He's 8, though, and they start playing t-ball at like 5 - so he was behind the curve a bit. Most of his spare time is at his Dad's on the weekend, so we didn't have many chances to get some glove work in before the league started (which was not helped by lots of winter weather in February/March). He had to "try out" in front of other kids and league coaches, which was a bit painful to watch as he fumbled with grounders and dropped fly balls. Some of those 8-year-olds are scary good. Luckily, they have an entire division of kids at his level (called the "knee-high" league). He's on the Angels and opening day kicked off on April 11, 2010!
Pre-game. The intensity is in the air! Tristan is at the end of the bench. Wearing cleats. And a cup. When I started playing, I was wearing jeans and velcro sneakers - and no cup.
Our #4 warms up.
Look at that form! Nice follow through.
Angels are up first! Tristan looks for his bat.
Like this, coach?
Guys, check me out - I'm gonna totally jack this one.
The fierce look of determination. At-bat #1.
For having all of 2 practices, and in those the only times ever seeing a pitching machine - he still hit safely in his first three plate appearances! Woo! First base, baby!
Onward to 2nd!
And again to 3rd! He would score two runs today!
He started at 2nd base, but they rotate to a different position every inning they play, and every kid plays every position. Today he played 2B, CF & P (well, pitcher's mound). When he ran out to 2nd for the first time, he ran right to the base and stood there - he didn't know where to go. (I told him to move over, and he said "but Coach said I'm playing 2nd!")
Totally ready for whatever! Swing, batter, swing!
These kids have a lot of trouble throwing and catching. They play a 10-batter max inning, meaning they either stop when they get 3 outs or after 10 batters. They make it to the full 10 a lot. His team maybe got 4 or 5 outs this whole game, and Tristan made two of them! Look at that form! Knees bent, glove down, hell yeah. He totally picked this grounder up and threw the guy out at 1st! I was so proud of him - he was beaming!
At-bat, home plate style.
Footwork needs some royal adjustment, but good swing!
Another base hit!
Running scared from 2nd to 3rd!
Look at me, I can be... center field!
He picked up this ball and promptly threw to 2nd (about 5 feet away) and made another out!! Awwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah.
The Angels racked up 17 runs on this day and beat the Marlins 17-11. Tristan was 3-for-4 and scored twice. Great start! You can even check out his 2010 stats. So far, he's hitless (0-for-9) since that first game. Bummer! Before we signed him up, he didn't have a whole lot of interest in using a glove to try to catch; we'd mess around with batting, usually using plastic bats and nerf-style soft balls. Since he started playing, though, he wants to play catch ALL the time - even more than he wants to practice batting! This is awesome. He has a habit of getting frustrated easily and he's shown some real persistence in wanting to practice, and I think he's getting better every day. He's got a great arm, though he'll need to get a little stronger to really be able to catch as well as he should, but he's improving all the time!