FREDERICKTOWN — It’s a big step from Little League to high school baseball. For many, that step can also be a good, strong dose of reality.
For some of the area’s more dedicated 12-year-olds, the Central Ohio Youth Baseball League is a chance to match up against the better players from all over Central Ohio.
“There’s lots of Little League teams that have one kid who is bigger than everyone else,” said Tim Cunningham, head coach of the Knox County-based Mid-Ohio Blaze. “He hits better. He pitches better. But, when he gets to high school, he’s not the biggest kid anymore.”
The COYBL gives younger players the kind of challenge that they are not liable to get before they reach the scholastic level.
“He finds out that there’s somebody pretty good in the next town and the next town and the town after that,” said Cunningham. “It adds up.”
The Blaze play their home games at Fredericktown Community Park, where the field dimensions are a step closer to what they will see in high school.
This is not just a league that challengs the kids to win. Young players in the COYBL are in an environment where they are challenged to learn and grow. In the recently-played Upper Arlington Tournament, the Blaze lost an early-round game against Ohio Merchants of Big Walnut, 9-5. When it counted, however, they put on a display of the kind of maturity they will need in high school and beyond.
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