Updated June 1, 2023 at 7:20 am
For the past three years the Ruffnecks program has used the home we built, the NEBC, to stage Pre-Season training for the summer season. Pre-Season workouts are relaxed, pro-style spring training workouts for players on the 15u, 16u, and 17u rosters. The purpose and intent is to provide players who are done with school seasons with an opportunity to take BP, do positional work, and to recharge for a busy summer. Not all high school seasons finish at the same time. Pre-Season workouts are an opportunity to ease into Ruffnecks summer baseball with purpose.
Scout Day is the culmination of Ruffnecks Pre-Season. It sprung from the program’s desire to do a meaningful, no frills, non-showcase, not a money-grab, presentation of our players to college coaches. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the summer of 2020 provided the necessary circumstances when travel was curtailed, and we needed to find a way to help our players. Since then, we have stayed with the idea and refined the concept of Scout Day. In 2022 we had over 40 colleges and 5 professional scouts in attendance. Scout Day is a day of extended BP, positional drill work, and a Red vs. Blue game during which our top two classes (2024’s and 2025’s) along with several top pitching prospects play.
Following Scout Day, the three oldest Ruffnecks teams face a challenging and busy summer. From June 5th to August 6th the Ruffnecks summer season is a two month experience of “every-day” baseball. Our summer schedule is comparable to a college league summer schedule. It is built for players who want a full, and challenging baseball experience.
The 13u and 14u Ruffnecks built a solid body of work in March, April, and May. Following strong performances at the Firecracker Memorial Day Classic, both the 13u and 14u squads turn their attention to June and July… Summer baseball. The Spring schedule began at Diamond Nation in New Jersey to open their seasons March 17-19. Both teams have played independently and as combined rosters against a variety of opponents, including prep JV competition. Both have amassed over 30 games each prior to June. Weekly practices and hitting sessions at our Facility comprise a busy spring schedule for the youngest two Ruffnecks teams.
Tournament play is fun and part of the development process for the youngest Ruffnecks. Events in the 14u NEB Classic, the Select Border Battle, and the Firecracker Memorial Day Weekend Classic present added competitive opportunities. The 13’s and 14’s transition to tournament competition along with practice, mid-week games, and several independent games are important in the development plan for the program.
The 13u Ruffnecks and the 14u Ruffnecks both played in the Firecracker 14u Memorial Day Classic May 27-29. The 14u Ruffnecks won their pool and advanced to the semifinals. The 13u Ruffnecks achieved a 3-1 record in their pool against 14u competition. They did not win their pool and did not advance to the playoff round.
The 13u and 14u Ruffnecks both advanced to their bracket championship games in the May 19-21 Select Border Battles at the NEBC. John MacLean pitched a spectacular game to spark the 13u Ruffnecks in a hard fought 8-4 win on Sunday, May 21. The 13u Ruffnecks cruised in the championship with a 14-6 victory. Meanwhile the 14u Ruffnecks found their way to the championship game as well. They won a tough 6-4 game behind the combined pitching efforts of Nick O’Neil and Alistair Cooper. The 14’s fell in the championship game 7-6 in extra innings as the clock moved past 10:00pm on Sunday evening.
The two rosters (13’s and 14’s) merged to play in the 14u NEB Classic May 13-14, which included Sunday, Mother’s Day. It turned out to be a long Mother’s Day with brunches canceled and dinner reservations delayed. The tournament began on Saturday, May 13th with two games, played entirely by the 13u roster. While the 13’s did not play their best baseball, they hung in there against the eventual finalist in an 8-6 first game loss. The second game featured a 5-5 tie, which gave the Ruffnecks an 0-1-1 record heading into Sunday morning. The roster on Sunday was comprised of a mix of 13’s and 14’s. It was assumed that the team would not qualify to advance. One game… and on to Mother’s Day activities! Surprise! A resounding 13-3 win in the final Pool Play game propelled the Ruffnecks into the playoff round against the #1 seed. A 3-1 semifinal victory gave the Ruffnecks a shot at the championship. The championship game was a typical 3rd game of the day affair. Both teams had little wiggle room left with their pitching staffs. The Ruffnecks were well served by gutty efforts on the mound from Albin Valdez, Kaden McNeice, and Jackson Fulginite who closed out the victory in a gritty performance. Along the way, the offense outmatched the opponents in a slugfest to win 13-12.