WARSAW – The 2016 Baseball Players Association World Series stop in Warsaw opened Tuesday, kicking off a week of hardball action at the City-County Athletic Complex.
The BPA plays in tournaments all over the United States, with Warsaw’s stop now an annual union between the association and the community. Tuesday’s festivities included skills competitions and the Parade of Champions at the county courthouse for teams in 10U, 11U and 13U.
The skills competition winners were announced to start off festivities at the courthouse.
In the 10U competitions, Around The Horn was won by the Around The Horn Stampede with a time of 7.9 seconds, while ATH’s Carter Brown won the Home Run Derby with two homers in a five-man hit-off. Mizuno Northwest Indiana Elite won the Home To Home Relay at 56.8 seconds.
In the 11U competitions, Michiana Scrappers won the Around The Horn at 8.6 seconds and had Gavin Collins win the Home Run Derby with two homers. The Michiana Scrappers Black won the Home To Home at 58.1 seconds.
In the 13U competitions, Wallen Jackers won the Home To Home at 58.8 seconds and had Sam Pesa win the Home Run Derby with three homers. Michiana Scrappers Orange won the Around The Horn at 8.9 seconds.
The two keynote speakers Tuesday evening at the courthouse were South Bend Cubs Performance Center coordinator Mark Haley and former University of Michigan pitching coach and Kansas City Royals pitching coordinator Steve Merriman.
Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer opened Tuesday evening’s speaking engagements with a welcome to the town. Indiana Director for BPA Darrell Garbacik then introduced Haley, who spoke about character and its value to the game, both on and off the field.
In dealing with failure, “You take it, you learn from it, you adjust, and you put it in your back pocket,” Haley said. “When you get to the big leagues, you know what your pocket is going to look like? Way out here. You are going to have a lot of failures that you have overcome and it will be a beautiful thing. You have confidence in yourself, and you can go on to do great things. Accepting failure is part of a learning opportunity.”
CCAC Director Karl Swihart then introduced Merriman, who asked the crowd stand while he spoke about listening and learning, but also finding one thing to take with them.
“You have to control your mind and your thoughts,” Merriman stated. “If you don’t think you are a good student and you walk into math class because you don’t like it, guess what, you won’t be good at math. You have a preconceived notion going in that you don’t like it.
“If you strike out twice in a game, and you come up in the last inning with a chance to tie it or win it, you mind is going to dictate to you what you can and can’t do. It doesn’t happen in just one at-bat. It is going to happen all game…what you say to yourself can and will come true.”
The baseball games start bright and early at 8 a.m. Wednesday and continue through Saturday’s championship rounds, Sunday if any day is rained out ahead of the championships. For more information about the BPA World Series, visit the CCAC web site.