Getting to an elite place in one of the world’s most competitive sports is no easy task. For the Danville Aces, it requires sticking to a strict practice schedule, remaining healthy all year round and playing together as a team.
For the first time ever, all-stars from Danville and Alamo will represent California in the Little League Intermediate World Series.
The Danville Aces, a group of 13-year-old boys, have earned a coveted spot in baseball’s crowning glory, which will take place this August at Max Baer Park in Livermore.
“From how we put our helmets out, to where we put our bats and gloves after using them, to the number of days we practice all year, we are very structured,” says Jim Grant, Danville resident and manager of the California District 57 Little League Intermediate team.
A professional baseball coach and trainer, Grant has implemented a practice routine designed to keep his players safe and competitive. The boys, who hail from the Danville, Tassajara Valley and San Ramon Valley Little Leagues, start by practicing two days a week from September through January, then three days a week from January to March, and finally ramp up to four days a week during the spring months. In the winter, the team primarily focuses on hitting and strength and conditioning. While other teams across the country practice five nights a week for 12 months of the year, Grant tries to give his players’ arms as much rest as possible. “We want fresh arms in June when it’s time to play our district tournament,” which was held June 20 in Pleasanton.
As the pressure to play at a high level intensifies for baseball players of all ages, a growing number of athletes are getting hurt earlier in their careers. In fact, some are even having Tommy John surgery to repair ligaments – or prevent possible future injury – as early as high school or junior high. Grant does everything in his power to ensure his players avoid these types of injuries.
Much like last year’s world champion San Francisco Giants, the Aces reached the LLIWS by playing together as a unit, not with a few standout star players. “This group has truly played as a team,” says Grant. “They have all bought into the system and the process. Everyone is a true team player, and has done everything they need to do to in order to be successful.”
Going to bat this year for California District 57 are:
Connor Shay – Leadoff Batter
Ben Parker – 2
Beau Garratt – 3
Sean Pirouz – 4
Max Rettig – 5
Sebastian Materazo – 6
Cameron Archer – 7
Landon White – 8
Noah Thomas – 9
“Come out and support California District 57 because this team has worked tremendously hard and earned every victory. It would be great for the community and other local Little Leagues to recognize the efforts and sacrifices they’ve made,” notes Grant.
California District 57 will take on a yet-to-be announced team representing the East on Sunday, August 2 at 6 p.m. The tournament culminates with a championship game on August 8. Download the tournament bracket and come support our Tri-Valley all-stars!