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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Thanks for sharing you and your boy's story.
    WAR EAGLE!

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    • Boy last night was tough... Not just the loss. But the end of a lifetime of work.

      He pitched a complete game up 1 earned run and lost. Wow that was a tough way to lose. When you give up 1 earned run against one of the top 6a schools in our state you've really done something.

      In the bottom of the 7th we needed 3 runs to extend the game. I peaked in the dugout and my boy had lost it. I think it hit him all at once that this was the end. He was crying like a new born child.

      After the game all the kids and parents were crying. We've been playing with these boys all their lives.

      Baseball can teach kids so much about life and the parents to. If someone ask me for advice I would say this.... Tell your kids to respect their coach, respect their teammates, respect the game and love it. After-all baseball is more than a game it is a reflection of our American way of life and our family institution.

      Love the game love each other .

      Lamar granddad of Levi Hopper.


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      • I don't know how many people read this message board....maybe no one.

        If any of you know of a coach that needs a good ball player contact me via private message.

        I think my boy could be a quality second base at the next level. He throws in the mid 80's on a good day touches upper 80's. Good curveball and a changeup that needs some work.

        Sparks


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        • Sparks:

          First, of course, congrats to you and Levi for a great baseball career up to this point. After this? As Song notes, "You never know."

          Second, even if he weren't to pick up a ball again, I take issue with your conclusion - said in an emotional moment, I know - that it's "the end of a lifetime of work." He's learned - with bumps and detours along the way, to be sure - to pick himself up and give his best for his team. And, don't underestimate the significance of him crying as his realization of the end of his high school career overwhelmed him; we pray (or should pray) that our kids will find something, anything, of value to become passionate about. A year and a half ago there was a question in your mind as to whether he cared much about anything, baseball included. And, as you note, kids need to develop and internalize this: "to respect their coach, respect their teammates, respect the game and love it." That will stay with him, almost as much as the love of you and his grandmother.

          Time after time he's stood on a mound all alone and faced down the best hitters in the state with a questionale infield behind him, but with the hopes of his teammates, their families, the team's supporters, and the school all resting on him. And he's come through time after time. After all that, you think there's much that the next 80 years of his life has much to throw at him that he can't handle?

          Savor the glow of the experience. Get to work contacting coaches and contacting people who themselves can contact coaches, and see if you two can't keep it alive. But, whatever happens, he's in a better place than he could ever have expected 8 years ago.

          Thanks for sharing the story so far. Keep us posted.
          Last edited by Ursa Major; 04-21-2014, 01:14 AM.
          sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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          • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
            I don't know how many people read this message board....maybe no one.

            If any of you know of a coach that needs a good ball player contact me via private message.

            I think my boy could be a quality second base at the next level. He throws in the mid 80's on a good day touches upper 80's. Good curveball and a changeup that needs some work.

            Sparks


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            I don't know how many people read this post either, but I do and I'd bet more than you think. Ever since I found it a few months back and spent 2 solid days at my office reading every post and pretending to work. It was an amazing read and you are an amazing Grandpa & person. Thank you for sharing your journey over the years Lamar. It's really helped me put aspects of my life in perspective. I am more appreciative of each moment I am able to share with my boys on the field and in our backyard because of your post. I wish you and Levi the best and hope this post doesn't end anytime soon.

            DJF

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            • IF it is indeed the end, it's been a fun journey, hasn't it? However, it seems the kid found the maturity and love for the game that you always hoped he would have right at the end of high school. If he's found that, it doesn't necessarily have to be over. Many JC's hold tryouts late just in case they missed someone. For example, I know Lamar Community College holds spring and fall one day tryouts. JC rosters aren't all that stable, so they are a good option for the late comer. I'm sure other JC's do the same. Get in contact with some of those schools and find out. Actually, he should do it. If it's going to happen, Levi has to be the driving force. Good luck. This thread has been an inspiration to many of us.
              Last edited by Jake Patterson; 04-21-2014, 01:07 PM. Reason: Fixed Ital

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              • Coach from a juco college in FL called. My boy is going down to see the coach and have a solo tryout for the team this weekend.

                Sparks


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                • They posted the final stats today

                  ERA1.67
                  Wins5
                  Innings Pitched58.2
                  Total Strike Outs67
                  Loss3
                  Appearances11
                  Save1
                  Innings Pitched Decimal58.2
                  Base On Balls Against16
                  Batters Struck Out67
                  Home Runs Against0
                  Batters Faced265
                  Wild Pitches4
                  Pick Offs2




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                  • He has good control and a good strike out to walk ratio. Throwing in the mid 80's he should have no problem finding an opportunity to pitch somewhere at the next level.

                    Playing the last high school game is emotional even if there is more ball to be played. I remember my daughter being upset it was all over with five teammates she had played with every year since 7th grade and went out to dinner with ever post game Friday night. I remember my son philosophically saying unless you win the state championship you're doomed to lose your last game.

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                    • First college tryout today. They only let him pitch.
                      His average fastball was at 85mph but the coach said he was pounding the strikezone with all three of his pitches.

                      Sparks


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                      • Well, my boy just got back from the long drive to the tryout (I couldn't go).
                        He said the coach told him his average fastball was 85mph and his off-speed was very good. He said he can't understand why other colleges aren't looking at him. He told my boy had "the stuff" to pitch at the next level.

                        It was a good day. Wish I could have gone.....

                        Sparks


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                        • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                          Well, my boy just got back from the long drive to the tryout (I couldn't go).
                          He said the coach told him his average fastball was 85mph and his off-speed was very good. He said he can't understand why other colleges aren't looking at him. He told my boy had "the stuff" to pitch at the next level.

                          It was a good day. Wish I could have gone.....

                          Sparks


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                          Maybe that spark has been rekindled?

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                          • This seems like really positive news.

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                            • Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                              Maybe that spark has been rekindled?
                              Mini-Sparks' spark?
                              "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                              - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                              • Be careful to pick the right school, not the dream school. If he ends up with choices go where he is loved and being pursued, not just where they are interested. A kid at a school where he is pursued will get more opportunity than where they are just interested. A friend's son realized his freshman year he was the "just in case others fail" third choice recruit at his position. He won't get twenty at bats again this year. It was his dream school, not the right school. The right academic, social and geographical fit are just as important. Baseball will suffer if he's not happy.

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