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Delray Beach National Little League 10-Under All-Stars baseball coach Greg Murray and his coaches looked for a few key ingredients in putting this year’s All-Star team together.
“We looked for the kids with the best attitudes, the ones who worked the hardest and the best baseball players at this time,” Murray said. “Their abilities change over the years. They find themselves playing different positions, maybe one they weren’t used to before.
“So when we get them on the team, we try and figure out where can we mix these kids up,” he said. “We find out that this kid is more versatile than this kid, or this kid is only an outfielder. It really doesn’t have that much to do with positioning. At this level, you don’t have to worry about specialization because they can all pitch, they can all catch and they can all play shortstop.”
Delray National opened with a 10-0 victory over East Boynton before dropping two narrow decisions — 11-8 against Wellington and 6-4 against West Boynton to end its All-Star run.
Despite only giving up three hits and committing no errors, Delray Beach National still fell to West Boynton due to wildness by its pitchers as they walked eight batters in the contest.
Conner Masters had two hits and Matthew Sequera hit a two-RBI triple to lead the offense. Hunter Deutsch started the game and only gave up one hit and struck out three while Peyton Murray came in late in the game and walked no one, gave up no hits and struck out three in two innings of work to keep Delray National in the contest.
Murray has been involved in the Delray Beach National Little League since 2016. He said the program has a league and the league’s coaches and board members get together and pick all-stars out of that group.
“We have meetings and we talk on the phone a million times,” Murray said. “We have done evaluations in the past, but for this particular (10-U) group, the coaches decided on the best 9s and the best 10s and we put them together.”
The recreational season in Delray runs from March to May after a month of practicing in February. In mid-May, the coaches start their All-Star evaluations and they also have a tournament. Several of the 10U players on the squad had played together before on an 8U team two years ago. They didn’t play All-Stars last year due to COVID-19.
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Murray said the program has also benefited from an alliance with the XL baseball company.
“We travel and it has put us on a level playing field with the other cities,” he said. “Now, it comes down to who wants it more on any given night. This group of boys liked playing together and that was a huge coaching advantage.
“I would not say winning is at the top of the list as a collective whole,” Murray said. “I think it is more about the camaraderie that they have and the friendships that they make. I think winning is a byproduct of that.”
Murray said they drill mechanics on fly balls, hitting and fielding.
“Baseball is supposed to be fun,” he said. “If they do it properly, it shows up in a game.”