have a pitching coach with our 13U team throughout our workouts and during most of the four month season.  We compete against both 13U and 14U opponents, always stretching our players to adjust to the rapidly increasing speed of the game.

Preparation for the season is undertaken with team hitting sessions, Winter Workouts at Harvard University, and Full-field practices at the New England Baseball Complex in late winter (late February and early March) as weather permits.  Winter Workouts at Harvard are exclusively on the weekends, usually very early in the morning to avoid conflicts with winter sports.  Games commence in March.  The 13U season consists of four months.  Most of 13U activity is conducted with WOOD BATS.  During the spring the 13U Ruffnecks roster occasionally combines with the 14U roster to play some high school JV and freshmen teams during April and May.  Once Memorial Day Weekend rolls around, the objectives of the 13U season shift to tournament baseball through the end of July.  The 13U Ruffnecks play tournaments every weekend, most of them in 14U events.  It is a long and demanding schedule, designed for serious baseball players who wish to be challenged.

Roster Selection & Composition

We do not hurry our selection process.  We look for good players and families.  Our roster is often composed of a core of players from several different towns. The Ruffnecks traditionally field rosters of approximately 15 players, which is both necessary and appropriately managed for a program that plays over 70 games at this age.  Players come from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.  We seek a good mix, and hope that the Ruffnecks experience is an opportunity to expand personal and competitive boundaries.  We use Fall Baseball and Winter Workouts as the primary evaluation mechanisms for selection.  The Ruffnecks program does not hold tryouts in the traditional sense.  We do not schedule “tryout” dates or individual workouts.  Interested players find a way to inquire and get involved with our program in the Fall or Winter.  Candidates should contact the office directly at (508) 409-4106 or by email at neruffnecks@gmail.com. While our selection process is slow and deliberate, it is beneficial for all parties.  Fall Baseball runs for six Sundays in the fall.  Participation in Fall Baseball is encouraged even if a player cannot attend all sessions, as it is a fun and active time with our coaches.  It also provides and opportunity for evaluation in a developmental framework. We have additional candidates join our Winter Workouts.  The most important thing is for interested players to get involved with the program. Our program is experienced and has a proven track record developing players over time (see the “ABOUT” page).

Mission and Philosophy

1st Day Fall Ball

Our mission is to develop baseball players.  We seek players with focus, commitment, and a passion for the game of baseball.  The Ruffnecks program provides experienced non-parent coaching.  We have fun developing young ballplayers as individuals and as a team.  Ruffnecks families make a conscious decision to break away from parental involvement in coaching.  In fact, we ask parents to maintain an “arms length” distance from activities at 13U.  This is important to establishing self-advocacy and accountability for the player.  Our 13U players and team are focused on development first.  The long-term objective is to become a successful high school player and then a college prospect.

Season Schedule

The season runs from late March through the last week in July and includes approximately 70-plus games. The Ruffnecks are a founding member of the Northeast Baseball Alliance (NEBA) in cooperation with several of the most competitive developmental programs in New England.  April and May is devoted to NEBA competition.

  • Team Practices are held indoors during the winter (primarily weekends).
  • We try to hit once a week, usually mid-week during the winter.  All hitting sessions are optional.
  • Practices are generally one day per week during April through mid-May.
  • From March through May most of the game activity is local, with three to four games per weekend played in a series in the NEBA League.
  • There is some mid-week activity during the spring and summer.
  • Beginning with Memorial Day Weekend, the focus of the schedule becomes tournament-oriented. Travel increases.
  • The team roster is generally 14-15 players. We expect all players to contribute. Obviously, some play more than others
  • There are absolutely no “spare parts”… everyone is there to play and develop.  We don’t accept players we won’t play.