The Dodge City 16U club baseball team competed in a home triangular on Saturday at Red Demon Field and beat Kinsley 7-6 and lost to Russell 7-6.
It was the seventh and eighth game of the summer under the direction of head coach Zach Shipley who is also the head varsity coach of Dodge City High School’s baseball team.
Shipley enjoys the club baseball system because it allows both him and the players to start to get a feel for the future of Red Demon baseball.
“They get to know me and the way I like to coach,” Shipley said. “I get to kind of get a feel for them and it helps me see what we need to work on with them. So it’s kind of like a six-week training camp, you could say.”
And while Shipley presides over the future, the present for the Red Demons get another watchful eye over the summer, something that he says is very valuable for his varsity player’s playing in the 18U summer league.
“It helps our kids out because they may see a lot of things I miss,” Shipley said. “I’m never too proud to ask for help so it’s good to get six, eight, ten different eyes on them.”
It’s part of a rebuilding process that Shipley, going into his third season next spring as Dodge City High School’s head coach, understand is necessary to foster consistent success.
A process that involves not only bettering those interested, but attracting more and more area kids to choose and commit to baseball, something that has been a struggle for Shipley and his staff.
“Right now we’re fighting a numbers game,” Shipley said. “And it’s slim pickings right now. We’re trying get as many kids out and build. But it’s a process. We’re not going to have 40 kids right off the bat trying out for 16s and 18s. Having said that, I have some really talented kids who want to be there and that’s what matters. I’ll take quality over quantity any time.”
The 16U team takes on Great Bend this evening in a doubleheader at 5 and 7 p.m. at Red Demon Field.