It’s like college for the CobrasPublished 12:01am Thursday, July 19, 2012
VIDALIA — They may just be 7- and 8-year-olds, but that doesn’t disqualify the Concordia Cobras from college baseball drills.
The USSSA tournament select team is in its third year of existence, and the players have gotten extended exposure to the way colleges practice their players, said head coach Will Mabry.
“All of us played college ball,” Mabry said. “We do the same drills and other things that we picked up in college. That’s what we’re teaching them.”
The Cobras’ season runs from February until around the end of July or the beginning of August, when the Governor’s Cup takes place in Vicksburg. Mabry said the team consists of high-potential players that love baseball enough to put a lot of work into the game.
“They love the game,” Mabry said. “They’d play a game every day if they could. The beauty of it is, after a game, they don’t know if they’ve won or lost, they just want to know where the snowball machine is.”
At a young age, Mabry said his players are still able to pick up a lot of things from the drills the coaches put them through.
“They did the same drills we did (in college), to the extent that they can do them,” Mabry said.
“These kids respond to it really well because of both their talent and their desire. I told a friend once that we play 30 games, and he said that was a lot of games for kids that age to be playing. I told him that these kids would play 100 games if we could get to them. That’s the kind of player we’re looking for.”
Mabry also said exposing his players to stiff competition helps improve their skills as baseball players.
“We saw a lot of ability in these kids, and we wanted to give them a little bit more of a challenge with a higher level of competition,” Mabry said. “When you get to Jackson or Baton Rouge, you have to find the best 10 to 12 kids if you even want to compete.”
Fundamentals is the name of the game for the Cobras, and Mabry said he’s not as concerned about wins and losses as he is with teaching the players the right way to play baseball.
“It’s easier to teach them the right way on the front side of things than having to correct it on the backside,” Mabry said.
Mason Moore, 7, said his coaches teach him the correct way to hit home runs, catch the ball and throw the ball. He said he prefers throwing sidearm.
“It’s a little bit more comfortable,” Moore said.
As a first baseman, Moore said he enjoys getting to field the ball whenever a ground ball is hit in his direction.
“I like first base, because it makes me more aggressive,” Moore said. “I go hard after the ball.”
Will Mabry Jr., who plays shortstop and centerfield, said baseball is a sport he’s taken a liking to on his own.
“I don’t like it because my dad does it, I like it because I like it,” Mabry Jr. said.
Mabry Jr. said his favorite thing to do is catch fly balls in center field, but he also likes throwing people out playing shortstop.
“I kind of like (playing both positions) the same,” Mabry Jr. said.
But once he gets a certain age, Mabry Jr. said he would be trying another position.
“I want to be a pitcher,” Mabry Jr. said. “I have a fastball and curveball, and I sometimes throw a knuckle ball. I can throw strikes.”
The elder Mabry said he enjoys seeing the players play baseball, but it’s not something he does because of selfish reasons.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about travel coaches,” Mabry said. “We’re not trying to relive our youth through our kids. We just want to teach the game.”
If anyone is interested in tournament select ball, Mabry said to call him at 601-807-5320.