By Kevin Eickman
On a Friday morning while most of us were at work, the 15 Mid-Atlantic Red Sox 15 and under baseball team was taking the field in Salisbury, MD. This team of talented players has is composed of young athletes from all over the area, but three of them were varsity players on the Milford Buccaneers this past season. The list contains freshman Bryce Greenly along with sophomores Abraham Mow and William Kimmel.
There is little doubt that the level of competition when it comes to travel ball, has enhanced the skill set of the players who participate. Watching Greenly, Mow and Kimmel last season, it was clear to see that they possessed sound fundamentals that will serve them well in the future. Speaking with Milford coach Nick Brannan, he echoed the sentiment that it greatly enhances a players ability. “When you travel and play against the level of competition that those three have, there is no way that you are not going to become a better ball player,” Brannan said. “It’s an organization that has maintained high standards, I don’t think it was any coincidence that those three players finished the season as starters on the varsity team.”
One of the benefits of playing travel ball is exposure for the young baseball player, there are however many others. The Red Sox do a great deal of traveling during the summer, something that helps build a camaraderie. “This is like a family here, we are all pulling for each other and always there for one another,” said parent Edwin Mow. “Look, we are all parents with busy schedules, but the fact that we are really close knit helps a great deal.”
Speaking further with Mr. Mow, it is clear that he has great respect for the skills the players are developing. “It’s real special to have watched them develop since little league,” Mow stated. “This is all part of the family aspect, we have watched them develop from children to young men, it is fantastic to watch it all unfold.” One of the greatest areas of development Mow has seen is that of confidence, just another factor that he believes will contribute to their futures. “You see them grow in confidence and they are rapidly developing the notion that they can play at the next level,” stated Mow.
William Kimmel, who played in eight games at catcher for the Buccaneers this past season is also a big plan of travel ball. “It’s really great, we get to see new places and meet new people so it’s a great deal of fun,” Kimmel said. “The fact that you are with your friends makes it a lot of fun, you really get to spend a lot of time with people you like.”
The manager of the Red Sox is Chris Hudson, who has been involved with the team since 2001. Like most everyone else involved in the organization, it’s about what the players get out of it. “To watch them grow up and mature is spectacular. In some cases they start as eight or nine years old and just like that you are watching them head off to college,” Hudson said. “The dedication and commitment the kids give is a real testament to what kind of people as well as players they become.”