Summer sports dilemma: develop players or win tournaments?

Player recruitment and development key to high school success
Abby E'Nama takes it to the rack hoping not to get hacked. BY DAVE FREDERICK
July 29, 2014

Highway to the Danger Zone - The final night of girls' summer league basketball July 25 at Caesar Rodney saw Cape versus Lake Forest at 6 p.m. playing a pair of 20-minute halves. The survivor would play Caesar Rodney at 7.  Cape had eight players in uniform - one was on a school trip and one injured - and only six played, which meant two made the trip only to watch, but at least it was a meaningless summer league game. Cape lost 39-38, which was the best thing that happened as Madi Smith, the best player in the program, who missed all last year rehabbing after knee surgery, was on the bench with tears in her eyes and an ice pack on her knee brace. But at least there were no trainers in the house. Alison Palmer, who plays volleyball, basketball, lacrosse and dances (and is a great track athlete) got knocked down and around, her headband flying off, on a drive to the basket. And there were three officials not calling much of anything. Cape was 7-13 last season; Lake was 15-5. It was hard to tell which direction either team was heading. Players on the court were Smith, Abby E’Nama, Anshe Boyer, Alison Palmer, Sydney Pederson and Paige Mohr. No JV players from last year - there were only five on the roster - saw the court, and Pederson is the only incoming freshman from two middle schools. Remember Beacon was undefeated and looked like a turnaround team, as in turn around and go play something else. I hate to be harsh, but my job behind the camera is to focus on what I see.

Lax to relax -  On the last Thursday night of Lewes Lax, coach P.J Kesmodel, with 11 state championships in Maryland and Delaware, and more showtime Division I players than any other coach in the country, was on the Champions Stadium pitch coaching a seven-on-seven half-field scrimmage featuring high school kids from four different schools. The older girls came on at 7 p.m and played for another hour. Stand next to the Zen Master and you’ll hear “She’s really good” and “She really needs to work on her left,” but it’s an ongoing coach-and-evaluation approach. The summer lax season that followed the spring season is now over, as young athletes get ready for whatever they play in the fall.

All about pitching - Little League tournaments are designed to move along quickly, and there are pitch count rules and innings per week and days off between lots of innings. The bottom line: you need lots of pitchers, and better have two good catchers in case both of them are pitchers too. The Cape Junior League baseball team, with many players coming off an undefeated Beacon team, has an array of good baseball players that will carry Cape into contention for championships over the next several years as the talent goes down to the 10-year-old group. But you need shutdown pitchers - at least two - and a closer. The Cape Junior League All-Stars were eliminated in a Sunday doubleheader with Newark 8-6 and 13-8 be cause they ran out of pitchers. Newark scored winning runs in the top of the seventh in both ball games.

Snippets - Franc Cook, former Cape and Lynchburg College goalie, left his job as an assistant at Arcadia College to accept a position as defensive coach at Division II Colorado Mesa University of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Mavericks were 9-3 in 2014. CMU is on the far western border of the state near Utah. If you hear “Let's go, Utes,” turn around, you’ve gone too far.

The Delmarva Swim Association Championships are no joke with athletes from age 7 to 18 competing for cash and prizes. OK, medals. There are literally thousands of names to peruse over multiple events and age groups in PDF format. Find the website and get reading glasses. The Lewes Yacht Club's age 7-8 100 freestyle relay team of Chet Mariner, Evan Burris, Declan Morrissey and Brian Fleming was first in 1:10. The same crew won the 100-yard medley relay 1:22. Fleming also won the 25-yard butterfly and freestyle. The Sea Colony Sharks placed sixth in the 23-team field while LYC placed eighth and the Sussex Family YMCA placed 13th.

Ian Robertson, straight out of Beacon and heading to Cape, is playing in the FAB 48 Showcase basketball tournament in Las Vegas. Ian plays for Team Takeover out of D.C. The squad is 3-0, and Ian is one of the leading scorers.

Saw a Beacon four-sport stud - field hockey, basketball, soccer and track - smiling inside a Caesar Rodney basketball uniform, had me singing, “Don’t go, Zoe.“ Best of luck - she will win a state title in high jump next year. Write that down. Go on now, git!

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