July 9, 2020
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Big first inning leads U12 to win against Hayward

By: Paul Matli
July 5, 2019

Opposite field single, walk, stolen base, scoring on a wild pitch. An 8-run first inning scoring rally was enough for the Rohnert Park 12/60 Blue to hold off Hayward 9-7. This was one of the many games played over the course of the week.

Saturday’s game was part of a week-long tournament called the 12/60 State Tournament. This tournament is the precursor to Regionals, which start in the coming weeks. Rohnert Park Cal Ripken had two teams playing in this tournament, Red and Blue. Family, friends and some members of the community showed up to take in the action and support the two local teams playing in the tournament.

 Rohnert Park Blue seemed to be in control of the game after an 8-run first inning, but Hayward battled back to give them a scare. Rohnert Park’s pitching had a difficult time in the top of the fifth inning. They had to go through three pitchers, including replacing one because of an injury. Though this inning got away from them, Head Coach Jason Chickering was in a good mood overall after the game.

 “I feel like we started out really strong, playing our game,” Chickering said. “We let one inning get away from us, but overall we played well.”

For those who are fans of the San Francisco Giants, Chickering said his team channeled them during the fifth inning. His team felt like making the game interesting for the crowd in attendance instead of having an easy time.

Chickering says he tries to stay positive when the team is having a rough inning. He doesn’t want to be the coach who yells at his players, though he did get after his kids one time in the bottom of the second for getting thrown out at home plate on a passed ball.

“It was actually in the heat of the moment, I’m not the type of coach who likes to get loud,” Chickering said. “The frustrating part was we had just told the kids if you’re going to do something do it, don’t hesitate.”     

 Sometimes a coach needs to get heated with players if they feel the kid made a mistake; this is why Chickering was frustrated, because it cost Rohnert Park Blue a run. Though it can be said it was the heat of the moment frustration, this can also be used as motivation for the Rohnert Park Blue team.

Their ultimate goal is to qualify for the regional tournament and winning the 12/60 State Tournament will go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. Realizing and fixing mistakes is the best way to ensure success.    

 “If we win this tournament we advance to regionals,” Chickering said.

 Though the obvious goal is for Rohnert Park Blue to keep surviving and advancing, Chickering said the most important goal is helping the youngsters improve as ball players. If they do that, he feels his job was done.

 “The end game is getting these players to advance,” Chickering said. “If they come to me at the end of the season and have advanced and improved as players, I’ve done my job.”