Senior Babe Ruth league offers year-round training
Sixteen-to-18 year old baseball players in Truckee will no longer have to settle for the off-kilter title of the ‘boys of spring.’
While the high school spring sports have wound down, a resurrected Senior Babe Ruth will give athletes a chance to extend their season well into July, and truly be the ‘Boys of summer.’
The team will be comprised largely of athletes from Tahoe-Truckee High Schools’ baseball team.
“It’s open to anybody 16-18 years old, but we only have room for 16 players. If we get more interest than that, we would form another team, but right now we only have enough interest for one team,” said Jason Estabrook, who will be the head coach of the Truckee Senior Babe Ruth team. Estabrook is also the head coach of the Tahoe Truckee High School baseball team.
The team will play in an 18-game schedule in the eight-team league.
Three teams will hail from Reno, two from Sparks and one each from North Tahoe, South Tahoe and Truckee.
All of Truckee’s games will be played in Reno at the Governor’s Bowl in the evening.
The season will culminate in July with the Nevada State Tournament for Senior Babe Ruth teams.
Estabrook and others involved in youth baseball in the area hope the program will afford teenagers of all more opportunities to play the game on a consistent basis.
“[The Senior Babe Ruth] league is something that hasn’t been very effective. In fact, it was on the brink of extinction,” Estabrook said.
The additional playing time in the summer is important, Estabrook says, because time on the field in February and March is restricted due to whether.
To that end, Estabrook, for the second year in a row, will be taking 8-10 players back to Division 1 Birmingham Southern College in Alabama for Premiere Camp, an intensive three-day regional youth baseball camp.
“The reason why I do this is to show them the world of baseball outside of little Truckee,” said Estabrook, who attended the college on a four-year full-ride scholarship. “It’s the right atmosphere out there – and they are going to be competing with kids from all over the southeast and all over the country for that matter.”
Estabrook can personally attest to just how important that exposure is, as the drive and talent of other players was a real slap after he arrived at Birmingham Southern.
“When I got out there I found out I was a big fish in a little pond. I wasn’t as good as I thought I was,” he said. “And there were kids who were willing to work twice as hard as me for a starting position.”
While Estabrook is looking to broaden the game’s horizons for local players, more than anything, the camp (and the Babe Ruth team) is about the fundamentals.
It was, after all, a lack of fundamentals, not drive, that came at critical times during this season that kept the Truckee Wolverines out of the NIAA 3A Northern Zone Tournament.
Needing only one win in their final four games to get in, the Wolverines ended up dropping a pair of double headers to both Lowry and North Tahoe.
They lost the first game of both of those twin bills on plays that hinged on errors or mental mistake. Its those kinds of lapses that Estabrook thinks additional playing time will help smooth out.
“[Fundamentals are] what Truckee lacks the most. This camp teaches the same fundamental I teach – Pitching and defense. And we work on hitting,” he said. “Fundamentals eliminates fielding errors. And if we eliminate three of four fielding errors from this past season, I think we are looking at the playoffs.”
So with the Wolverines eliminated earlier then they probably should have been, Estabrook is already onto another of the game’s fundamentals – the mantra of ‘wait ’til next year.’
“The purpose is to improve our performance next spring,” he said.
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As another summer heads to Lake Tahoe, residents are finding ways to stay busy and one of the more popular activities to gain traction on both shores is pickleball.