- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 April 2010 16:01
- Published on Wednesday, 07 April 2010 16:01
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Their destiny is written in the fabric of America’s greatest pastime. Tom Clift, Potomac Warriors 13 (5-1) and under manager and King George resident had a long-term goal to prepare this team for the next level. Currently, the Warriors are on a warpath, taking on the toughest USSSA 13 and under competition in the tri-state region and beyond.
“We started out with the goal of making it to the high school level; however, our hope now is to have our players capable of playing college level baseball someday,” Clift said during a recent practice at Trinity Field in King George.
The Potomac Warriors 13 and under team is an extension of the Potomac Warriors 14 and under Maryland-based team.
Comparable to a well-tuned high performance race car engine, the Warriors have no weak links in their roster. In fact, every player on the roster is capable of producing both at the plate and in the field.
“Because of the work ethic attributed to playing fundamentals, this team is the strongest group we’ve ever had,” Clift said. “We don’t use trick plays — it’s just solid baseball.”
Peering into the player personnel that comprises the Warriors, there is a consistency of talent that does not know the meaning of quit. The starting pitchers who rotate most of the mound duty are Dylan Luttrell and Hunter Tolliver. Middle pitchers who sustain the team through long innings are Blake Clift, Kyle Edelen and Jake Magill. Closers include LJay Newsome and Nick Graves.
The membership is a mix of players from King George, Colonial Beach, Fredericksburg and Maryland.
Clift and his assistants pay close attention to each individual player’s pitch count.
“You can win now or you can win later — if you ruin their arms now, they will never have a chance to go anywhere,” Clift said. “If a player has a game coming up on Monday, I will not pitch him over the weekend.”
The Warriors infield consists of Jake Magill at third base, LJay Newsome at shortstop, Trevor Lyburn and Dylan Luttrell at second base, Blake Clift at first base, and Kyle Edelen at catcher.
Speed, judgement and fielding go hand-in-hand when it comes to the members of the Warriors outfield core: Drew Berry in center field, Riley Sneden in left field, and Zach Stein in right field.
The team is rooted in the commitment of true year-round baseball.
“I wanted to find kids who wanted to play baseball throughout the year,” Clift said. “If a player takes off a few months to play another sport, his skill set will digress.”
Clift has been affiliated with the team since it began as an 11 and under group. The majority of the core membership of the Warriors has been together for the past three years.
Currently three members of the team are playing for the Fox junior varsity baseball team and one player is affiliated with the Colonial Beach Middle School baseball team.
The team chemistry may be the hidden intangible that is the underlying link to their success on the field.
“These guys are starting to learn how each teammate will react — they react off each other’s motions,” Clift said. “It’s not an individual sport; it’s truly a team sport and everybody has something to contribute.”
Baseball fans interested in witnessing the Warriors compete, should venture out to the YMCA Patriot Park, in Spotsylvania, Saturday, April 10. Information pertaining to the Warriors can be found by accessing www.leaguelineup.com/potomacwarriors.
Leonard M. Banks