Archive for Thursday, January 30, 2003

Baseball association on the ball with league changes

January 30, 2003

Eudora Amateur Baseball Association organizers hope changes this upcoming season will hit a home run with players and parents rather than leaving them crying foul ball.

The biggest change this season will be league affiliation, and EABA secretary Janet Campbell said she hoped those involved would see the positive part of the change.

"We think even though we'll be playing Lawrence teams, and even though they are perceived as bigger teams, we're confident we'll be able to compete pretty well," Campbell said.

In the 13 years she's been involved with EABA, Campbell said the association had been a part of the Big Four League, which lately has consisted of Eudora, Baldwin and Wellsville teams. By playing in the Douglas County Amateur Baseball Association, Campbell said the EABA hoped to open more doors for players.

"They are excited to come to Eudora," she said. "Our fields are very appealing to them."

Whereas Lawrence teams will now have road games, Eudora teams will also have the shorter drive to Lawrence. The change will also mean more games, from 18 to 20 a season.

Campbell said the changes wouldn't affect the fees, coaches or uniforms, but teams would now comprise players of the same age group. For instance, rather than grouping 8- and 7-year-old on the same team, each age group will have its own team. That also means the draft will be for players of the same age.

Campbell said that would allow players who would have been in the younger group on the team to get the same amount of playing time as the players who would have been in the older group. That was perhaps most notable, she said, when the players rather than coaches began pitching -- on the 9- and 10-year-old team. You don't see many 9-year-old pitchers, Campbell said.

"Now everyone will be on the same playing level," she said. "I think this will make better baseball players when they get into high school."

The EABA also hopes to get some help with the draft from Eudora High School baseball coach Dirk Kinney.

"He can give us some leadership skills these kids need to be working on," Campbell said.

The new format will include some sort of post-season play, although details haven't yet been hammered out.

Sign-ups for the EABA teams will be from 9 a.m. to noon March 1 and 8, and from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 12 at the Eudora Middle School cafeteria.

Teams for players 13 and older were associated with the Babe Ruth League, but Campbell said there weren't enough teams in this part of the state to have a K-10 Corridor League.

"It really brings a lot of baseball to Eudora," Campbell said. "We are desperately looking for someone who might be interested in putting that league together."

That would include securing teams and scheduling, Campbell said. Anyone who is interested in working with a 13- and-older league or coaching any EABA team can call Campbell at 542-2412 or Monica Durkin at 542-2240.

Campbell said parents interested in having their children play but who are concerned about the cost can call her or other board members so the EABA can work something out.

"We don't want to turn any of those kids away," she said.

"Eudora should be proud of how we've supported baseball. When you drive into town and see our fields, it makes our community attractive. I think Lawrence recognizes that."

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