Turn­ing dou­ble plays

CBN play­ers fill mid­dle in­field for pro­vin­cial teams

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

Marys­vale’s Brady Ryan and Up­per Is­land Cove’s Noah Dono­van are dif­fer­ent play­ers from dif­fer­ent sports.

One plays fast­pitch soft­ball, while the other prefers to get his swings in base­ball. As you can prob­a­bly guess, they’re used to play­ing with dif­fer­ent sized balls, bats, gloves and, per­haps most im­por­tantly, fields.

“You have a lot more time in base­ball,” said Ryan, who plays with the pro­vin­cial un­der-18 soft­ball team. “There is prob­a­bly 30 more feet in base­ball than in soft­ball.”

De­spite the dif­fer­ences in their sport, there are some com­mon­al­i­ties. Each made a pro­vin­cial team in their re­spec­tive sports — Dono­van is with the un­der-17 base­ball team — and each manned the mid­dle in­field at short­stop and sec­ond in the re­cent Base­ball NL Mid­get At­lantic Qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment held in Gan­der.

With Ryan at short­stop and Dono­van at sec­ond, it may have rep­re­sented one of the few in­stances a dou­ble play combo for one team was made up of play­ers from a pro­vin­cial team in dif­fer­ent sports.

On the field, their re­spec­tive games com­ple­ment each other. Ryan is the pow­er­ful short­stop with good range and a good arm, while Dono­van, who is smaller in stature, is adept at flash­ing the leather and us­ing his quick feet around the bag to help turn the dou­ble play.

The dou­ble play is one of the more in­tri­cate plays in sports and it is where these two play­ers cross from one sport to the other.

Whether it is soft­ball or base­ball, the mid­dle in­field­ers also cross each at sec­ond base. That’s where these two sports are most sim­i­lar.

“It’s pretty cool play­ing with another pro­vin­cial player,” said Dono­van. “It is a dif­fer­ent point of view. It is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent turn­ing dou­ble plays.”

The dou­ble

Turn­ing a dou­ble play in­volves com­plete syn­chro­niza­tion for the short­stop and the sec­ond base­man. Ei­ther po­si­tion player will field the ball and flip it to­wards the bag. The re­ceiv­ing player plucks the ball out of the air be­fore hurl­ing the ball to­wards first base us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of slick foot­work and an un­canny sense of tim­ing.

It takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of chem­istry and co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the short­stop and the sec­ond base­man. Whether it is soft­ball or base­ball, each po­si­tion has to know the oth­ers where­abouts on the field, where they like to re­ceive the ball and the best way to get the ball to the bag.

In soft­ball, there is less time to com­plete the turn. As Ryan puts it, soft­ball is more “bang-bang.”

The com­bi­na­tion of Dono­van and Ryan up the mid­dle for the CBN Bull­dogs could be con­sid­ered a rare in­stance.

Not of­ten do you see a soft­ball short­stop at­tempt­ing to turn two up the mid­dle with a base­ball sec­ond base­man. Rarely do they cross over, ex­cept for maybe a hand­ful of games in cen­tral New­found­land.

“It was a bit dif­fer­ent play­ing with Noah (ini­tially),” said Ryan. “He plays the po­si­tion a bit dif­fer­ently. What play you’re go­ing do is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than in soft­ball.

“There is a dif­fer­ent read.”

Pro­vin­cial teams

With both Ryan and Dono­van bound for high-level tour­na­ments later this sum­mer, they’ll be plenty busy defin­ing their games ahead of ship­ping out.

The Team NL soft­ball squad is bound for New Brunswick for the Cana­dian Mid­get Na­tion­als, while the pro­vin­cial base­ball team will travel to Saska­toon, Sask., for the Canada Cup.

Both play­ers look for­ward to test­ing them­selves against top com­pe­ti­tion and beat­ing the teams they’re sup­posed too.

Mean­while back on the field in Gan­der, the pair didn’t get too caught up in what sport the other played at a na­tional level.

“I never thought about it,” said Dono­van. That’s fit­ting be­cause the dou­ble play works bet­ter when you don’t think about it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.