As local travel baseball wears down this summer, the Scioto River Socks added to the list of area organizations that were able to compete and win on some of the highest stages in youth baseball and softball. The River Socks traveled to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to compete in the Youth Baseball Nationals, in which they finished third out of twelve teams from all over the country.
The River Socks are a 11U team, meaning that the majority of their kids are eleven years old while only having a select few ten year old players. Last year, head coach of the River Socks, Chip Queen, coached the 10U team which mainly included the same group of boys. He says that this is the first year in which his team has played against the level of competition that they did this season. “This year we were in Cincinnati about every weekend” said Queen, “So when you’re in Cincinnati you’re playing tough teams. We were in some really good tournaments.”
Queen is assisted by coaches Norm Brooks, who Queen considers to be his co-head coach, James Leeth, and Jeremy Ridout.
The River Socks competition comes from all over the state of Ohio, mainly from playing in tournaments in larger cities including Cincinnati and Columbus. These tournaments are organized by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and are held in larger cities to attract area teams to showcase local youth baseball talent.
This year’s River Socks team won three tournaments before heading to the Youth Baseball Nationals in Elizabethtown. Although that is two less tournaments that the same group of boys won last year, Coach Queen was not concerned with that because the level of competition was that much higher for his group of boys this year.
Twelve teams competed for the chance to be called national champions at the 11U level in the USSSA hosted tournament, and the River Socks managed to finish third out of the twelve teams. The team that knocked the River Socks out of the tournament was a team from Louisville, a team that Queen believes was the toughest they had faced all year. “That team from Louisville, they were tough” said Queen, “They were probably the toughest team we faced all year. They boys played hard, they were just a little bit better than we were.”
Queen’s son, Tate, won the home run derby at the Baseball Youth Nationals tournament. A representative from each of the twelve team participated in the event. Tate hit eleven home runs in the first round, good enough tied for second, meaning he would need to go into a playoff with another player to determine who would reach the finals of the event. Tate won the playoff, and consequently won the final over a player from Chesterfield, Missouri by hitting twelve home runs compared to the nine from the opposing player.
Although they were not able to win the tournament, Coach Queen could not have been prouder of his players and coaching staff for all the hard work they had put in over the course of the season. “I couldn’t have been prouder of the boys” said Queen, “And all of the coaches. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, getting fields ready and stuff like that. There’s a lot of time and everything, and I appreciate them.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT