Select baseball club has Newcastle roots

February 3, 2012

By Christina Lords

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By Michael Stein Members of the Bellevue Warriors speak with coach Carson Cook during a game played in a March 2010 tournament in Gilbert, Ariz.

Bellevue Warriors coach Michael McCrite tells his baseball players one thing to always remember: How they train and perform at the high school level is the first job interview they’ll have to play in college or beyond.

And they’re not even in high school yet.

The Warriors, a select club with a 13 and under and 14 and under team, was organized by several parents from Newcastle in August 2009, so children in the area would have a program in place that offered a higher level of competition than was available in the area’s Pony League.

“Like a lot of select teams here in the Puget Sound area, there’s a real need for kids to have quality coaching,” said Michael McCrite, coach of the 14U team. “The difference between this club and others is that the team here has 57 years of combined coaching experience.”

The team isn’t limited geographically, and includes players from Newcastle, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Marysville, Renton and other towns in the Puget Sound area, and there are open spots for the club’s 13U team.

McCrite said the team is also looking for more coaches to help with the team.

Jake Stein, 14, and Sam Harrington, 13, Newcastle residents who have played baseball together since they were fourth-graders, said the team was a great place to improve their skills.

“I’ve always worked hard at baseball and I thought this team would be a place to take it up a notch,” Stein said. “I wanted a team that did conditioning in the off-season and training pretty much year round.”

Both players said they have their sights on high school, college and professional baseball.

“You have to have a great attitude to be here,” Harrington said. “This is not a team to just come and mess around on.”

The team practices and trains 11 months out of the year, taking only August off to hold tryouts, McCrite said.

Each team practices twice a week at The Old Ballyard in Bellevue during the winter, and many of the players take part in an infield camp and private lessons at Rijo Athletics in Woodinville.

McCrite said while the team plays in the Sandy Koufax division in the Washington State Select Baseball League beginning in April, the team organizes pickup games and other scrimmages to test and maintain their skills year round.

“The idea behind it is to provide a professional quality coaching staff to produce kids that will not only make their high school teams, but to contribute to their high school team and beyond,” he said.

The team also competes in local and travel tournaments from March to August. The Warriors will travel to their first tournament in Tempe, Ariz., in March, Michael Stein, a founding organizer of the club, said.

“Our long-range intent was, and is, to provide a bridge to enable middle school boys to advance to a high-level high school baseball program while instilling in our players an appreciation of the importance of their educations and community service,” he said. “Although we aren’t promising it, we certainly hope and expect that some of our kids will earn college scholarships and play baseball in college.”

Get involved Learn more about the team at its website — www.bellevue- — emailing or calling Michael Stein at 223-7000.

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