BRIGHTON - The Rawlings Tigers will host tryouts for their upcoming 2025 season for kids ages 7–8 who want to play in a competitive, “tight-knit” league, said Coach Frank Bock.

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Bock and his fellow coaches started the Rawlings Tigers because they wanted to give kids the opportunity to play competitive ball while learning more about how to be great teammates. Tryouts are on July 6 and 27, 2024, and Bock is excited to welcome more players to the team.

“We’ve been able to work with them and challenge them but also develop them to essentially be the best versions of themselves,” Bock explained. “From a player perspective, from an on and off the field perspective, and then also, just being a good teammate. That’s what’s been really important, building the character qualities necessary for these kids to succeed.”

Most of the players have previously played on tee-ball or rec ball teams. The team, which is based out of Brighton, welcomes players from across the Metro area. They play in the Southwestern Illinois Baseball League, and Bock said the coaches, umpires, families and players are all “pretty amazing.”

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It’s important to Bock to develop the players beyond their baseball skills. He wants them to enjoy playing the game, but he also wants them to become good teammates and learn how to try again after a mistake. He noted that kids in this age group can “get down on themselves very quickly,” so he loves to see his players encouraging each other.

“What’s important from a teammate perspective is that we build each other up, and that’s what we challenge the kids to do,” he said. “When they come back in the dugout or they make a mistake, we live to fight another day. We move on to the next play, we support one another, lift each other up, and that’s what these kids have done. And I think that’s one of the things they probably appreciate because at the end of the day, these are relationships and bonds that they’re building for a lifetime.”

These relationships often shine through, even after a loss. For Bock, that engagement is the most important part of his job as a coach. He wants the kids to feel supported as they develop their character and their baseball skills side by side.

“You’re going to have a dedicated coaching staff with a significant amount of baseball experience that’s going to challenge your child, your player, to be the best version of themselves on and off the field,” Bock added. “These are opportunities where character development is really important at this stage in their life. And that’s what we’re dedicated and committed to, that youth development, not just baseball.”

The tryouts are scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 6 and 27, 2024, at Glazebrook Park in Godfrey. You can register your child online. For more information, click here or contact Bock at 618-779-1654.

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