2008 Norcross 10U Blue Devils Diary

6/15/2008 – Scales Tip to Dawgs 10 - 8 – After dominating their bracket in the first day of the USSSA 2008 AAA Sub State Boys Baseball 10 & Under Tournament, Norcross came up light against the Georgia Elite Dawgs.

Falling behind by 4 runs in the 1st inning and down 8 – 0 after 3, the Blue Devils finally put 2 runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

In the second day with single elimination bracket play at Rockdale County’s Legion Fields on Father’s Day Sunday, it was the 5th inning before the Blue Devils finally weighed in with 5 runs to pull within 2 runs of the Dawgs.

With 2 wins and a loss, Norcross was just a little light compared to the Elite Dawgs and left Legion Fields at the mercy of the tournament tie breaker rules to determine if the Blue Devils would advance to the State Tournament.

The team learned later that despite the winning tournament record, Norcross lost out on the “Runs Allowed” tie breaker to the Rockdale Rhinos who allowed 18 versus Blue Devil allowed 20 runs to gain the 3rd State Tournament berth.

With this 52nd game of the 2008 season, the 10U Blue Devils compiled a .627 winning season with an overall 32 - 18 - 2 record. As Coach Walch noted in his closing remarks, every kid on the team was a hero at many times in this tournament and over the very successful GGBL season.

The 10U Blue Devil players and coaches have all earned the respect of opposing GGBL and tournament teams alike.

Having said that, the Norcross coaches threw all of the players into a pile in the outfield and said, see ya at the team party in August!!!

6/14/2008 – Birthday Battery Chills the Dogs 6 - 3 – Who knew when they were born just 12 hours apart at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, the two birthday boys would reunite 11 years later to make their parents proud again.

Jesse Vaughan and Zack Walch combined on the mound Saturday afternoon, both pitching for Norcross, to hold the Homeplate Chili Dogs to just 3 runs in 5 innings as the Blue Devils dominated their bracket in the first day of the USSSA 2008 AAA Sub State Boys Baseball 10 & Under Tournament.

The game was deadlocked 1-1 going into the bottom of the 3rd inning when Zack Walch gave the Chili Dogs a stomach ache with a lead off triple. Griffin Ramsey followed with a 2 RBI single, Mikey Olson added an RBI double, and Chris McNulty padded the lead with an RBI single to go up 5-1 on the queasy looking Chili Dogs.

Relief pitching in the 5th inning with a 3 run lead, Zack Walch worked out of trouble picking off a runner at first base and then caught a pop up 3rd out to earn the “ball game” cry from the game umpire.

The Blue Devils travel back to Rockdale County’s Legion Fields on Father’s Day Sunday for a 12:40 PM game in the second day of the 2008 USSSA Sub State Boys AAA Baseball 10 & Under Tournament.

6/14/2008 – Blue Devils Bite Copperheads 8 - 7 – Vying for one of three State Championship berths, the Blue Devils faced the Coweta Copperheads at Legion Fields in Conyers in the first day of the USSSA 2008 AAA Sub State Boys Baseball 10 & Under Tournament.

Meeting the Copperheads for the second time in 2 years, today the Norcross Blue Devils came from behind to edge the snakes by a run in an exciting 5th inning finish.
Norcross batters were productive swinging big barrel bats as Nellie Stewart put the Coweta snakes in a trance early with a 3 RBI single in the first inning.

Commanding the mound for the Blue Devils, starting pitcher Sam Grosswald went 4 strong innings allowing only 1 earned run. Tied 6-6 in the top of the 5th inning, snake charmer Andrew Thunhorst followed the hard throwing Grosswald to mesmerize the Copperhead batters and keep the game in check.

Andrew came to the plate in the bottom of the 5th with Zack Walch on base, and swung for a “walk off” RBI bringing Zack home for the game winning run.

5/29/2008 – Panama City Pictures – Dave Nelson has uploaded the pictures from the Panama City tournament.  Please have a look.

6/10/2008 - Scrimmage Tonight - Our game tonight vs. the Norcross Southern Minor All-Stars will begin at 7:30pm at Pinckneyville Park.  Norcross will wear their white pin striped jerseys.  Batting Practice will begin at 6:30pm or as soon as a coach can get there to throw.  Norcross will wear their blue jerseys on Saturday in Conyers.

6/9/2008 - Sub-State Pool Released - All games this weekend are at Legions Field in Conyers (1249 S. Main Street). We play the Coweta Copperheads Saturday at 2:30pm and the Home Plate Chili Dogs Red Saturday night at 6:10pm.  According to Google Maps, Legions Field is 38.6 miles from Peachtree Corners or about 49 minutes.

Bracket games are on Sunday as early as 9am.  Here is a link to the pool play and brackets for the Conyers USSSA Sub-State Tournament.

If you have been putting off having your eyes checked or need to get some sun for your upcoming beach trip, Saturday morning would be a great time for it!

6/6/2008 – Blue Devils Fall to Hawks 7 - 5 – Playing deep into the GGBL 10U tournament, the Norcross Blue Devils locked horns with the Mill Creek Hawks in their 6th game at Dacula Park.

Starting pitcher Sam Grosswald dominated the Hawks, delivering his best appearance of the season. Sam shut out the potent hitting Hawks for 3 innings allowing only 4 hits and no walks, striking out the last 2 Hawks he faced.

Having scored 44 runs while winning their last three tournament games, Norcross came out swinging right away with consecutive RBIs by Zack Walch, Griff Ramsey and Nellie Stewart to go up 3-0 on the Hawks.

Norcross would add 2 more runs in the 4th to stretch the lead to 5-0 but the Mill Creek bats finally broke out crossing 5 runs in the inning to tie the game. The Hawks went ahead scoring 2 more in the 5th. While Norcross put 2 runners on base and the winning run batting at the plate in the top of the 6th, it was not to be their night.

Reaching the final 4 in the GGBL Tournament, winning 4 of their 6 games, it was an outstanding season for the 10U team. The 10U Devils beat every team in the Gwinnett league and recorded 20 wins versus only 5 losses in their overall GGBL record for 2008.

Norcross players and families are looking forward to the summer holidays, no more drives to Dacula, with the USSSA Sub State Tournament this coming weekend.

6/5/2008 – Blue Devils Punch Out Parkview 6 - 5 – Still stinging from Sunday’s 17-8 mauling by the Parkview Panthers, Norcross won when it counted sending the Panthers home for an early summer holiday.

Norcross started slow, not scoring their first run until the 3rd inning and trailed by a run 3-2 coming up to bat in the bottom of the 4th. After a Jesse Vaughan RBI, Mikey Olson lobbed a bases loaded 2 RBI single over the first baseman’s head into shallow right field to go up 5-3 on the now nervous cats.

Andrew Thunhorst pitched 3 middle innings in relief allowing only 1 inherited runner to score. Griffin Ramsey and closer Sam Grosswald kept the Panthers caged keeping Norcross and Parkview tied 5-5 as the Blue Devils came up to bat in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Norcross struck quickly as a Chris McNulty lead off triple was followed by a Nellie Stewart walk off line drive over the first baseman’s head to win the game 6-5.
Norcross repeats the now familiar run to Dacula Park for a match up against Mill Creek Friday night at 8:15 PM in another “do or die” GGBL tournament game.

6/4/2008 – Triple Play Trips Angels 16 - 6 – The Norcross Blue Devils faced off against the Hebron Angels in GGBL sudden death action Wednesday night at Dacula Park.

After starting pitcher Brendan Furry held the Angels scoreless in the 1st inning, Devil batters Olson, Gassert, and Walch ripped consecutive RBIs to put Norcross up 3-0 after 1. The Angels came back with 3 runs of their own in the 2nd inning and had loaded the bases with no outs when left fielder Griffin Ramsey started a 7-4-5 TRIPLE PLAY! to clip the Angel’s soaring wings allowing the Devils to escape the inning tied at 3 runs each.

Zack Walch earned two halos for an outstanding night starting with a 3 RBI triple to put the Blue Devils up 8-4 in the bottom of the 3rd inning. The lefty came on the mound to relieve with bases loaded in the 4th inning to shut down another Hebron threat.

Catcher Griffin Ramsey earned more halos, gunning down a stealing Angel at 2nd base for the 3rd out in the top of the 4th inning. Grif then returned to the plate and cleared the loaded bases with a 3 RBI double as the Devils run ruled the Angels in 4 innings.

Norcross returns to Dacula Park for a rematch with the Parkview Panthers Thursday night at 8:15 PM in another “win or go home” GGBL tournament game.

6/2/2008 – Lights Out for Black Knights 12 - 1 – With no room for a loss, the Norcross Blue Devils dominated the Lawrenceville Black Knights for the 3rd time this season.

Starting pitcher Mikey Olson got the win shutting out the Black Knights for 3 innings. Mikey allowed only 2 hits, and was backed by error free defense work from his teammates on the night.

Blue Devil batters opened up on the Knights in the 2nd inning scoring 8 runs started by consecutive RBIs by Jacob Gassert, Drew Aspinwall, and Zack Walch. Chris McNulty piled it on with a 2 RBI double then circled the bases to come home for a 3rd run. Sam Grosswald finished the big inning with an RBI double and Drew Aspinwall, later in the 4th, added a 2RBI double to bring the score to 12-0.

Reliever Zack Walch struck out the last Lawrenceville batter as Norcross run ruled the Knights in a short 4 inning game.

Coach Walch gave the team Tuesday night off before returning to distant Dacula Park for a Wednesday night 8:15 PM start against the Hebron Angels where 8 teams remain battling in GGBL tournament action.

6/1/2008 – Panthers Pounce on Blue Devils 18 - 7 – Facing the Parkview Panthers in the second game of the 2008 GGBL Tournament, Norcross was mauled by the orange cats in an 11 run 3rd inning. Norcross threw 3 pitchers against the cats in the inning as the Panthers clawed their way on base and around the base path.

Official team scorer Dave Thunhorst (wishing for McNulty laptop entry skills) wore out pencil after mechanical pencil recording and erasing outs obvious to all but the blue crew, starting new scoring columns to keep up with the ragged action.

Norcross batters managed a 4 run 3rd inning and crossed 2 more in the 4th but it was too little too late to overcome the hot Parkview team today.

After the game the Blue Devil players quickly shook off the disappointment with a birthday celebration cookie cake kindly provided by Cindi in honor of Drew Aspinwall’s 11th birthday.

The Blue Devils travel back to Dacula Monday night for an 8:15 PM scheduled start in an L bracket game in the 16 team double elimination tournament.

5/31/2008 – Blue Devils Tame The Lions 7 - 1 – Opening their first game of the 2008 GGBL Tournament against familiar faces from Peachtree Ridge, Norcross cruised for 6 innings with an early 5 run lead that held for the balance of the game.

Playing at distant Dacula Park in Dacula, the city with a name made up using 3 letters from Decatur and 3 from Atlanta, the boys huddled before the game and agreed to “win this for Andrew” the teammate who was sidelined taking a nasty shot to his mouth in the pre-game warm up drills.

Norcross starting pitcher, Brendan Furry, went 3 innings allowing 1 run. Jesse Vaughan came on in relief for 3 and shut out the Lions, holding the cats to a single run on the afternoon.

Peachtree Ridge threatened early in the 1st with 2 runners on base when the Blue Devils just missed turning a 3-6-2 triple play, managing to get 2 outs with a 3-6 double play to tame the cats.

With strong throwing opposing pitcher Allen Carter painting the outside corner of the plate, Blue Devil batters got it going for 6 runs in the 2nd inning including a Sam Grosswald 2 RBI fly ball triple over the right fielder’s head to establish a firm lead.

The Blue Devils travel back to Dacula Sunday for a 4 PM start against the first round game winner pitting Mountain Park against Lawrenceville.

5/29/2008 – Gwinnett County Championships Bracket Released – The Norcross Blue Devils have emerged as the 2nd Seed from the American League and will play the Peachtree Ridge Lions on Saturday afternoon at 2:30pm.   Full Schedule

5/27/2008 – Blue Devils Over Ocee 16 - 1 – Having been edged by a run in last May’s inter-league play, the Ocee Park Orange Team dared venture to Dan Watts Field for a revenge attempt against the 10U Norcross Blue Devils.

Coach Walch dug deep into the pitching rotation to bring starter Mikey Olson to the mound against the Ocee Orange. Olson went 4 innings shutting out the Ocee Team for 3 and allowing only 1 run over the 4 innings backed by outstanding defensive fielding. Three different Blue Devil first baseman snared opposite field line drives for outs in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd innings, while Chris McNulty erased a 3rd inning Orange runner thinking he could advance to 2nd base on the catcher’s quick arm.

Blue Devil bats supported the strong pitching from the start scoring 3 runs early in the first, followed by 3 in the 2nd, 6 in the 3rd including an Andrew Thunhorst 2 RBI double, and 4 runs in the 4th to dominate the Ocee Orange team 16 -1.

After a final season practice Thursday night, the Blue Devils will board the team SUVs for a Saturday cross county trip down Winder Highway to the GGBL tournament at Dacula Park.

5/27/2008 - Ocee Park Tonight - Norcross will host the 10U Ocee Park team tonight at 7pm at Dan Watts field.  The game will serve as the final warm-up game to the GGBL tournament which will begin this Saturday morning.  We will have our final practice of the season on Thursday night at 7:00pm at Pinckneyville Park.  The GGBL tournament schedule will be sent out late tonight and will be posted as soon as it is available.

5/27/2008 - Panama City Results - Norcross played 3 very tough teams this weekend in Panama City Beach Florida - posting an 0-2-1 record.  In game 1 of 3 early Saturday morning, Norcross got off to a slow start allowing 5 runs in the first inning.  Their comeback bid came up 2 runs short as the time shortened game ended with the Blue Devils loosing 6-4.

In game two following a two hour break, the Blue Devils took on the number one 10U Grand Slam team from Lee County Georgia.  Again the Blue Devils got off to a slow start allowing 3 runs in the first inning.  Only to battle back and take the lead 5-4 with one minute remaining on the game clock after the 5th inning ended.  The Stixx took a 6-5 lead in the top half of the 6th inning.  With Jacob Gassert on 2nd base and Drew Aspinwall up to plate - 3rd base coach gave Drew the bunt signal with one out in the inning.  Drew laid the bunt down and beat out the close play at 1st as Jacob Gassert beat the relay to the plate scoring the tying run from 2nd base on the play.  The Blue Devils were already playing short handed with 9 players when Andrew Thunhorst got hit by a fastball resulting bruised shoulder that took him out of the final game of the day.

In game three of the day, Norcross again trailed early and never threatened until it was too late losing 13-6 to the Traveling Eagles.  The Eagles went on to win two more games before losing in the championship game to the Bay Bombers 11-2 - a team they had beaten twice before.  Losing on Saturday evening and subsequent early elimination from the tournament setup for a Sunday of go-cart racing and more time for the beach - which the boys took full advantage of.

5/21/2008 – Blue Devils Dominate Dacula 7 - 4 – After failing to beat the Dacula Falcons as 9 year olds, the older and wiser 10U Norcross Blue Devils handled the Gold Falcons for the 2nd time this Spring.

Having only one loss on their season (to Norcross), the Falcons rolled into historic Dan Watts field looking for revenge for the spot on their season record.

An all time record crowd for the newly renovated Dan Watts stadium enjoyed brats and burgers thanks to the Vaughan’s and Walch’s while Mary McNulty was again able to sneak into a GGBL venue disguised as the team’s concessionaire.

As play began, announced by a Scott Walch Wisconsin voice double, Sam Grosswald kept a hood on Falcon batters for 3 innings allowing no runs while hot Blue Devil bats and fast feet on the bases ran up 7 quick scores. A pair of strike outs by Sam in the 2nd inning was aided by a Griffin Ramsey throw out of a bird trying for 3rd base to shut down an early Dacula coup escape.

Zack Walch and Jacob Gassert came on the mound in relief for the final 2 innings. The new pitchers were aided in the 5th inning by hunter Griffin Ramsey, who went bird shooting once again, cutting down a Falcon flying for a perch at 2nd base.

With the 2nd win over Dacula, the Blue Devils closed out a highly successful 16-3-1 GGBL season, and by going undefeated at home, took another step closer to a ride on the Fur Bus.

The Blue Devils board the team’s SUVs for a well deserved trip to Panama City, Florida for a weekend of baseball and beach fun, opening the Memorial Day Beach Blast Tournament against the Dothan Diamond Dawgs at 8:30 AM Saturday morning.

5/18/2008 – Devils Dead Heat with Lightning 6 - 6 – A Brendan Furry 5th inning “lip hop” 2 RBI double brought the battling Blue Devils back to tie the South Gwinnett Lightning at 6 runs each after 5 innings.

Playing at historic Dan Watts Field, infield grass still notorious after adding 18 tons of brick dust to the base paths, tricky infield bounces both bedeviled and benefited the Blue Devils on the windy Saturday afternoon game.

While trees were crashing blown down in the wind whirling outfield, 4 Norcross pitchers blew their best stuff past persistent Lightning batters. South Gwinnett came back from an early 2 run deficit to a 5th inning 2 run lead before Brendan Furry, who has been hotter than a fox in a forest fire, drove in Nellie Stewart and Sam Grosswald to salvage the game for the team’s first tie of the season.

The GGBL American League 2nd place Blue Devils wrap up the 2008 season against league leading Dacula Gold this Wednesday night at 7 PM. Playing at the notorious Dan Watts home venue, the game promises to be electric as the Blue Devils handed the Gold Falcons their only loss of the season when the 2 teams last met on March 16th at Dacula Park.

5/17/2008 – Wolves Attack, Norcross Slack 13 - 9 – Not for lack of run production, the Norcross Blue Devil defense laid back and let the Buford Wolves come from behind to bite for 8 runs in the final 4th inning of today’s game at Buford City Park.

Starter Sam Grosswald and middle inning reliever Mikey Olson kept the Wolves penned in early, allowing 5 runs in 3 innings while the Blue Devil hit train rolled up 9 runs to take command of the game.

“Slammin Sammy” Grosswald not only pitched well but helped himself sending a tape measure shot against the wind over the left field fence to help put Norcross up 7 - 0 in the top of the 2nd inning.

The Wolves started biting back for 4 runs in the bottom of the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, and ran wild for 8 runs in the time shortened final 4th inning. The green team overtook the sloppy fielding Blue Devils who, ironically were coming off 2 back to back error free wins before today’s contest.

Hoping to shake of the shaky performance today, the Blue Devils will return to historic Dan Watts Field to take on the South Gwinnett Lightning in a 4 PM start Sunday afternoon.

5/16/2008 - Norcross Extends Streak Over Hebron 17 - 1 - Norcross traveled to historic Hebron Church Field in Dacula to stretch its GGBL win streak to 7 games.

Wielding hot bats on the cold night, the Blue Devils batted around the lineup in the 1st inning. A bases clearing triple by Andrew Thunhorst brought the shivering crowd to life as Norcross went up 6-0 right away in the game.

Jacob Gassert took the mound for 2 innings of shut out pitching, stopping a bases loaded 1st inning Angel threat with a rare 1-2-3 double play.

Playing error free defense for a 2nd consecutive game, the Blue Devils aided 2nd inning pitchers with a Sam Grosswald right field fly ball catch, Andrew Thunhorst picked off a Hebron base runner at 2nd, and Brendan Furry gunned down the final Angel at 3rd base to close the inning.

The Norcross Blue Devils ride their “hit train” up to Buford Saturday afternoon for a 4 PM GGBL start against the Buford Wolves.

5/10/2008 – Dark Night for Black Knights 16 - 2 – A dangerously unpredictable Lawrenceville team, with a win over Parkview under their belt, rolled into historic Dan Watts Field to face the Blue Devils who are undefeated at the Dan Watts venue.

Starting on the mound for Norcross, Mikey Olson struck out two Knights in the first inning and held the jousters to 2 runs in 2 innings while his tilting crew chalked up a 13-2 lead.

Playing error free baseball, the Blue Devils brought Andrew Thunhorst, Mikey Olson, and Jacob Gassert into battle doing Zack Walch imitations swinging their lances from the other side of the plate in the 3rd inning.

Switching roles in the final 4th inning, youngster Andrew Thunhorst made his last leaping catch as a 9 year old, this time for an out in center field. Drew Aspinwall donned the “tools of ignorance” behind the plate to catch Nellie Stewart hurling in his first game of the season, and Mikey Olson inserted at short stop played a hard hit chopper firing to first base for the game final out.

Still starved for competition, the happy Blue Devil players repaired to Ledo’s Pizza for spirited Penny Hockey tournament action alternating with a chocolate brownie ice cream sunday demolition derby.

The Blue Devils will return to open the Dan Watts castle gates, hosting the Dacula Gold Falcons for a 7 PM game this Thursday.

5/13/2008 - UGA 3 vs. GA Tech 2 - Great game at Turner Field on Tuesday night.  The game program featured "Norcross 10U Blue Devils" as a sponsor of the event (Thanks Jim Olson!).

Courtesy: Walch.biz Sports Obfuscators

ATLANTA --- Nick Montgomery and three relievers combined to scatter five hits, while Ryan Peisel homered to lift Georgia past Georgia Tech, 3-2, in the regular-season series finale between the two rivals Tuesday night at Turner Field.

The sixth Spring Baseball Classic for Kids, pitting the two teams in one of their regular season meetings, drew 22,599 fans, the second highest attendance in the history of the event.

The win helped Georgia (34-17-1) avoid a regular-season sweep at the hands of nationally ranked Tech (36-16). The Jackets had defeated the Bulldogs 9-4 in Atlanta on April 9 and 11-1 in Athens last Wednesday.

Deck McGuire (8-1), a freshman bidding to earn his third win this season against Georgia, instead suffered his first loss of the season. He struggled early but managed to last six innings, scattering 10 hits and while allowing three runs. He walked three and fanned six, six days after a 9-strikeout, 0-walk performance in his win in Athens, and left the game trailing 3-2.

The Jackets wrap-up their Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season schedule beginning Thursday with a three-game series at Virginia. Game times are 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 1 p.m. Saturday. All three games can be seen online at ACCSelect.com, with live stats available at Ramblinwreck.com.

5/9/2008 – Blue Devils Apprehend Bandits 14 - 2 – Norcross hosted the team from Grayson, Georgia, home of the infamous “Barbie Bandit” bank robbers. It was the 3rd meeting of the season for the two teams having split in the season’s prior 2 matchups.

Today at Pinckneyville Park, the Blue Devil pitchers and tight defensive security handcuffed the Grayson team allowing only 2 runs in the run rule shortened 4 inning game.

Starting pitcher Brendan Furry went the limit allowing only 1 run in 3 innings with Mikey Olson called on to close out the 4th.

Playing before a packed stadium, sheriff Jesse Vaughan came to the plate in the 3rd inning with bases loaded and hammered a Bandit pitch off the center field net for a grand slam to bury the Bandits 10 – 1. Vaughan was mobbed at home plate by celebrating Blue Devil teammates emptying the home team dugout.

The Blue Devils will move to historic Dan Watts Field for a late 8 PM game Saturday night against the Lawrenceville Black Knights.

5/08/2008 – Devils Hack the Hawks 11 - 10 – The tournament hardened Blue Devils came from behind to score 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to shock the Mill Creek Hawks who were soaring on a 6 run lead going into the final inning.

Playing at historic Dan Watts Field, Norcross led early on strong pitching by starter Jesse Vaughan who shut out the birds for 2 innings while Blue Devil Griffin Ramsey cracked a 2 RBI double followed by a Sam Grosswald RBI single to go up 3-0 in the 1st inning.

Devil catchers bagged their limit as Chris McNulty shot down a Hawk stealing 2nd base in the 2nd inning and Jesse Vaughan caught his stealing bird in the 4th. Brendan Fury and Drew Aspinwall hunted over baited outfield and infield grass catching Hawk balls for key outs to keep the birds within range.

After the 1st inning start, Norcross guns went quiet scoring only 1 run in the middle 4 innings on a second Griffin Ramsey RBI drive to the fence.

Down 10 – 4 in the bottom of the 6th the Blue Devils brought all 10 shooters to the firing line to tie and then cross the winning run as Jacob Gassert broke for home on an errant Hawk throw down to 3rd base.

The 10U Blue Devils will host the Grayson Bandits Friday afternoon at 6PM at their alternate home field, Pinckneyville Park.

5/4/2008 – Braves Chop Back 2-1 in 7 Innings – After defeating the East Cobb Braves 3-2 in their first round pool play meeting, Norcross was matched with the same Braves in the first bracket play game Sunday afternoon in the Wood Bat Tournament.

Blue Devil Coach Walch called back starting pitcher Sam Grosswald who had shut out the Braves for 3 innings in the first meeting. Sam was again untouchable, shutting out the East Cobb team for another 3 innings. Andrew Thunhorst took the mound in the 4th and pitched 3 more innings of outstanding shutout relief, backed by Blue Devil “highlight film” defensive play. Nellie Stewart and Mikey Olson each had inning ending running fly ball catches in the outfield. Not to be outdone, catcher Jesse Vaughan owned home plate gunning down a Brave runner at 3rd base. Vaughan next put a fullback diving tag on an East Cobb runner coming home to end the 6th and sending the game into extra innings.

While East Cobb bats were shut out for 6 innings, the Blue Devil wooden bats were also stymied leaving the game scoreless and deadlocked 0-0 at the end of regulation play.

As nervous Blue Devil fans left their first base dugout chair backs to pace the right field walkway, “free baseball” commenced with each team allowed to place a runner on 2nd base to begin a 7th inning.

A Jacob Gassert sacrifice fly brought placed runner Andrew Thunhorst home to score the first run of the game in the top of the 7th.

East Cobb came back in the bottom of the 7th to tie with their placed runner and then crossed a winning run on a passed ball to send the Blue Devils home for the weekend.


After the game, Coach Walch told the team how proud he and all the coaches were of the outstanding effort and attitude they had put forth over the tournament.

5/4/2008 – Norcross Dropped by Bullets 5-3 – Norcross opened the second day of the Wood Bat Tournament to face the 10U Paulding County Bullets from Hiram, Georgia.

Starting on the mound, lefty Zack Walch went 5 strong innings shutting out the Bullets for 3 of the 5 innings he worked. In the 3rd inning, Paulding misfired bunts, swinging bunts, and weak grounders to eke out 3 runs before Sam Grosswald and Mikey Olson executed a 5-3-5 double play to end the inning and swing the momentum to the Blue Devils.

Coming out in the bottom of the 3rd, the Blue Devils woke up and batted around the lineup scoring 3 runs to tie the game at 3-3.

Despite an excellent Andrew Thunhorst 5th and 6th inning relief effort, the Blue Devils hit the ball hard but were done scoring and fell 5-3 to the Bullets.

5/3/2008 – Blue Devils 9-7 Over East Cobb Yankees – Fans traveled from as far away as Lebanon, Pennsylvania and Shanghai, China to watch the Norcross Blue Devils beat a second East Cobb team to go undefeated in the first day of play in the Wood Bat Tournament at All Tournament Players Park in Marietta, Georgia.

Starting pitcher Jesse Vaughan held East Cobb to 3 runs in 3 innings and helped himself from the plate to tie the game at 3-3 after 3 innings with an RBI double in the 3rd.

Chris McNulty continued his day’s defensive show with a 2nd 1st inning double play, this time from the catcher position. Alert to a runner breaking for 2nd base after a 3rd strike, Chris completed a “strike em out, throw em out” double play to 2nd.

As has become their trademark, the Blue Devils owned the 4th inning, starting with Jacob Gassert (playing his best for Grandfather Gassert) coming home on a passed ball to go up 4-3. The go ahead run was followed by consecutive RBIs by Chris, Nellie and Sam to establish a 7-3 lead.

In the 4th, Brendan Furry was excellent on the mound in relief, aided by short stop Andrew Thunhorst throwing out 2 Yankees at 1st.

The game ended on a high note in the 5th as left fielder Mikey Olson chased a hard hit Yankee drive to the track, gunned a strike back to cut off man short stop Andrew Thunhorst who caught a surprised Yankee runner trying for 3rd for the final out of the game.

5/3/2008 – Devils Edge the Braves 3-2 – Opening the Wood Bat Tournament against the East Cobb Braves, starting pitcher Sam Grosswald was untouchable, shutting out the East Cobb team for the first 3 innings.

Playing 1st base, Chris McNulty set the defensive tone of the game early with a 1st inning unassisted double play, catching an infield fly ball and doubling off a Brave runner at first.

Norcross put up a run early in the 1st inning as Jacob Gassert came home on a passed ball to score the first run in what would be the first of his 2 passed ball plate crossings on the day.

Blue Devil offense was light, but in the 6th inning Jesse Vaughan tomahawked an RBI double to center providing the 1 run game winning margin.

Jacob Gassert took the mound in 4th for 3 innings of relief, and aided by closer Andrew Thunhorst in the 6th, closed out the Braves as the players and fans endured an increasingly hard pouring rain. Gratefully, Andrew induced a short infield fly to 2nd baseman Nellie Stewart who squeezed the rain slippery ball for the game ending out.

5/2/2008 – War Eagles Wear Out Blue Devils 13 - 4 – In a tune up game for the upcoming weekend Wood Bat Tournament, the Norcross Blue Devils traveled to Sharon Springs Park to face the highly ranked South Forsyth War Eagles in a non – GGBL contest.

Zack Walch drew blood right away with a bases loaded RBI in the top of the first inning to go up 1-0 on the War Eagles. Coach Walch would bring 5 Blue Devil pitchers to the mound to face the hard hitting (and well fed) turkey buzzards who managed to cross 6 runs in the 2nd inning to go up 8-1 on the Norcross team.

Norcross would threaten at the plate once again in the 5th as Jesse Vaughan clocked a bases loaded 3 RBI double to keep the score respectable at 10 – 4.

Overall the Blue Devils were not intimidated by the State ranked War Eagles and head into the weekend Wood Bat Tournament with a 9AM Saturday morning start in the first of 3 games at All Tournament Players Park in Marietta.

5/1/2008 – Norcross Rules Hebron 13 – 3 – The Hebron Angels traveled from Dacula to face the Norcross Blue Devils at home in the newly renovated Dan Watts Field.

Starting pitcher Mikey Olson took the mound on a warm May afternoon to shut out the Angels for 2 of 3 innings pitched, allowing only 3 runs in the game.

Slammin Sammy Grosswald earned a halo at the plate, leading the Blue Devil batters with 3 RBIs as the Norcross team racked up 13 runs to run rule the Angels in 4 innings.

The Thursday night win precedes a grueling 3 day road trip for the Blue Devils who will play South Forsyth at Sharon Springs Park Friday night followed by a 9AM Saturday morning start in the first of 3 games in the Wood Bat Tournament at All Tournament Players Park in Marietta.

4/30/2008 - Wood Bat Tournament Pairings - 12 Teams are participating in the Wood Bat tournament this weekend at All Tournament Players Park.  3 pools of 4 teams will be playing 3 games by Saturdays end to determine the top 6 teams to advance to Sunday.  Norcross will open up on Saturday morning at 9am against the East Cobb Braves.  They will then face Paulding County at 1pm and the East Cobb Yankees at 3pm.  Other notable teams in the tournament are Dacula Gold, East Cobb Astros and East Cobb Longhorns.

Tournament details can be found on the tournament page.

4/26/2008 - Norcross Beats Lawrenceville - Jacob Gassert and Jesse Vaughan only allowed 2 hits over 5 innings as the Norcross Blue Devils beat the Lawrenceville Black Knights by a score of 8-4.  For Jacob it was his second straight start going the distance of the allowable three innings by GGBL rule.  The two Norcross pitchers combined for 5 strikeouts while walking 3.

Jacob Gassert led the Norcross offense with 2 hits and 2 RBI's while stealing 3 bases.  Chris McNulty also had 2 hits in the game.  Sam Grosswald chipped in with 2 RBI's.  The two GGBL 10U American League teams will play once again Saturday May 10th - 7pm at Pinckneyville Park.

4/26/2008 – Majkowski, Olson Finish 2nd, 3rd in Wolf Run – Blue Devil Mikey Olson and Wesleyan’s Bo Majkowski dominated their 10U age group 2nd and 1st and finished 3rd and 2nd for all ages in the prestigious 12th annual Wesleyan Wolf Run.

Bo is the son of Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame quarterback Don “Majik Man” Majkowski, forever remembered for throwing a last-second touchdown to beat the Chicago Bears 14-13 at Lambeau Field in 1989 in the famous “Instant Replay” game. It was one of the most exciting games in Packer history and is still a game that Bears’ fans love to complain about.

In a later event, Olson and Blue Devil teammate Jesse Vaughan finished dead last in the hula hoop twirling competition.

4/25/2008 – Norcross Catches Dogs 14 - 12 – Having lost in 2 previous meetings with the “Heat Wave” Tournament winner, the Norcross Blue Devils came from a 5 run deficit in the 3rd inning to overtake the North Gwinnett Black Bulldogs.

As in the first 2 meetings, Norcross scored 4 runs right away in the first inning. This time starting pitcher Zack Walch kept the Black Dogs on a short leash allowing only 2 runs in their first 2 at bats.

The Bulldogs would bite for 10 runs off 4 Blue Devil pitchers in the 3rd inning to go ahead 12-7 before Sam Grosswald took the mound to stop the barking.

Unlike the prior 2 meetings where the Blue Devils were held to only 4 runs in each game, Norcross came back for 7 runs in the bottom of the 3rd sparked by a “dog catcher” Zack Walch 3 RBI double to tie the score at 12-12. Chris McNulty added a "too hot to handle" 2 RBI hopper to short to go ahead by the final 2 run margin.

Game winning pitcher Sam Grosswald shut out the Dogs in the final 4th inning aided by catcher Griffin Ramsey’s throw out of a North Gwinnett runner trying for a steal at 3rd.

The comeback was witnessed by Zack Walch’s grandfather, Jerry Petitgoue, who happens to be the Wisconsin Hall of Fame head boys basketball coach at Cuba City High School for 35+ years, having won 19 conference titles, 3 Wisconsin State Championships, while leading his teams to 26 consecutive 15+ win seasons.

The Blue Devils will travel to Rhodes Jordan Park on Saturday afternoon for a 5 PM start against the Lawrenceville Black Knights.

4/24/2008 – Suwanee Stix Game Cancelled – Game two against the Suwanee Stix has been cancelled due to a tournament conflict for their team.

4/23/2008 – Eagles Take Rubber Match 6 - 3 – Like the last meeting with the Collins Hill Eagles, Norcross loaded the bases right away in the top of the first inning. This time after 3 Blue Devil walks, a Nellie Stewart 2 RBI single put Norcross on top 3 – 0 after the first at bat.

The Blue Devils hit the ball hard at times, including Brendan Furry who went 2 for 2 on the night. Despite reaching several base runners, Norcross could not cross the plate with another run in the 5 inning game, falling 6 – 3 to Collins Hill.

The Blue Devils will practice Thursday night at the newly renovated Dan Watts field before a Friday night home game against North Gwinnett Black.

4/20/2008 – Blue Devils Foil Falcons 13 - 12 – The Norcross Blue Devils completed a 3 game weekend sweep, coming from behind to beat the Dacula Blue Falcons in the Blue Devils' 4th consecutive one run win, making 7 of 11 single run wins this season.

Starting pitcher Jacob Gassert was in command, striking out the first 2 batters and grounding a total of 4 Falcons while holding the solid hitting Dacula batters to just 2 runs in 3 innings.

The Norcross hit train left the station in the 2nd inning as Zack Walch, Grif Ramsey, Nellie Stewart, Sam Grosswald, and Brendan Furry had consecutive RBIs to go up 7-1 on the fluttering Falcons.

After scoring 1 in the 3rd, Dacula flew back in the 4th and 5th innings, scoring 10 runs to go up 12-10 over Norcross.

Never in doubt, the Blue Devils scored 2 in the bottom of the 5th to tie the game at 12 each when Zack Walch was intentionally walked (as Aretha sang ...... R E S P E C T) to load the bases. Jacob Gassert, dancing to Aretha on 3rd, unnerved the Falcon pitcher who threw the ball into left field allowing the winning run to steal home!

Having split in their prior two meetings, the 10U Blue Devils will travel Wednesday to Collins Hill Park in Lawrenceville to face the Eagles for the 3rd time this season.

4/19/2008 – Norcross Cages the Cats 15 - 14 – For the second time on the weekend, Norcross Manager Scott Walch had to call on closer Andrew Thunhorst to stop a late inning threat and salvage a 1 run win.

Jumping out to an early 7-0 lead in the 1st inning, the Blue Devils had outstanding hitting performances from Jesse Vaughan (2 for 2), Drew Aspinwall (2 for 3), and Mikey Olson who went 3 for 3, scoring 3 times in the game.

This time the Duluth Wildcats would attack for 8 runs in the top of the 4th inning before Andrew was called to tame the Wildcats with his “catnip” delivery.

Including the last 4 outings, Norcross has now played in 10 one run games this season, winning 6 of the close contests.

The Blue Devils will finish a 3 game home series at Pinckneyville Park at 4 PM Sunday afternoon against Dacula Blue.

4/18/2008 – Wolves Attack, Blue Devils Come Back 10 - 9 – Norcross returned to GGBL league play opening the first of a three game home stand at Pinckneyville Park Friday night against the Buford Wolves.

Starting on the mound, Sam Grosswald was backed by good defense to hold the Wolves to 2 runs through the first 3 innings while Norcross scored 5 on consistent batting. The Wolves came alive in the 5th inning to score 7 runs and had loaded the bases before closer Andrew Thunhorst was called in to stop the damage.

Trailing 8-9 in the bottom of the 5th, the Blue Devils were not done. Jesse Vaughan singled to shallow right field to drive in the go ahead run ending the game at 10:15 PM.

The Blue Devils return to their home Pinckneyville field at 7 PM Saturday night to host Duluth.

4/15/2008 – Blue Tops White 10 - 5 – Playing on a warm April afternoon, the blue jerseys outscored the white team in the annual Parkview / Norcross split squad game held at the newly renovated Dan Watts Field in Norcross.

Shaking off the last sand from Spring vacation beach trips, both teams belted base hits and base runners advanced, urged on by better looking base coaches than either team was used to watching.








The Blue Devils return to action this weekend with a three game home stand at Pinckneyville Park, facing Buford, Duluth, and Dacula Blue in regular GGBL season play.

4/14/2008 - Split Squad Rosters - Tuesday's 2nd annual split squad game with Parkview will be played at Dan Watts field beginning at 6:30pm.  The forecast for Tuesday night is a cool 59 degrees and sunny.  The two teams will be split into two teams Blue and White.  Please wear the matching jersey for your team.

Blue Team White Team
Corey Whitlock Andy Albright
Mike Olson Griffin Ramsey
Jackson Turnbull Trey Mullee
Jacob Gassert Zack Walch
Jonathan Whitmer Brian Kregel
Andrew Thunhorst Drew Aspinwall
Justin Harrison Reed Sowders
Jesse Vaughan Chris McNulty
Austin Wilkey David Draper
Sam Grosswald Brendan Furry
Nelson Stewart Sean Scarbriel

4/10/2008 - NCAA College Basketball Bracket Final Standings - Glenn Aspinwall led the entire way until the last weekend.  Mike Blackburn (Coach's brother-in-law) picked Kansas to win the 2nd Annual Norcross team pool.  Mike will walk away with the $100 pool.  Second place went to Gary Stelzel who picked Memphis and was 2 seconds away from winning it when Kansas made the 3 pointer to send it to OT.  Last place goes to Michele Walch who picked Wisconsin to win it all.  Michele was quoted as saying: "I still think Wisconsin has the best team out there...".
Link: http://norcross9u.mayhem.sportsline.com/brackets

4/3/2008 - You're Outa Here!! - After receiving complaints from an unnamed northern Gwinnett County officiating crew, Pinckneyville Park’s favorite umpire “Marvelous” Marv decided to suspend the entire Norcross Blue Devil coaching staff and parents from any GGBL baseball participation for the entire week of April 7th. When asked for his reasoning for such a harsh and unprecedented penalty, Marv responded ……… “so?” ……….


4/3/2008 – Norcross Come Back Grounds Lightning 7 - 6 – Traversing Five Forks Trickum Road to face Snailville ("Where everybody is somebody") rival South Gwinnett, the Blue Devils overcame a 5 run deficit to stay at the top of the GGBL rankings going into the Spring break week.

Blue Devil bats started cold on the damp evening, trailing 6-1 until the 5th inning when Chris McNulty finally ripped a 2 RBI double to pull within 2 of the Lightning. Backs against the wall with game time running out, the Blue Devils were trailing in the top of the 6th by 2 runs with 2 outs and no base runners when Mikey Olson cracked a ground ball single followed by a Jacob Gassert towering fly ball single down the left field line. Zack Walch drove in both with a 2 RBI single and Griffin Ramsey added an RBI double to put the Blue Devils up by 1.

Bottom of the 6th, closer Jesse Vaughan snuffed out the Lightning bats aided by an Andrew Thunhorst line drive catch and throw to third to double off a surprised Lightning runner to end the game. Leaving the field with the celebrating Blue Devil players, Coach Curtis was heard to say “someone call 911, cause we stole that game!”

The 10U Blue Devils will travel to warmer climates for a mid season break before retuning for a “split squad” game with the Parkview Panthers on April 15th at the newly renovated Dan Watts Field.

4/1/2008 – Black Dogs Bite Blue Devils Again 5 - 4 – For the second game in a row, Norcross jumped out to an early lead against the Heat Wave Tournament winning North Gwinnett Bulldogs. And for the second time the Blue Devils scored but 4 runs against the tough Bulldog defense. This time it was all that the black dogs could handle as Norcross and the dogs stayed tied going into the bottom of the 6th inning before a squeeze bunt brought the winning 5th run home to end the game.

Starting pitcher Sam Grosswald and reliever Griffin Ramsey were impressive, with Ramsey allowing only 1 run in the final three innings as the Blue Devil bats struggled to add but 1 more run after the opening inning outburst.

After the well played game, the Blue Devils and the Black Bulldogs, along with Dacula are at the top of the GGBL standings with 1 loss apiece going into the Spring Break week.

The 10U Blue Devils will try to get back on the winning track Thursday night traveling to Snell Park to face the South Gwinnett Lightning in GGBL action.

4/1/2008 - NCAA College Basketball Bracket Standings - Glenn Aspinwall still leads the pack going into the Final Four round. 
Link: http://norcross9u.mayhem.sportsline.com/brackets

3/30/2008 – Bulldogs Bite Devils 9 - 4 – Norcross exited the cold Heat Wave Tournament early, falling to the North Gwinnett (Black) Bulldogs in a time shortened 4 inning game at Dobbs Creek Park in Cumming.

Zack Walch stunned the Bulldogs early with a bases loaded 2RBI bunt contributing to a top of the 1st inning 4-0 lead for the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils would not score again and could not overcome a rough 3rd inning where Norcross yielded 7 runs on only 2 hits to the aggressive running North Gwinnett dogs.

Norcross played well in the tournament winning 2 of 4 games and getting great run production in all but the final game. Next outing for the Blue Devils will be against this same North Gwinnett (Black) Bulldog team at 8PM Tuesday night at George Pierce Park in Suwanee.

Disguise recommendations for avid team mom Mary McNulty (blonde wig, dark glasses?) should be posted on the team website message board in the event she may wish to slip into the park unnoticed after dark.

3/30/2008 – Blue Devils Swat the Hornets 9 - 1 – Under gray skies, with a 39 degree temperature at first pitch, Norcross faced the Roswell Hornets in the Sunday morning bracket play of the “Heat Wave” Tournament. Despite a stiff wind blowing in from left center field, Andrew Thunhorst and Zack Walch started swatting right away, each with 2 RBI singles to put the Blue Devils up 4-1 in the first inning.

Overcoming the near freezing conditions, Jacob Gassert was excellent on the mound for 3 innings combining with reliever Andrew Thunhorst in the 4th inning to hold the Roswell team to 1 run on 1 hit for the game.

Jesse Vaughan ended the game early with a “walk off” 2 RBI gapper to right center bringing the run rule “ball game” cry from the umpire.

In a true measure of the biting frigid temperature, the official team scorer noted that cold invincible Brendan Furry had actually donned a light jacket in the game’s late innings.

3/29/2008 – Milton Rains on Norcross Parade 6-5 – The Norcross 7 game win streak came to a damp ending in a downpour at the only ball park in Georgia with no dugout roofs.

In the 2nd game of the Heat Wave Tournament, fortunate fans huddled under the scorer’s tent awning to watch the Norcross coaches and team wet and deadlocked 4-4 going into the 6th inning, in a game Norcross never led.

After team scorer Thunhorst struggled to accurately record a 1-3-?-6-?-1-3 pickle rundown to hold the Mavericks at 4 runs in the 4th inning, back to back RBI doubles by Sam Grosswald and Jesse Vaughan knotted the game at 4 runs each.

The Mavericks would score twice more but the dampened Blue Devil bats would mange only 1 to fall 1 short in the 6 inning game.

Weather permitting the Blue Devils will play again Sunday at Dobbs Creek Field in Cumming (“Gateway to Leisure Living”) at a time “to be determined”.

3/29/2008 – Blue Devils Quiet the Thunder 13 - 12 – A bright rainbow emerged over the Sawnee Mountain antenna farm as the Norcross team traveled to Dobbs Creek Field in Cumming (“Gateway to Leisure Living”) to face the Sawnee Mountain Thunder in a 9 AM first game of the Heat Wave Tournament.

Starting pitcher Brendan Furry had a fine outing holding the Thunder to 1 run into the 4th inning before reliever Sam Grosswald made a rescue appearance.

Having lost by 1 run to the Thunder in their last meeting at Morgan Falls Park, this time the Blue Devils electrified the crowd with a 7 run 4th inning. Trailing 2-5 in the bottom of the 4th, Jacob Gassert added to the Norcross fireworks striking for a 2 RBI double as the Blue Devils took command of the game 9-5.

The persistent Sawnee team would battle back to go ahead in the top of the 6th before the Thunder faded to the Blue Devils in the bottom of the final inning. Griffin (Lighting) Ramsey stopped the game with a walk off 2 RBI bolt up the middle to end the Thunder’s noise.

3/27/2008 – Norcross Rocks the Rhinos 8 - 6 – With both teams wearing all white on a warm March afternoon, Norcross met the Rockdale Rhinos in a non-GGBL contest hosted at the newly renovated Dan Watts Field. The visiting Rhinos jumped out to an early 1st inning 4 run lead only to see the Blue Devils answer back with 5 runs in a game Norcross would not trail again. Coach Walch brought 6 pitchers to the mound to keep the lid on the hard charging Rhinos, allowing only 3 runs after the sloppy first inning.

Aggressive base running and tight defense made the difference as Norcross went 1 up in the two teams’ third meeting. Norcross was relentless on the bases with Drew Aspinwall and Sam Grosswald both notching runs stealing home from third base.

The Rhinos tried the same in the top of the third, but left fielder Brendan Furry gunned down the Rockdale runner trying to reach home plate. In the fourth, center fielder Griffin Ramsey proved he could catch without a mask, reeling in two Rhino fly balls to close out the inning.

Norcross will ride their 6 game winning streak into this weekend’s Heat Wave Tournament, meeting the Sawnee Mountain Thunder at 9 AM at Cumming’s Dobbs Creek Field.

3/25/2008 - NCAA College Basketball Bracket Standings - Glenn Aspinwall leads the pack after the first two rounds followed by Jesse Vaughan, Henry Newlin (zack #2) and Zack Walch (zack #3). 
Link: http://norcross9u.mayhem.sportsline.com/brackets

3/24/2008 - Heat Wave Tournament Pairings Posted - Norcross will play the Sawnee Mountain Thunder at 9:00am on Saturday morning and then face the Milton Mavericks at 11:00am.  All games in the tournament will be played at Dobbs Creek Field in Cumming.  The Skills Competition will be held on Saturday at City Park (which is less than 2 miles from Dobbs Creek) from 11:00 to 3:00, so there will be an opportunity for every team to take part in the skills events around the game schedule.
More on the Heat Wave Tournament and Skills Competition rules.

3/23/2008 – Blue Devils Bash Red Bulldogs 10 - 8 – In what will be remembered as one of the strangest games in memory, the Norcross Blue Devils traveled to Suwanee to prevail in 5 innings over a strong hitting opponent, the GGBL rule book, home cooking umpires constantly conferring with North Gwinnett coaches, an ejected fan, and official warnings against the Blue Devil fans, coaches, and the visiting dugout cheering team.

The Blue Devils came to play as Nellie Stewart drove a game first pitch double to right field followed by Drew Aspinwall (thanks for the shoes Dad!) 2 RBI shot to the center field fence.

Staked with a 3 run lead, starting pitcher Mikey Olson would go 3 innings holding the hard hitting Bulldogs to 5 runs to keep the Blue Devils in a dead heat with 5 runs each.
Nellie Stewart stuck again in the 2nd inning followed by a Sam Grosswald rope to center and a Jesse Vaughan RBI double to the right field warning track.

Tied at 5-5 after 3 innings, reliever Sam Grosswald came in for the 4th and 5th innings and allowed only 3 runs, keeping a leash on the Bulldogs. Both pitchers were aided by strong defensive work including a Nellie Stewart diving catch in left field, and catchers Jesse Vaughan and Chris McNulty each gunning down Dog runners trying to advance.

Down by 2, for the second time on the night, Drew Aspinwall drove a 5th inning 2 RBI double over the Bulldog fielder’s head and the bat inspecting coaches to bring Norcross back into contention. The hot hitting Norcross team would have to score 2 runs twice to count 2 in the top of the 5th inning, including a long Chris McNulty drive off the center field fence, to send the rule book wielding Bulldog coaches back to their dugout.

Ending the game everyone wanted to stop, right fielder Jacob Gassert threw out the last Bulldog batter trying for first base and doomed the Dogs to post game wind sprints demanded by their dejected coaches.

Riding a 5 game winning streak, the 10U Blue Devils host the Rockdale Rhinos Thursday evening in a non-GGBL game at the newly renovated Dan Watts Field, before taking the road again to Cumming for next weekend’s Heat Wave Tournament. Team supporters are working on disguise ideas to smuggle ejected mom Mary McNulty into the weekend games should her picture be posted at the tournament field gates.

3/20/2008 - Today's Game Cancelled - Tonight's game between Collins Hill and Norcross will be made up later in the season due to a shortage of umpires.

Practice as usual  6:30pm at Dan Watts Field.

3/16/2008 - 2nd Annual NCAA College Basketball Bracket Challenge - In case you didn't get an email - here are the links to join:
Returning Players: http://norcross9u.mayhem.sportsline.com/brackets
New Players: http://norcross9u.mayhem.sportsline.com/e
Group Password: norcross10u

You have until Thursday morning to get your picks in. Drew Aspinwall is picking GA to go all the way...

3/16/2008 - Norcross Avenges Tournament Loss - The Norcross bats came to life in Grayson with seventeen Blue Devils crossing the plate in the time shortened game.  Norcross managed only one hit in their earlier meeting at the Gwinnett shootout.  Griffin Ramsey and Jesse Vaughan each had extra base bombs hit to the fence in the game.

The win gives Norcross (7-5) a four game winning streak heading into another GGBL road game at Collins Hill this Wednesday night at 6:00pm.

3/18/2008 - Rain Plan - If we get rained out tomorrow (Wednesday 3/19) vs. Collins Hill we have a cage reserved at Hardball Warehouse from 6:00pm to 7:30pm for batting practice.  We tentatively will make-up the game on Thursday night (3/20) at newly renovated Dan Watts field at 7:00pm.  We will get an email out as soon as possible with more information tomorrow during the day.

3/16/2008 - Norcross Bests Dacula - The Blue Devils fought off a late Dacula surge to hold on to a 10-9 victory in Dacula in the first game of a split double header.  Norcross jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning only to have Dacula score 4 in the bottom half of the inning. 

Norcross chipped away at the lead scoring a single run in the 2nd inning and 2 in the 3rd inning making the score 5-4 before jumping the Gold team with 6 runs in the 5th inning to take a 10-5 lead.  Sam Grosswald came in to pitch the 4th inning setting the Falcons down in order.  That's when the Falcons staged a late inning comeback attempt - with runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out Dacula hit a RBI shot to right field - alertly Jesse Vaughan through out the batter at first for the second out holding the tying run at third base.  Grosswald struck out the last batter for the victory. Norcross pitchers Vaughan, Walch and Grosswald held Dacula to only one hit in the game.

3/16/2008 - Dacula Game Rescheduled for 2pm Today - Norcross will play two games on Sunday - 2pm Make-up vs. Dacula Gold and 5:30pm vs. the Grayson Bandits.  Players should arrive in Dacula before 1:30pm.

3/16/2008 - Dacula Game Postponed - Due to severe weather in the area tonight's game will be rescheduled.  The game potentially could be made up as early as Sunday 3/17 2pm at Dacula.  Norcross will travel to Grayson for a rematch of the March 7th 6-2 loss with the Bandits.

3/13/2008 – Norcross Breaks the Stix 9 - 5 After trailing the Suwannee Stix by a run or two for most of the game, Brendan Furry finally slapped a 2 RBI single into right field to go ahead 7 – 5 in the bottom of the 5th inning.

The Blue Devils would score 2 more runs before game time was called on the pleasant March evening.  Starting pitcher Griffin Ramsey went 3 innings aided by a double play in the 2nd as 2nd baseman Drew Aspinwall doubled a base runner off 1st with a throw to first baseman Sam Grosswald.  Sam got the win, coming into the game in the fourth inning to shut out the Stix for the remainder of the game while the Blue Devils regained the lead. 

The 10U Blue Devils head to Dacula Park Saturday night to face the Dacula Gold in a GGBL league game at 6:30 PM.

3/13/2008 - Jacob Gassert Takes First Place in Gwinnett - Duluth, GA -- Norcross Blue Devil Jacob Gassert, known for his swift feet, had the fastest car at the Button Gwinnett District Pinewood Derby race held last weekend. Coming in second was little brother “T-ball” Teddy Gassert. They were aided by “The Speedy Gassert Brothers” pit crew supervisor and their No. 1 Dad, Mark Gassert. The elder Gassert raced his 40-year-old Pinewood Derby car in a “nostalgic race” following the official race. The Gassert brothers are members of Pack 650 in Norcross, Ga. The district (county) race was held in Duluth. Both finished in the top three in their respective dens (by age group) earlier in the morning to qualify for the championship round. Also racing in the district Pinewood Derby race and finishing 6th in the Webelos I Den was former 10U Blue Devil pitcher Alan Carter. Alan is also a member of Pack 650 and now plays for the Peachtree Ridge 10U team. Alan’s car also benefited from the expertise of pit crew supervisor Mark Gassert who assisted all three boys with assembling their cars and polishing the axles.

If you are unfamiliar with it, the Pinewood Derby is a racing event and annual ritual for Cub Scouts. The Scouts, with the help of parents, build their own miniature cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine wood, plastic wheels and metal axles. The popularity of the Pinewood Derby has spawned similar events developed by other organizations and has helped create a small industry developed to provide tracks, timers, scales and other products. Today’s Pinewood Derby races are often very sophisticated with computer timers that display the official time and place of each car racing. The Derby was selected as part of "America's 100 Best" in 2006 as "a celebrated rite of spring" by Reader’s Digest.

The Pinewood Derby originated in California when Cubmaster Don Murphy organized the first Pinewood Derby, held on May 15, 1953, in Manhattan Beach by Pack 280c. Murphy’ came up with the idea for racing miniature wood cars because his son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races. The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build. After Don Murphy's first race in 1953 the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation copied the Pinewood Derby with Murphy's permission. Later the Cub Scouts officially adopted it as an annual event for Scouting.



3/12/2008 – Blue Devils Quick Draw the Gunners in Season Opener 18-3 – Beating the Grayson Gunners to the draw in the opening game of the GGBL season, Jesse Vaughan upholstered a shot to the left field fence Wednesday night against the Grayson Gunners.Blue Devil batters loaded the bases and exploded for 6 runs in the first inning, highlighted by a Drew Aspinwall 2 RBI double.

Sporting the new white pinstriped uniforms with blue and white flat billed hats, Norcross guns blazed every inning on the chilly night notching 4 more runs in the second, 2 in the third, and 6 in the fourth before the sheriff in blue called “time”. When the smoke cleared over Bay Creek Park, Norcross had crossed the plate 18 times on 11 hits as Grayson pitchers struggled to get anything past the quick firing Blue Devils.
Starting pitcher Brendan Furry would not back down striking out 2 Gunners in the first and retired the side facing only 3 outlaws in the second inning. Third inning reliever Griffin Ramsey and Jacob Gassert in the fourth kept the streets safe allowing only one more Grayson run as time ran late and the temperature dropped.

The 10U Blue Devils return to action Thursday at the newly renovated Dan Watts field to face the Suwanee Stix in a non league game at 6:30 PM.

3/9/2008 – Parkview’s Turn Over Norcross 6 - 5 – After having eliminated the orange team 5-3 in their previous pre-season tournament meeting, the Blue Devils fell this time to the worthy cross county rival Panthers by one run in the final game of the weather shortened Gwinnett Shootout tournament.
Starting pitcher Mikey Olson held the Panthers to 2 runs for 2 innings while Norcross put up 4 runs to go ahead 4-2 over Parkview after 2.
Despite a great effort by middle inning reliever Zack Walch (including picking off a Panther runner at 1st base to end the 3rd inning) the Panthers crossed 3 more runs over the plate to best the Blue Devils by a single run 6-5 margin.
The bats didn’t go quietly as a Drew Aspinwall RBI single in the 4th would put the Blue Devils up 5-4. Defensively, another catcher Griffin Ramsey runner gun down kept Norcross within a one run reach going into the final inning.
The Blue Devils return to Trip …errr…. Grayson Wednesday night for an 8 PM start in the Blue Devils first regular season GGBL opener game against Grayson.

3/9/2008 – Norcross Edged by Greenville Titans 9-8 – Norcross traveled cross country to far away Grayson (originally known as “Trip”, Georgia because it was so distant from any inhabited part of the county) to face the Greenville (SC) Titans. The Titans were a visiting tournament entry with an all star squad of players from several rec league teams in the Greenville, SC area.
Playing in this second game of the Gwinnett County Shootout Tournament, the Blue Devils took the lead early, scoring go ahead runs on a Drew Aspinwall RBI single followed by another Chris McNulty RBI single. For the day, Blue Devil slugger Chris McNulty ruled at the plate going 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs.  McNulty was backed by teammate slugger “Slammin Samy” Grosswald whose 4th inning triple tied the game at 8-8 in the 4th inning. The tenacious Titans added another run in the 5th to go ahead 9-8 ending the two team’s first meeting contest.

3/7/2008 – Grayson Bandits Steal Tournament Opener 6-2 – Playing on a calm Friday evening before an approaching winter storm, Norcross battled Grayson 0-2 through three innings in the opening game of the South Gwinnett Shootout. The strong arm of starting pitcher Sam Grosswald kept the Norcross team close before the Bandits exploded for 6 runs in the fourth inning. Catcher Griffin Ramsey was impressive in the first inning, gunning down a stealing Bandit at third to erase the threatening base runner.
Sam was also strong at the plate, driving in two runs of his own in the bottom of the fourth with a 2RBI double shot to center field. Despite the rally, that was all the scoring Norcross could muster for the evening as the Bandits prevailed in the opening game of the Shootout.
After the game, many of the Norcross 10U Blue Devils were able to go on to see the Norcross High Blue Devils clinch the State AAAAA basketball championship over Wheeler in the Gwinnett Arena.
The 10U Blue Devils return to action Saturday to face the Greenville (SC) Titans at 4PM.

Head Groundskeeper McNulty led a team of umps spreading kitty litter on the slippery pitcher's mound before Friday evening's game with Grayson.

3/7/2008 - South Gwinnett Shootout Schedule - Norcross will open this years South Gwinnett Shootout in the 10U AAA division at 6:30pm on Friday night against the Grayson Bandits, a GGBL division opponent.  They will take on the Greenville Titans on Saturday at 4pm.  A decision will be made by the tournament director by 3:30pm for tonight's game and posted on the SGAA hotline (404-570-SGAA). Here is a link to the SGAA web site and the document that describes the tournament and any changes/scores will be updated here. Full Schedule

3/1/2008 - Practice Changed - No practice game Tuesday night.  This Thursday nights practice will be an early start (5:45pm) due to Norcross High School's participation in the State Basketball tournament beginning at 8:30pm at the Gwinnett Arena.

3/1/2008 - South Gwinnett Shootout Schedule - Norcross will open this years South Gwinnett Shootout in the 10U AAA division at 6:30pm on Friday night against the Grayson Bandits, a GGBL division opponent.  They will take on the Greenville Titans on Saturday at 4pm.  Full Schedule

3/1/2008 – Spring Training in Vero Beach – Norcross players Mikey Olson and Zack Walch spent the later half of the week scouting the Major League clubs of Atlanta and Los Angeles.  Both players came away with an appreciation for the size, power and speed of major league baseball players.   It was a chance for the Norcross outfielders to see their home town Center Field prototype up close and personal.  Andruw Jones just didn't look right in that Los Angeles Dodgers uniform, especially at his new weight of 236lbs.

After a decade as Atlanta's centre fielder, a position he handles about as well as anyone who's played the game, Jones traded in one shade of blue for another. On Thursday, the 10-time Gold Glover made his spring debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers - against his former team, no less.  Jones, looking to bounce back from one of the worst seasons of his career, signed a $36.2-million, two-year contract with the Dodgers after the only team he'd ever played for decided against trying to keep him.

A day earlier the boys watched the Georgia Bulldogs play the Atlanta Braves at Disney Wide World of Sports complex.  Ryan Peisel had three of Georgia’s seven hits, and nine pitchers shared the workload. The Braves were especially eager to face Joshua Fields, a second-round pick by Atlanta last summer. He failed to agree on a contract and returned to school for his senior season.  Bobby Cox was quoted in the local paper as saying: “Why didn’t he sign?  He was only throwing 97 (mph) with a good breaking ball.”  Bobby was right, #25 Joshua Fields came in and popped the Radar gun at 97 on his first pitch - he didn't allow a run in the game.


2/24/2008 – Blue Devils Runner Up in the County Seat Kickoff Classic – After beating Collins Hill in the opening game of the tournament, the second time was not to be as the Eagles prevailed 10-2. The Blue Devil defense, which had been flawless in the first meeting, showed some weakness allowing 10 runs in the 5 inning contest. Norcross loaded the bases right away in the first inning, and scored one run to take the early lead. The Blue Devils would manage to score only once more despite stranding several runners on third base during the evening.

Even so, heads and spirits were high as the players each collected major trophies in the USSSA qualifier tournament.

2/24/2008 – Norcross Sends Parkview Packing 5 - 3 – The Blue Devils eliminated a second team in Sunday’s tournament single elimination play, dominating the friendly rival from Mountain Park Park. After engaging in a spirited pre-game game of “wall ball” with the orange team, Norcross jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Entering the game early in the second inning, reliever Zack Walch settled in to pitch four shutout innings.

Walch was aided in the 4th inning with alert defensive play by 3rd base Jesse Vaughan throwing out a Panther runner trying to come home, followed in the 6th inning when catcher Chris McNulty gunned down a stealing Parkview base runner at third. The win over Parkview sends the Blue Devils into the tournament Championship Game immediately following at 6:30PM Sunday evening.

2/24/2008 – Blue Devils Banish Buford 4 - 3 – In the second day of the County Seat Kickoff Classic, the Norcross Blue Devils wrestled with the Wolves of Buford for 6 innings. Chris McNulty put the Blue Devils on the board early in the first inning with a 2 RBI single.

Norcross pitchers, Brendan Furry and Andrew (nice haircut!) Thunhorst, held the Wolves to just 3 runs over the 6 inning game aided by more stellar Blue Devil defensive play. Zack “Soul Man” Walch delivered yet another “Andrew Jones” style diving catch in center field to control potential damage in the 1st inning.

Norcross batters came alive in the 4th inning as Griffin Ramsey drove a ball to deep right center field followed by a Nellie Stewart RBI drive over the Wolf center fielder’s head. Norcross finally took a one run lead on an Andrew Thunhorst RBI in the 5th inning.

The game ended with a one run margin as the Wolves were stunned when “Soul Man” Zack Walch threw out the final Buford batter from center field!


2/23/2008 – Bulldogs Bite the Devils 10 - 7 – In the second game of the County Seat Kickoff Classic, the North Gwinnett Bulldogs scored 8 runs in an error marred 2nd inning as temperatures plummeted into the 40s. Except for that forgettable inning, the Blue Devils held the potent Bulldog bats to just 2 more runs while mounting a 5 run fifth inning comeback attempt.

Norcross pitcher Jesse Vaughan hurled a complete 5 inning game and was supported by mostly excellent defensive work including a Zack Walch “Andrew Jones” style diving catch in center field and more than one crowd pleaser plays as shortstop Andrew Thunhorst would range far to his left or way to his right, spin, and fire to first to beat the Bulldog runner.

With the day's two game split, the Blue Devils advance as the 2nd seed to play the Buford Wolves at 10:45am  Sunday morning.

2/23/2008 – Blue Devils Over Collins Hill 8 - 2 – Starting with only 8 players, the Blue Devils played 5 innings of error free ball to hold the Eagles of Collins Hill to just 2 runs. Playing in the opening game of the County Seat Kickoff Classic at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville, Blue Devil pitchers were impressive as Jacob Gassert and Brendan Furry allowed only 2 runs in the 5 inning contest, backed by solid defensive play.

Among the defensive highlights, right fielder Nelson Stewart saved the 4th inning with a diving catch only to come back in the 5th to throw out an Eagle runner at second base trying to stretch a single into extra bases.

2/23/2008 - Opening Day - Norcross opens the season against Collins Hill today at 11:30am.  The County Seat Kickoff Classic at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville is the first tournament of the year for Blue Devils.  The second game is slated for 3:00pm against another GGBL opponent - the North Gwinnett Bulldogs Red.  As you know, opening day is a special day. See this video of Zack and Jake Walch on the morning of Opening Day 2001 at Pinckneyville Park.

  Full Schedule

2/15/2008 - Opening Day Tattoo's  - Suzanne and David Grosswald will be managing a booth on opening day, Saturday March 15th at Pinckneyville Park with a portion of the proceeds being donated to our team.  We will ask some of the players to help out with the fundraiser on that day.  We play at 6:30pm later that night in Dacula.  Pro Sun Tan Company is our newest sponsor.

2/19/2008 - Tournament Pairings - No word as of yet on our reschedule request for Saturday's first game vs. Collins Hill.  I will let you know as soon as I hear word one way or the other from the tournament director.  As it stands now we will forfeit our first game and will play our first game at 3:00pm against the North Gwinnett Bulldogs Red team.  We will then be competing for a second seed in our pool.  Seven teams will be competing in the tournament. Full Schedule

2/17/2008 – Blue Devils / Wildcats End Early 1 - 1 - Playing for the first time at Shorty Howell Field in nearby Duluth, the GGBL exhibition season continued Sunday afternoon as the Norcross Blue Devils made a short trip to face the neighboring rival Wildcats. For the second game in a row, Norcross pitchers were impressive. The hurlers were backed again by excellent defensive work, and Norcross held the Wildcats to only one run in the rain shortened two and a half inning outing. Norcross batters hit the ball hard in every inning, although too often right at a Wildcat defender. Nonetheless, batters were seeing the ball, hitting it hard, and the Blue Devils managed to drive an early run across the plate.

Fan support was excellent even though the skies were darkened under an afternoon tornado warning. Mindful of the often intense rivalry between the two neighboring towns (“the only good thing to come out of Duluth is the road to Norcross!”) it was disappointing that an overhead lightning flash forced and early call of the game at a 1-1 tie. The Blue Devils will hold a field practice Thursday evening at 6:30 PM at the newly renovated Dan Watts Field before returning to action Saturday for the first game of the 2008 season at the “County Seat Kickoff” tournament in Lawrenceville.

Sources close to the Blue Devil front office say the team and their families will gather for a party to kick off the tournament and full season on Friday night, February 22nd at the McNulty's winter home in nearby Neely Farms. (Neely Farms- 6091 Endden Ct., Norcross)

2/16/2008 – Blue Devils Bedevil Black Knights 17 - 8 - The GGBL exhibition season continued Saturday night as the Norcross Blue Devils traveled across county to Lawrenceville’s Rhodes Jordan Park to joust with the Central Gwinnett Black Knights. Playing in Gwinnett’s oldest city, named for War of 1812 naval hero Captain James Lawrence of Burlington, New Jersey, Norcross batters launched more fireworks than the Battle of 1812, running up 17 runs in the first 3 innings.

Blue Devil fans from Peachtree Corners spread out on blankets and lawn chairs to watch 5 Norcross pitchers hold the Black Knights to 8 runs in 5 innings. The well prepared Blue Devil’s defense turned in another near error free performance to check Black Knight batters throughout the match. The Blue Devils will start again tomorrow at 3 PM at Shorty Howell Park against Duluth, weather permitting.

2/15/2008 - Team Banner - Big thanks to Mark Gassert for providing our team banner again this season.  PDF Download


2/13/2008 - Season Kickoff Party - The team and their families will get together for a kick off to the tournament and full season on Friday night February 22nd at the McNulty's residence. (Neely Farms- 6091 Endden Ct., Norcross) THANK YOU MARY!!!

This night will be exciting for the kids as we will be handing out new helmets, home jerseys, and the leather belts. Also, we have finished the new team CD- we will be handing out that as well so we can start our season with a bang! Mr. Olson's "Molly Hatchet" song brought back some memories.

The team will discuss and weigh in on what you would all like to do concerning concession stand, snacks, and fundraising for the season. The coaches will review the goals that are set for the season, talk about the schedule and the MVP process that will unfold this season.

2/11/2008 – Practice Season Continues – With the season opener only 10 days away, the Blue Devils have only three team practices remaining to get into regular season form.  In addition to the three practices Norcross has two remaining scrimmages this coming weekend.  The weather for Wednesday night calls for cold weather (43 degrees) and rain early in the day.  If the weather is extreme closer to the evening, we will go indoors for BP.

2/11/2008 - Dan Watts Maintenance - Our Team has been assigned the task of painting the restrooms at Dan Watts field.  Please let Scott know if you can assist with this effort.  It would be great to get 4 or 5 volunteers so we can knock it out in a few short hours.

2/8/2008 - German Language - Another True Story - The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as
replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

2/3/2008 – Exhibition Season Continues – Fans from as far away as Princeton, New Jersey streamed into the Mountain Park Park baseball facility to watch the visiting Norcross Blue Devils face off against the cross county rival Parkview Panthers.

The Blue Devils brought 6 pitchers to the mound in the 6 inning contest, holding the orange team to just 3 runs as the Norcross defense backed up the excellent pitching. The Blue Devils were ready at the plate, scoring 5 runs on the cloudy but mild February afternoon.
Next practice is set for 6:30 Wednesday night at Pinckneyville Park field #4.

1/27/2008 - Baseball Sunday - The scrimmage today against Peachtree Ridge kicked off a long day of baseball.  We were able to pitch 4 kids today and will pitch another 4 on Super Bowl Sunday - at 1pm at Mountain Park vs. Parkview.  Thanks Mark Gassert for calling balls and strikes and Matt and Preston Furry for calling the bases - saved us $80.  Next practice is set for Wednesday night at Pinckneyville Park #4.

1/22/2008 - Tournament Selection - Norcross will play in six tournaments this season in addition to a 20 game GGBL schedule.  Four of the tournaments are within close driving proximity – and one is in Panama City Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd. There are two pre-season tournaments, two during the regular season, and one between the season and the GGBL Tournament. The GGBL tournament will end our season no later than June 15th.

2008 Spring Tournaments:
2/23 – County Seat Kickoff - Roads Jordan Park, Lawrenceville
3/6 – South Gwinnett Shootout – South Gwinnett
3/28 – Heat Wave Tournament - Cumming
5/2 – Wood Bat Tournament Series – All Tournament Players Park, Marietta
5/23 – 4th Annual Memorial Day Beach Blast - Panama City, FL
6/1 – GGBL League Tournament and End of season

1/27/2008 - Sunday Schedule - Finally our first day outside today. Since we haven’t had any field time yet, I would like to get everyone together on one of the upper fields just after 2pm to get some fielding practice and get warmed up for the scrimmage. It will be a long day for the kids since we are having our indoor winter workout at 5:30pm. I will end the scrimmage at 4:45pm to give you 45 minutes to get your son something to eat and car pool over to Duluth. It is supposed to be in the low 50’s and sunny for the scrimmage so dress warmly – bring an extra pair of shorts/tennis shoes for the indoor practice in case they get wet or muddy. Either uniform jersey is fine for today. We will not be keeping score today nor have official umpires. We could use someone to help out as an umpire for the game.

1/24/2008 - Scrimmage Game - We will scrimmage Peachtree Ridge on Sunday 1/27 at 3pm at Pinckneyville Park. After the scrimmage we will continue our winter workout sessions at the Hardball Warehouse beginning at 5:30pm.

1/22/2008 - Practice Game Cancelled - The scrimmage game against Parkview scheduled for tomorrow evening (1/23) has been cancelled due to the weather.

1/15/2008 - Uniform Details - We will be getting a new white jersey, helmets, hats, belts and socks this season.  Please send your Belt Size and Jersey Size to Jackie.  If your son needs new baseball pants, let Jackie know how many pairs you need and the size.  Jackie can order additional undershirts (with name and number) and long sleeve navy blue undershirts, please let her know how many and the sizes.  The pants, and additional shirts are not covered in the budget - you will need to make a check out to Jackie after they are ordered.  The new white jersey, helmets, hats, belts and socks are being paid for out of the budget.

1/15/2008 - Tournament Selection - See the list of potential tournaments for 2008.  We will pick 5 in-state tournaments and 1 out of state tournament for the 2008 Spring Season.

1/14/2008 - Practice Schedule - We have bumped up the starting time for Sunday's workout to 4:30pm.  Several coaches will not be present for the workout so feel free to help out next Sunday night.  The workout session scheduled for February 3rd (Super Bowl Sunday) has been rescheduled for March 23rd at 5:30pm.

For the remainder of January and first two weeks of February we will practice on Wednesday nights on our game field – Pinckneyville Park #4. So far, we have scheduled 3 scrimmages which will take place on our regular practice times. We also have the field on Tuesday nights, but some kids have basketball practice on that night so we will only schedule something on a Tuesday if necessary. I do know our competition is already practicing 2 and 3 days a week so we need to keep up. Please keep tabs on the schedule page on the web site as it will begin to take shape as we get closer to the season.


We have a comprehensive list of potential tournaments to play in this season. We will be playing in no less than 5 tournaments in addition to the GGBL tournament this season. We will choose the tournaments prior to the scheduling meeting on January 29th. We will probably play in one out of state tournament which could be Myrtle Beach, Panama City, Nashville or similar venue.

Saturday Workday

The park workday is scheduled for this Saturday Jan 19th at Dan Watts at 10am. Please try to come out and help get the fields into playing shape this Saturday.

1/8/2008 - Super Bowl Sunday - We have asked for a makeup date/time for our regular Sunday Workout that is due to take place on on February 3, 2008 - University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Arizona.  We will keep you posted as to the new practice time when we are rescheduled.

1/8/2008 - Scheduling - The GGBL 10U scheduling meeting is set for January 29th. I would like to solicit a group of parents to act as a Tournament Selection Committee and determine our tournaments to play in prior to the scheduling meeting on the 29th. I have been compiling a list of 10U tournaments for us to choose from. Ideally, we will play one or two prior to the season, one in the middle of the season and a couple near the end of the GGBL season. Once I have the volunteers set, I will call a meeting for the committee to meet and develop the schedule. If you are planning a vacation between March 1st (the beginning of the season) and June 30th please email that to me as soon as possible so we can use it in consideration of the tournament schedule. Let me know if you want to participate on the Tournament Committee.

If you haven’t noticed, our scheduling page is powered by a Google calendar this year. It allows you to “subscribe” to the calendar which generates reminders among other things. If you want to subscribe to it, just click on the image on the bottom right corner.

1/8/2008 - Winter Workout Continues - See you this Sunday night from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Hardball Warehouse in Duluth.

11/4/2007 - Hat Sizes - We are getting fitted New Era pro style hats for this spring season.  As a result, we need to get exact hat sizes for the kids.  As a frame of reference, Andrew is 53 cm or 6 5/8th and Sam is 54.9cm or 6 7/8th.  The best way to get the size is to go to the mall and go to a hat store and try on a New Era Pro Style fitted hat.  If you have another hat in the house that has a size on it you can use it to deduce the size.  After we get every players size and coach size, we will place the order. We hope to have them ordered by next week.

Also, remember to have the players try on the helmets at practice on Sunday. We will have a the two available sizes (medium and large).

1/4/2008 - Winter Workout Continues - See you this Sunday night from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Hardball Warehouse in Duluth.  The weather is going to warm up this weekend so be sure to get out Saturday after basketball for extra BP and work on your son's fundamentals. On Sunday I will be referring to some of the concepts and terms discussed in Bragg Stockton's video.

12/16/2007 - Winter Workout - Happy Holidays everyone, see you after the new year. Go Badgers - Beat Tennessee and Go Packers - Get'R Done.  Good luck to your team unless of course you like the Cowboys or Volunteers.

11/23/2007 - Spring 2008 -

Prior to our first practice, you will need to sign our “NYBSA Interim Travel Team Registration” since the park’s online registration system will not be ready until December. I will bring it Sunday night. This will ensure our team is covered by the parks insurance policy. I will let you know when the online system is available, once it is you will go to the NDYBSA Web Site under Travel to register your son. There is a link there that will get you into the spring registration system. You will need to pay the park directly again this season (either by credit card or check) $70 which is used for the county and toward insurance for our team.

Last spring we played 35 games which included 2 tournaments and the GGBL season ending tournament. This season I would like to play in 5 tournaments (1 at the beach or out of state) in addition to the GGBL tournament. Last season our teams operating expenses were roughly $8,600 or just under $800 per player. Due to the concession stand and sponsorships of mostly team parent’s companies, we were able to get by on collecting $500 per family. This season I hope to keep our team’s expenses close to $750 per family which we will plan to have three $250 collections (1st now, 2nd Jan 15th, 3rd March 1st ), the last collection (if necessary) will be at the end of the season for the balance of our expenses. Please be on the lookout for potential sponsors that will reduce our family’s cost burden. Let me know if the company you work for can sponsor the team. Also, if you would like a copy of the budget (for this or last season) let me know and I will forward it to you. I need to submit this season’s budget to the travel commissioner by next week. The bottom line is that the actual cost per family will be about $750 (3 payments) provided we come close to the sponsorship level we achieved last season.

Michele will once again be our social director and will be coordinating our Team Video and Team Music CD. Please email Michele with a song choice for your son to be included on the team CD. Please check out the music page on the web site to make sure the son your son selects has not been previously selected. As you know, to bolster my own music collection we no longer allow repeat songs from seasons gone by. Jake will assume the role of the JSPN “sideline reporter” to get some more candid interviews and behind the scenes video footage. Jake would love to have another team sibling join him this season, if your player’s brother or sister (any age) would like to be Jake’s co-anchor let Michele know so we can include him/her this season. We will have a pre-season get together after the holidays and Michele will be sending out details as the date draws closer.

Team Goals
As usual, our team will establish team oriented goals that we will refer to at every practice. We will improve with every practice and with every game – and our primary goal (again) will be to win the GGBL regular season and end of season tournament. I have asked each of the kids to come up with team oriented goals which we will discuss prior to each winter workout practice.

Team Operation
There will not be a lot of differences between the team from last season to this season. Players will be required to take a game or weekend off like last year. Since we will be playing more tournaments this season, you may find this more useful than last season.

Stats will be maintained again but I want to make sure the kids use them differently this season. I have setup a login ID for each player and for each parent for team stats. Some of you probably don’t keep up with the stat’s which is fine so this subject won’t matter to you. When the players login to the stats, they will only see their stats for every game and the team leaders in each category. By default, that is all you will see as well. If you prefer to see all the stats, I can toggle a setting for your ID to allow that – I just ask that you don’t discuss other player’s stats with your son. If you want me to turn this option on for you just drop me an email and I will set it up. Along those same lines, I will ask that the players pay more attention to team stats (mainly wins and losses and those that we center goals around) and less about their personal stats. There are many pros and cons to keeping stats in any sport, but when used correctly I think are very beneficial to our success.

Jim Olson will continue to his role as the team’s official beat writer. I will provide Jim with editing capabilities of the web site so in most cases he will get the story out there with very little interference waiting on me to get my email. He will now need to learn to spell “Zack” with a “k” instead of an “h” since I won’t be editing his work anymore.

We would love to run a team concession stand again; hopefully someone (not already named to a team role) would like to run it. It is a lot of work hauling everything to the games and setting up – not to mention manning it during the games. If we don’t have one that is ok too.

Winter Workout
Our winter workout program will be conducted indoors beginning this Sunday at 5:30pm and every Sunday throughout the winter (except for a few holiday breaks). Here are the exact dates: 11/18, 12/02, 12/09, 12/16, 01/06, 01/13, 01/20, 01/27, 02/03, 02/10, 02/17, 02/24, 03/02, 03/09, and 03/16. At times this winter we may schedule scrimmage games against other programs on a few Sunday afternoons at 3:00pm and practice indoors afterward. Peachtree Ridge has approached us to do this and we will try to get with Duluth as well. Among other activities, here is a short list of what we will cover over the winter:
• Watching training videos
• Base Running – new signs, situational running plays
• Place hitting off tee and pitching machine (new hitting drill in the cage)
• Catchers – blocking, foot work, quick ball transfer glove to throwing motion
• Pitching – appropriate stride, grips, finishing deliveries, move to first and double move, repetition and routine
• Hitting – automated machine hitting, hitting player pitch, hitting off speed pitches, repetition and routine
o Coaching: hand position, finishing swing, and keeping weight back until short stride toward pitcher
• Fielding drills – quick glove and throwing motion, pickles, thousands of ground balls
• Strength and conditioning – some of the same drills as last season only with a baseball spin, we will develop a baseball obstacle course and time the guys in the beginning of the winter and at the end.
• On any given Sunday, as many as 6 stations will be setup (6 groups of two) or 4 stations (4 groups of 3) depending on what we plan to cover that Sunday. I would appreciate as much assistance as possible from dads on the team to help out with the practices.
Speaking of the winter practice season, I always think it is best to have an even number of kids at practice. I also think it is a good idea to have an “alternate” familiar with the team and ready to play in the event we have a serious injury, player relocate or whatever the situation. In 2005, James Todd was the alternate for our all-star team and actually played in the state tournament. In 2006 Jake Karalexis was our all-star alternate. Last spring, Patrick Hutton and Alan Carter participated in our winter workout. This season, Cole Mannion has agreed to be the “12th” man and workout with us over the winter. This will enable us to have an even number of kids run through the drills and also help Cole develop his skills to become a better player over the winter.

Recap of your action items:
1. Sign Park’s Interim Registration form at the first practice
2. Make $250 check payable to Jackie Thunhorst
3. Research possible sponsorships within your personal network
4. Go to the NDYBSA website under Travel to register your son
5. Forward to Michele your son’s favorite song for inclusion on the teams music CD





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