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Sparks Journey from Little League to College

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  • Originally posted by JoeG View Post
    One thing that confused me about this story was what kind of school Southern Union State Community College is and what baseball division it is in. So I did a little research and this is what I found:

    Southern Union is a public 2-year college. For baseball, it is an NJCAA school which is part of the Alabama Community Conference, which is part of Region 22, Division I.

    Division I NJCAA (2 year colleges) is not the same as Division I NCAA (4 year colleges). NJCAA baseball scholarships are more favorable, with 24 full scholarships available. Sources:

    http://www.njcaa.org/sports/bsb/teams-page

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/seaso...?Y=2015&L=ACCC

    http://www.hsbaseballweb.com/how_many_scholarships.htm (scroll down to NJCAA)
    This was already covered. You need to go back about a year and a half ago in this thread.

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    • Originally posted by TXDAD View Post
      This was already covered. You need to go back about a year and a half ago in this thread.
      Not sure what you mean. I read every single message, several multiple times in that part of the thread. It was not covered well.

      While it was made clear that Southern Union is a two-year school, Sparksdale expressed confusion about whether JuCo's such as Southern Union were d2 or something else. Rooth66 in message 1740 said JC's have both D1 and D2 classifications. Nobody ever did clarify if it was D1 or D2. Sparksdale did mention it was a full scholarship, including room and board. Beyond that . . . nothing.

      Someone who knows how all this works already may have figured it out based on context. Not me. This was all new to me and confusing, especially because many times in the thread you see mentioned the 11.7/9/0 scholarships available for D1/D2/D3 in 4-year NCAA schools.

      The confusing thing is that the vast majority of the time when someone on this thread throws out D1 or D2 they are talking about NCAA D1, or NCAA D2. Little Sparks is in NJCAA D1, which is not at all the same thing as NCAA D1. Different level of competition, different scholarship rules, and different college experience.

      Comment


      • It seemed fairly straightforward. I guess if you are not familiar with college sports it can seem confusing.

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        • I got to see little Sparks this weekend. His spirits are really high. Seems he really likes the new pitching coach the team hired. The new pitching coach told him he thinks he's gotten another 2 or 3 mph on his fastball. (Said he's not going to gun them this early in the season). He's made an adjustment on his mechanics and Sparks is excited and working hard.

          I'm still concerned about his grades. Just pray he works it out.

          A side note: I use the Tapatalk app now and it seems the website has been down a lot? A few times I've tried to post stuff and it tells me to try later??

          Sparksdale


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • As far as D1 and Juco and all that???

            I can tell you it's hard to get a scholarship at any level. It's an honor in my opinion.

            As far as D1 being another level? Of course. It's a much higher level than where little Sparks is. But I'll tell you this... considering the path little Sparks has had, its a pure joy to see him get a scholarship at any level. Very proud of him. It's been a long journey with many ups and many downs. But it been a great ride. I'm very blessed to have been a small part of it.

            Sparks


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
              A side note: I use the Tapatalk app now and it seems the website has been down a lot? A few times I've tried to post stuff and it tells me to try later??

              Sparksdale


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
              The website has been down off-and-on for days.

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              • Not much to report.

                Drove down to see them play this weekend. Little Sparks didn't play again. It was a long drive down there and back and when he doesn't play it's disappointing.

                Till next time
                Sparks


                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                • Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                  Not much to report.

                  Drove down to see them play this weekend. Little Sparks didn't play again. It was a long drive down there and back and when he doesn't play it's disappointing.

                  Till next time
                  Sparks


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                  Was it there wasn't a save opportunity or has he been moved down the depth chart in the bullpen?

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                  • Jett

                    We just don't know. They have 19 pitchers on the roster and it's early in the season.

                    Sparks


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                    • Update;

                      It's a mess at the school. From what I'm hearing the head coach has gone nuts. They are still early in the season playing against what I call "warm up teams". They are getting beat left and right.

                      Sparks has played one inning. He was suspended for this past weekend games. He said he missed a team breakfast.

                      Last year the head coach was fired. All I hear is rumors and don't really know why. A few months later 32 of the players went to the school athletic director and said they were leaving if the head coach didn't get his job back.

                      Important: Little Sparks did not go.

                      Out of the blue the head coach came walking onto the practice field and said he was back. He turned to his pitching coach and told him to sit on the stands he wasn't coaching anymore.
                      So the pitching coach left so did several players.

                      So far the season is a disaster. Not to mention the head coach recruited his own son to play SS. Not only is his son playing he is playing every pitch of every game (even double headers).

                      Sparks is stuck. You can only play 2 years at Juco and no 4 year school will consider a player who doesn't play.

                      With all this said a lot of fault goes to little Sparks. Instead of complaining he should get better and do everything the coach demands. Like it or not it's the coaches team. Not his!

                      We'll see how it all plays out.

                      Sparks


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                      • Sorry to hear you've both hit another sizable bump on the road. I can't/won't comment on all of the other details, other than to say "hang in there", and that I hope if all works out for all those involved (the other players, school, and coaches besides SparksJr).

                        But I can comment on this...
                        Originally posted by Sparksdale View Post
                        Sparks is stuck. You can only play 2 years at Juco and no 4 year school will consider a player who doesn't play.
                        ...or at least how it relates to some JUCOs here in SoCal.

                        It is not uncommon for smaller colleges in the midwest, to contact JUCO coaches here in SoCal, inquiring about players that they're looking to fill positions for. The midwest coaches are not calling about the starters, or "higher playing time" players...but rather those sitting the bench getting very limited playing time, if any at all. Because they know those starters or regulars are going to be headed to schools with typically better baseball programs than theirs (D1s, MLB...), so they're looking for really good players, but who maybe aren't the "great" players already very sought after by others.

                        I've talked with several JUCO coaches who have told me this, and one who even related as story to me about an F4 he had who played in maybe a grand total of a dozen or so innings in his two years at the school, but who was offered a nice respectable scholarship to a D2 back in the midwest somewhere (this was a few years ago already, and I don't remember the exact school I'm sorry to say).

                        The thought was, that even though some of these JUCO players didn't see the field much, given the fact that they were able to just make the team says something for their talent, and that they had the mindset (perseverance/determination) to stick it out, continue to battle for playing in the program, and became a great teammate/asset to the team. This all poke volumes in their desire to stick things out when the going got tough, they were a proven commodity...over that of a potential HS scholarship recruit who might not take to well to possibly having to go through what this JUCO player has already shown he's capable of doing.

                        So I wouldn't count SparksJr's future college completely out at the moment. Sure, by the looks of things on the surface, the odds seem to appear less, and less great....but I remember a few years ago when it looked like someone was in a very similar situation in HS wrt his odds of playing in college, and look where that someone is now.

                        All I can say is "keep on keeping on", continue you to work hard, and continue to pursue your goals, and dreams....right up to the point that no one will had you a uniform any longer.

                        But until that day comes (which it does for every baseball player past, and future eventually), try to only focus on what you can do as a player to reach your goals, and try to push out all the rest of the superfluous BS that others around you are creating. Yes, easier said than done...but what you have to do if you ever want to accomplish any of your dreams.


                        Best of luck to the both of you,
                        mud -
                        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                        Comment


                        • Yep. Great post, mud. There are plenty of schools looking for arms. I think that plays to Little Sparks benefit in moving on and still possibly having a chance to play more college ball.

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                          • With his velocity Sparks Jr could probably walk on at a D3 and make an instant impression.

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                            • To everyone who has been following this thread - there have been many suggestions over the years for Little Spark's story to turn into a book. A couple months ago I contacted Sparksdale and asked him if it would be okay for me to retell the story, using the material from this forum thread. Sparksdale was very supportive and encouraged me to go ahead with the project. In late February I contacted the moderators (primarily mudvnine) and they liked the sound of the project as well. So . . .

                              I'm not writing a book. I'm writing a series of blog posts. The posts tell the story of Little Sparks, with an emphasis on educating beginning baseball parents about what it takes to continue to play to the higher levels. The blog is my own www.filterjoe.com. Though the blog has several categories, over 2/3 of the traffic is related to youth baseball.

                              I posted the first two installments last week. The first installment includes a lengthy introduction and goes through 4th grade (age 10). The second installment is 5th grade (age 11) and is typical of what I expect most subsequent posts will look like. Going forward, I aim to post one installment per week, on Thursdays. Each installment will correspond to a school year.

                              I would love to hear feedback, especially from anyone who thinks I may have missed opportunities for educating parents on various topics. There were so many lessons in this thread that I surely will miss some (unintentionally) as I write up the series. I would also appreciate helpful comments left on any of the individual blog posts, perhaps offering your own perspective on various events in Little Spark's life.

                              I won't be posting much more about this project here, so as not to pollute this thread--probably one more time a few months from now when my retelling of the story is complete.

                              Lastly, I waited to post here until I got some feedback from Sparksdale on what I've done so far. Today, he told me in a PM that he loved it. I hope any long-time posters here who read it also enjoy what I've done with the story:

                              One Player's Journey from Little League to College Baseball

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                              • They played a double header today. Once again Sparks didn't play.

                                Sparks is very upset and is taking it out on me. It's a long long story.

                                I feel for him but just don't know what to do.

                                If any of you have advice I'm all ears.

                                Sparks


                                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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