For coach Doug Dick, summer baseball provides a different atmosphere than the spring season.
In coaching a combined Marion and Hillsboro Senior Babe Ruth team, Dick said he gets a chance to know the kids in a different way.
“It’s a less stressful environment,” he said, “but we’re still trying to win.”
Dick said he thinks continuing to play during the summer helps develop athletes’ love for the game, and keeps from developing satisfied attitudes.
“You can never relax or think you’re good enough,” he said. “You never stop learning.”
At 8-2, the team has handily defeated most of its opponents, except for two close losses at Lyons. District play begins July 3 at Lyons.
“It’s been fun getting to coach that group,” Dick said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that can pitch.”
Coaching also as a parent, Dick praised other parents helping coach during the summer season, and those instructing the younger players.
Other coaches also are enjoying the opportunity to help develop players at a young age.
“The kids are a lot of fun, and they have a lot of energy,” said Mark Rathbone, who is coaching a 10-and-under baseball team. “The parents are really helpful in promoting their kids.”
Rathbone said he and coaches Todd Helmer and Dale Dalke have worked on stressing fundamentals and teaching athletes to learn and move on after making mistakes. With three games left, Rathbone’s fifth-place team plays in Hillsboro next at 8 p.m. Friday.
Coach of one of two under-10 teams, Jayson Hanschu said he has been coaching since his son Jakob began playing tee ball. He has two other sons playing ball this summer, at 10 and 13 years.
“Some like to coach, some like to watch, but I do it all,” he said. “It’s fun not just to watch your kid, but seeing all the kids grow.”