Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Clayton - Baseball Fall 2013

Our Clayton came to us over the summer and asked us if he could play baseball this Fall.  Wade and I both cautioned him that it would be really difficult to catch up with kids that have been playing since tee ball - trying to decide if he was really serious about playing.  He was determined to give it a try, though!  He practiced with Wade quite a bit and proved to us that he was serious about getting back into baseball.  So, we decided to let him give him another shot!

With Clayton having a March birthday, he will always be one of the youngest kids on the team (Little League birthday cut off is in April).  So, we found out that he would actually be playing in the 9U division.  9U is when they start kid pitch.  Oy-vey!  I had been told that there are LOTS of balls and walks in 9U.  Hmm...  I wondered on more than one occasion what we were getting ourselves into.  It seemed like the odds were stacked against our little Buddy.  :-/

It turned out to be a great season for our Clay-Boy, though!  He showed such heart and character throughout the season.  That made his parents so proud!!!  He improved soooo much from the first game to the last, too.  He LOVED playing ball and is super excited about playing again in the Spring.  I think our boy has found his niche!

It wasn't an easy season, by any means.  In fact, Clayton's team only won one game.  It was a character building season, for sure.  Clayton's coaches were both really great - we couldn't have asked for better.  Coach Brian and Coach Jerry both worked REALLY hard with Clayton and taught him so much about the game.  I was sad to hear that neither of them will be coaching in the Spring.  Major bummer!  We are already praying that he will have a similar experience with his coaches in the Spring.  I never realized how important the coach/player relationship was until this Fall.  Clayton really respected his coaches and looked up to them so much.  It was neat to see him gain admiration for them throughout the season.  Coach Brian sent us a really sweet email after the last game.  He said, "Clayton is a good kid and a pleasure to work with.  He'll definitely go far and make a difference."  It is so nice to know that your kids are around adults that care for them and genuinely want for them to succeed.

Clayton's first time at bat back in August
 Grammie and Papaw came to his first game.
 The Hunts came to his first game, too.  I have no idea why the picture didn't come out - it was perfect on my camera.  :-/
 Clayton played 2nd base most of the season, but Coach Brian let them try almost every position.
He really liked playing catcher!

Clayton stuck with his tee ball number - #8 is great!

 Why does he look 25???  He is growing into such a handsome boy!

 My sweet nieces came with Grammie and Papaw to one of Clayton's last games.  Makinley (my oldest niece), put a picture of Clayton on her Facebook page.  She is a ball player, too, so it is fun for them to have a shared interest.  :)

 C with Coach Brian and Coach Jerry - such nice guys!
Clayton struck out about half the time and walked the other half of the time.  He never showed his frustration and continued to work so hard all season, even though he never got a hit.  Wade would say, "I know he can do it.  He does great at the batting cages.  If he could just get one good hit, I know that it would do wonders for his self confidence."  Wade's Daddy heart wanted that thrill for his boy sooooo bad!  He videoed every single time that Clayton was at bat - just in case this was "the one."  We all wanted him to get a hit so bad that we could taste it.

It came down to the last game and his last time at bat.  I was a nervous wreck - my stomach was in knots. (I got so nervous all season whenever Clayton was batting.  He handled the pressure soooo much better than his Mama.  Ha!)  Clayton got one strike and one ball.  Then, he got his hit!!!  I screamed my head off and even got a little teary.  Ha!  My boy had the BIGGEST smile on his face when he got on base.  After that inning, he said he had to go to the bathroom so that he could come and talk to me in the stands.  He said, "Mom, did you see my hit???"  I assured him that I saw the whole thing.  ;)  It was a great moment for all of us.  Such a fun memory!

We had a fun season cheering on the Braves and our favorite baseball player!  Though the stats may not show it, it was a great season of growth and determination.  We couldn't be prouder of our Clayton!!!