The Mandan A’s only have a few games left before the regional tournament in Minot, but with a squad so young, this season has focused on the fundamentals.
Manager Rob Birdhorse is pushing his team at a mid-season practice, the Mandan A’s working on double play scenarios. Some connect, but some miss, just a part of the game that is a part of the 2019 season focus.
“We’re going back to fundamentals and we’re working on the things that we we’re working on in the beginning of the season,” says Mandan’s Lucas Burgam. “Trying to get better on those so we can make the routine plays.”
The A’s are a part of a very competitive Class A level, and getting that extra out and minimizing mistakes could give them the edge once the postseason rolls around.
“Defense is definitely something we do every day,”Manager Rob Birdhorse says. “Taking the fundamentals into kind of the big picture getting the routine outs because we are one of the younger teams.”
A lot of the A’s are new to this level of baseball.
“I feel like they’ve played JV,” says Mandan’s Ben Kleinknecht. “Just moving up to this A’s level is a big difference for them and just got to adapt to it.”
And with a young team, knowing what to do when the pressure is on is part of the development.
“We tell them to think a pitch ahead,” Birdhorse says. “Before you get the ball, know what you’re going to do with it so, when the ball does find you, it looks like you are doing your job.”
The A’s are confident the runs can come, and the pitching has shined at times, but it’s consistency that could put them over the top to get to the state tournament.
“You know my mindset is that we’re building off of these regular season games,” says Birdhorse. “Hopefully, by the regional tournament, were playing some really good baseball by then.”
The regional tournament for the A’s along with all Class A teams will begin July 23rd in Minot.