Take 5: A Q&A with the Summit Extreme Black Diamonds coaching staff
Special to the Daily
Week 4: Summit Extreme Black Diamonds schedule
June 30 — Steamboat Storm at Frisco Peninsula Park, Frisco
July 2 — Vail Vipers at Battle Mountain High School, Edwards
July 5 — Rocky Mountain Oysters at Grand Junction High School, Grand Junction
All games are doubleheaders and begin at noon.
College baseball is going strong in Summit.
After three weeks, the college-level Summit Extreme Black Diamonds squad has been through the ups and downs of any brand-new team: split doubleheaders, walk-off home runs, spotty pitching, wild come-from-behind wins. It’s all part of the learning process for one of six teams in the newly founded Mountain West College Baseball League, featuring college players from across the country, as well as a handful of Summit High School grads. They come from schools of all sizes from Division I to junior college, but all are hoping to catch the eye of a MLB scout after a summer playing in mountain league.
Before the season kicked into high gear, the Summit Daily news desk caught up with Extreme Black Diamonds head coach Nick Eversole (assistant coach for Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania) and pitching coach Brady Kirkpatrick (former pitcher for the University of Maryland) to find out more about game strategy, their promising lineup and bullpen and why the Black Diamonds are here to stay.
Summit Daily: What is your plan for reaching out to the Summit County community?
Nick Eversole: We’re starting to communicate with the Little League in the community, and we really want to connect with the youth here. We want to make baseball popular in this area. I understand that it’s not a huge priority here, and that’s fine — there’s a ton of other stuff to do here. But for us, it’s a great opportunity to reach out to the youth and make sure they stay active. We want to go to their games, we want them to come to our games and be batboys. Most of our players are staying with host families, and, for them, it’s a great opportunity to have an influence on a kid’s life.
SDN: You’re bringing in players you’ve never worked with from all across the country for this team. How do you find success in this situation?
NE: Team chemistry is going to be huge for us. Doing all the stuff off the field with the community — hiking and biking with the guys — all that stuff will build into the team. Something that I’m going to stress to my players is that there’s going to be something that separates us. A huge aspect of that is going to be the team aspect and how everyone gets along, believes in and pushes each other. We definitely want to do some activities where these guys can build a relationship that will go past the summer.
SDN: It’s interesting that you guys are emphasizing the off-field aspect, even though the Summit Black Diamonds are playing in a competitive, high-level league.
NE: There’s more to life than baseball, and that’s what kids have to learn. We’re going to spend a lot of time playing baseball, but I want them to have something to take with them besides playing. For a lot of them, their whole lives have been baseball. When you have the chance to come out to a beautiful community like this, you want to take full advantage of it. These guys came out from places like California and Georgia because they want to play in a competitive summer league that also happens to be in an amazing location.
SDN: Brady, this your first official coaching position. As a former player, are you going to take what you learned from past coaches and work that into your coaching, or will you try to distinguish your own personal style?
Brady Kirkpatrick: I’ve had three great pitching coaches over the last five years. I see myself taking some stuff from them — it’s hard not to when you’re starting out coaching. I plan to take a little bit from everyone and put my own weight on it. I’m also going to try and take a lot of the stuff I learned in the summertime playing baseball and apply it to here.
SDN: What’s the biggest reason people should come out and support this team?
NE: I think for the kids, it’s huge. For the parents out there with kids who seem to enjoy baseball and sports, getting them to the games and having them meet our players would be a great opportunity. They’re not big leaguers obviously, but I think it’s important for the youth to have people to look up to, people aside from their parents who are doing something that they want to do. For a kid who loves baseball and sees a college player playing during the summer with the kind of opportunities they have, I think it can be an inspiration for that kid.
BK: It’s just something different. Every college town I’ve played in for baseball; it’s an awesome time just coming out and watching games. A lot of times, the players are in your community, helping your kids out with camps and stuff like that, and families can come out and watch. It’s more of a community thing, just coming together as one.
SDN: You guys will be playing with some unusual conditions in this league. Tell me about that.
NE: Some of the fields we will be playing at don’t have grass infields, so that’s going to be a challenge for some of our infielders to deal with. The outfield dimensions are also a little small, so, especially with this altitude, we might see an influx in homers. The elevation will cause some guys to be out of breath, especially considering that we’re only playing doubleheaders.
BK: When I played college summer league, we played our home games at an elementary school. Summer league is kind of like an old-school, get-back-to-you-roots, blue-collar kind of thing. It’s really about just getting out there, playing and letting it all hang out.
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