Temperance on the diamond

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) Machine Pitch all-star team suffered a lopsided loss Friday to open its run in the 2019 Dixie Youth Baseball Machine Pitch State Tournament in Victoria, but the area boys maintained excellent attitudes throughout and rebounded Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Dinwiddie American All-Stars.

“We played very well all around on defense, getting excellent contributions from everyone involved,” PEFYA Machine Pitch Manager Tom Wears said of Saturday’s game. “Our outfielders have continued to improve and are increasingly active in making plays on the ball and in being in position to back up throws and our infielders.

“Offensively, after a quiet first inning, we were able to keep pressure on the Dinwiddie Americans throughout the game, forcing them to have to make plays on defense,” he continued.

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The primary focus for Wears, however, was not on offensive and defensive heroics but on his players’ temperaments.

“We were also really pleased with how our guys kept positive attitudes and never really hung their heads,” he said. “There were some problems with the machine, and some pitches were coming out very high on occasion, but it was the same for both teams, and our guys did an excellent job making adjustments in the batter’s box, sliding back some, and laying off some of the bad pitches and waiting to take advantage of the good pitches.  None of our players complained at all about the situation with the machine and just kept competing.

“We have seen a lot of growth in our players over the two tournaments as it relates to keeping positive attitudes and competing on each and every play of the game regardless of score or situation,” he continued. “We are really pleased with how much they seem to be developing both their physical and mental skills as we have progressed.”

The PEFYA All-Stars fell 14-3 in their opener Friday against the host team, the Lunenburg County Youth Baseball League All-Stars.

Wears said his team played much better than the score indicated.

“(The Lunenburg All-Stars) had a big second inning where they beat us with a lot of hits up the middle,” he said. “We struggled a bit on offense. We were not able to string a lot of hits together and had a number of solid struck balls that were hit right at people.”

This was another instance in which Wears highlighted how his players did not despair but tried to fight their way back into the game.

“It is a tough level to play at when the other team is hitting it back up the middle,” he said. “You can’t make any adjustments with how you pitch the other team and your defensive pitcher plays off to one side. We tried to pinch our middle infielders in and play one of our outfielders in short center to try to protect the middle, and Lunenburg ended up hitting it behind our second baseman in the hole created by pinching our infielders.”

The Prince Edward-Farmville boys were set to play Lunenburg in an elimination game rematch Monday at 6 p.m.