AP NEWS

Deer Park 9U all-stars forming a competitive, fun spirit

May 30, 2018

With five boys on the Deer Park 9-and-under All-Stars roster whose first names end with the word “den,” don’t look for this team to match the definition of den.

According to the dictionary, a den is a retreat or a place for a wild animal to hide.

Well, Aiden, Ayden, Jaiden, Kayden and Brayden and the rest of their teammates aren’t planning to retreat or hide from their summer all-star opponents.

With a wealth of pitching who the coaching staff feels has the potential to be above-average control pitchers, Deer Park could be poised for an exciting all-star campaign.

“You always worry about them being able to hit the strike zone but we have at least half if not a couple more who can consistently hit the strike zone which is great because Pony (Baseball) has adopted the pitch count rule. That’ll be interesting to see how we use that strategically in tournaments,” Manager Andrew Carter said prior to a Tuesday night practice at the Ruth Minchen Athletic Complex.

Unfortunately, the team’s army of arms suffered a setback when Brennen Rentas, the team’s only southpaw and maybe the hardest-throwing youngster, cracked the middle finger knuckle on his right hand as he dove into the second-base bag one recent night.

Obviously, the silver lining to his injury is the fact that it happened to his non-throwing hand.

“I can’t play for three weeks because I have to have this on for two and then a soft cast for a week,” said Rentas, pointing to his current cast. “I just have to miss one little tournament.”

Once he’s healed and he can throw off a mound again, it’ll give the pitching staff a big boost.

“In the last season, my coach told my grandparents that I was one of the fastest-throwing pitchers he’s seen for this league,” Rentas said.

The rest of the pitching staff is expected to feature Brayden Keller, Ayden Luna, Lucas Carter, Jaiden Gaddis, Shay Kight and Cameron Collier.

Collier and Kight pitched and played other positions for the division champion Padres. Anthony Rojas, another member of the Padres, may be found at shortstop.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play different positions so it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. We’ve got some good athletes,” Carter said.

The rest of the roster will feature the names of Aiden Gorom, who will represent the Cardinals, Red Sox representative Carson Williams, Astros representative Eric Jensen and Pirates representative Kayden Donnelly.

“We have a lot of things that could really help us out. We have some really good hitters,” said Donnelly, who will play somewhere in the infield.

The boys displayed a lot of energy and we’re working hard at their various stations throughout Tuesday’s practice. With time on their side before the parade of tournaments begin, the Deer Park 9U All-Stars show all the signs of being a competitive bunch when it’s all said and done.