JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — 54-1 was the win-loss record of the Newtown Rays over six seasons.
With such a record, the team’s success is phenomenal. However, Rays assistant coach Steve Rogge said the team’s real success is not measured in wins and losses.
Rogge recalled the day when a group of fathers decided to start a baseball team that would allow the children who participate to grow and become friends.
“Around six years ago a group of fathers decided that we wanted our kids to have a positive atmosphere to grow up in. We didn’t emphasize winning. We made sure our kids had fun,” Rogge said.
“And ever since then they grew up together and became friends. They developed basic skills and matured into a team that learned to work together and eventually dominated their league.”
The team was taught by the father/coaches to trust each teammate, learn the game of baseball and most importantly have fun. Each player was given the chance to play and the children on the team became close friends during this process. The players also used the coaches' lessons on the field, and that contributed to wins.
The Rays certainly responded well to the coaches’ motto of fun first. In the past two years the 11- and 12-year-olds went undefeated and for the 2013 season they closed out the season by winning the league championship May 11 at Newtown Park.
It was a bittersweet day for the boys, Rogge said. On one hand it was one of their most memorable wins as a team. On the other hand it was memorable because it was the last game they would play together. Most of the team reached the age where they are headed to middle school.
Head Coach Roger Howrey was pleased with each of his players, he said. They all contributed to the team's near-perfect record.
“We won every game except one in our time playing together, so we were successful,” said Howrey, “But I never stressed winning. My goal was to make sure that our kids became a team and learned the game of baseball.”