Ahwatukee All-Stars keep their eye on the ball - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Ahwatukee All-Stars keep their eye on the ball

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Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:00 pm | Updated: 12:11 pm, Fri Jul 23, 2010.

Bill Weaver had to reign in their focus just a tad and the threat of pushups to a bunch of 9- and 10-year-olds can be like the idea of an IRS audit to an adult.

A cold sweat breaks out on the brow, the hands get clammy and they'll listen to everything they are told.

So last Tuesday after the Ahwatukee 9- and 10-year-old baseball team wanted to lead its post-game celebration chant with "Yuma" their coach had to set them straight.

"Hey, I don't want to hear you talk about Yuma again," Weaver told them. "If I hear it again everyone is going to do 10 pushups."

Weaver's point was simple coaching mantra: There was no reason to think about the destination of the state sectional tournament before officially qualifying.

Now, they can all talk about Yuma, and parents can make hotel reservations, after the team went on to win the next three games in the District 13 All-Star baseball tournament, including Saturday's 13-5 win over Tempe South in the champion game, at Tempe Sports Complex.

"He was telling us that we still had work to do and it got us thinking about the next game instead of the next (tournament)," outfielder Michael Zorker said in the postgame celebration that included Weaver twice getting soaked by water jugs.

So it is off to Yuma where six other district championship teams await. The tournament gets under way on Monday with the top two teams advancing to Douglas for the state tournament.

To get to Yuma, Ahwatukee won all eight of its games, played superior defense and pitched exceptionally well.

While many of their opponents allowed infield ground balls directly at defenders turn into way too many base runners this team made the routine look, well, routine. Ahwatukee gave up a total of 19 runs in eight games.

"We had one player decide not to play and another (Ryan Jackovich) get hurt two days before the tournament started," Weaver said. "We had to refocus our game plan because they were going to be our four and five hitters. We knew we weren't going to hit a lot of long balls. After that we knew we were going to have to win it with pitching and defense.

"And these kids came through in a big way."

The rest of the Ahwatukee All-Star teams didn't fare as well.

The Juniors, or 13-year-old team, didn't win a game, while the 10- and 11- year-old squad lost 11-3 in Friday's semifinals as the third seed to eventual runner-up Tempe South.

The Majors squad missed out on the semifinals all together do to a tie-breaker.

The top five teams in the seven-team tournament all finished with 4-2 records in pool play so the deciding factor as to what teams advanced to the semifinals came down to the second tiebreaker - runs allowed ratio.

It is the total runs allowed divided by the number of innings played on defense. Ahwatukee had no chance.

The Majors allowed a total of 51 runs in its six games while Chandler National North allowed 22, Chandler American 26, Chandler National South 27 and Tempe South, the eventual champion, allowed 31.

So Ahwatukee's Little League pride comes down to the youngest team of the four.

And this group is more than prepared to take it to the next level. Just don't expect to talk about advancing to Douglas for the state tournament anytime soon.

"We don't want to do pushups," first baseman Cameron Polich said. "We are going to Yuma and we only care about winning our first game."

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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