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Pilot fall baseball project flies high with results

Posted on October 16, 2013 by Taber Times

For head coach Rob Virginillo, the purpose of his fall Junior Spurs baseball team was to continue to have its players fall in love with the game. Judging by the fall season that just concluded earlier this month — it was mission accomplished.

The Junior Spurs featured players from the Taber-Vauxhall-Brooks area with the season concluding at Jets Stadium in Vauxhall the first weekend in October

Fall baseball is not a new idea in Canada, but for the purposes of the Taber/Vauxhall region it is, and players and parents warmed to the concept for the pilot project.

The team won all four of its games earlier this month, but game scores were secondary to the team’s goals, which is honing skills for the spring.

“Performance-wise, we did the right things. You could see the improvement. We threw more strikes than we did at the beginning, hitters were coming along and kids handled their positions. You could see the progression,” said Virginillo.

“I was happy with what happened. The whole point of it was to get more players playing baseball for a longer time and maybe wanting to continue to play more. Everybody understood that it was playing time for everybody. This is for development and getting the kids wanting to play baseball more. Everybody got to play as much equal as possible, players got to play some positions they might normally not have played and pitch who normally don’t pitch.”

Although commonly known as a spring sport, Virginillo added the Junior Spurs were able to enjoy beautiful weather for the most part in four of the five weekends the Junior Spurs played.

“It was what it was. We got 20 games in at four games a weekend. That is more than we ever get in, in the spring in a longer period,” said Virginillo, who also coaches the Vauxhall Vikings baseball team.

“In the fall you probably could play for another week or two, where the weather usually isn’t bad until Halloween. I was happy with getting a good number of players from a variety of areas between Grade 9-12. The majority were Grade 10s and 11s, so that’s good for next year. It was a mix of guys who have played for the (Vauxhall Spurs) and guys who want to play for the Spurs and guys who want to play baseball longer. Whether the sport is their first love or just want to play it longer, it’s nice.” Virginillo is also planning on winter training seasons as well.

“So when the spring comes, it’s not like a kid hasn’t touched a ball in forever. It will be somewhat fresh when you have done something in growing the game more,” said Virginillo, adding a fun wrap-up intersquad game concluded the season at Jets Stadium.

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