JUNIOR

KNIGHTS

BASEBALL

Each Season - Excitement and Expectations
Junior Knights has been established for several years and provides a great opportunity to play a lot of baseball for 5th-8th graders. This gives them the opportunity to play against the same age kids. It also gives them another year to develop their skills before having to take that next step to High School baseball. This is a GREAT OPTION for 8th graders who are not sure about High
School baseball or just want that extra year to grow, physically and as a baseball player. So, play to get experience and to have fun.

We would like to have all the 8th graders participate in the Junior Knights program to continue to build on their abilities and play at an age appropriate level. But, there are exceptions which might have value for an 8th grader playing on junior varsity level. This would have to be a parent and high school coach discussion on the 8th grader playing on both teams (coaches would have to see the 8th grader as having the ability to basically play up two age groups –JV & seeing the maturity of the 8th grader to be able to do so. If that happens, this will not give the 8th graders a lot of “free” time in the summer. But it will be a great learning experience at the same time.


5th-6th Grade Teams
Season Games =12-16 & 1-2 tournaments.

The coaching staff will have sound baseball knowledge and will be high school/college athletes or adults with baseball experience. They will be Christian examples, positive mentors and promote the sport at this age level. 5th and 6th grades practice together. They usually follow the same game schedule but occasionally there will be 5th grade only or 6th grade only games.

Practices will begin the second or third week of May and run through the month of June, the specific dates will be determined by the coaching staff and availability of fields. They will be in the late afternoon/evenings. Practices and home games will be held at Vets Park across from Unity Christian High School or on Unity Christian High School grounds. Games will always be
in the evenings.

Playing time will be equal and appropriate for all players at this age level in regular season games and in tournaments while still providing the ability to be competitive with opponents. Baseball basic knowledge and fundamental skills will be the central focus of instruction at this age level. Fundamental skills taught will include:
● Learning the basic rules-infield fly rule; balks: baserunning.
● Baserunning—leads; steals; extra-base hits.

● Pitching and throwing mechanics—wind-up versus stretch; four-seam grip; shuffle or slide throw, follow through, ball placement, count situations, covering first.
● Hitting—repetitions; drill work (tee, soft toss, short toss, stickball, lob toss, one-arm drill); bunting.
● Learning team fundamentals—cutoffs and relays; basic bunt defenses; basic first-and-third situations; and double plays; defending the steal; infield and outfield communication and priorities.
● Winning will not be the main focus or main emphasis, but will still be a desired outcome.
● Team concept will be clearly identified and emphasized by the coaching staff, this is not an intended individualization sport.
● All players will always treat umpires, opposing players and coaches with the utmost respect.


7th-8th Grade Team
Season Games =12-16 & 1-2 tournaments

The coaching staff will have sound baseball knowledge and will be high school/college athletes or adults with baseball experience. They will be Christian examples, positive mentors and promote the sport at this age level. 7th and 8th graders will practice together and follow the same game schedule. There will be an “A” game at 10:30 with a “B” game following.

Practices will begin the second or third week of May and run through the month of June, the specific dates will be determined by the coaching staff and availability of fields. They will typically run 10:30-12:00 in the morning.. Practices and home games will be held at Vets Park across from Unity Christian High School or on Unity Christian High School grounds

Baseball knowledge and fundamental skills will be expanded for a deeper understanding to enhance the ability of the team and player concept. Skills taught will focus on specific catching, throwing, hitting, & running fundamentals that will help develop each athlete’s ability from start to finish of the season.
● Throwing mechanics and pitching—emphasis on generating momentum toward the target and following the throw; introduction to breaking balls; change-ups; pitching mechanics and using the body effectively; pickoff mechanics; flat-work (drills); introduction to long toss.
● Hitting—introduce situational hitting (inside-out swing; hitting behind runners; hit and run; productive outs); sacrifice bunting versus bunting for a hit; understanding the count.

● Baserunning—first-and-third situations; steal breaks; delayed steals; reading situations and reacting to them.
● Fielding—generating momentum back toward the target on throws when necessary; crossover and drop steps; backhands and when to use them; double-play depth; pitcher covering first; infield communication.
● Learning team fundamentals—pickoff plays; full bunt defenses; full first-and-third defenses; pop-up and fly ball priorities; double plays and underhand flips.
● Team concept will be clearly identified and emphasized by the coaching staff, this is not an intended individualization sport.
● All players will always treat umpires, opposing players and coaches with the utmost respect.

Rosters

Practice Schedule

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