The Clabaugh family has logged countless hours at ball parks since Jack, now age 10, started T-ball at age 3. He plays baseball, basketball and football, and this is his second year on the Vestavia Vulcans post-season baseball team. To get a better feel for the Vulcans, which have 9U, 10U, 11U and 12U teams, we chatted with his mom, Cheryl. Play ball!
The Vulcans are a post-season team. What makes that distinct?
There are so many kids that play rec baseball that we meet new families each year in rec. Although that is nice, the Vulcans are usually the same group of kids, which helps them advance in their skills by playing together consistently. It’s the same moms, the same dads, the same siblings. It’s also more of a cohesive group. We are playing other communities, so it gives our team more of a sense of representing their community, a sense of pride, and opens the boys’ eyes to other communities.
What’s it like to be a Vulcans player?
It’s a lot of fun for them. They practice together, they play together, they have fun together. The players from the team get together on social occasions. It’s nurturing. It’s about winning but it’s also about teaching and developing them into young men. Most of these kids may not make it to high school baseball, so it’s more about making sure they have a good experience and grow along the way. They coaches are really good about encouraging the kids and nurturing their strengths. At practice this week they played an inspirational video about working hard, about work ethics and going for your goals.
Is there a particular moment or game that stands out from last season?
There was a tournament we played in Boaz one weekend. There was a thunderstorm, which caused several delays in the games. We ended up finally finishing the tournament, and I can’t remember if we won or lost. But the kids had so much fun. They played their hardest even though it ended up being like a mud bath. I remember photos of the boys all muddy with big smiles on their faces. There was a lot of comradery and a sense of accomplishment for the kids having given it their all regardless of the conditions.
You spend a lot of time at the ball field. What’s that like?
We have a great group of parents that cheer not only their child on, but all of the kids on. We support their hard work by wearing Vulcan shirts and hats. I know moms from other communities, so to see them at the field is always fun. The ballfield is a great place. It piques curiosities when you can hear cheering from other fields off in the distance. Many of my daughter’s friendships and some of mine were developed at the ballfield. My daughter doesn’t necessarily watch the game, but she loves playing with other children and frequenting the concession stand. She always takes her shoes off and enjoys walking in the dirt. There is nothing better than sitting in the stands and watching the boys make a difficult play to get the other team out.
Are there any other Vulcans distinctives you’d like to note?
We get to play other communities but don’t have to travel very far. They practice several hours a week plus games. The coaches have been great, very instructional. They have high expectations but coach in a positive way. They also develop everyone at different positions, so there’s not just one pitcher or catcher or first baseman. Last year Jack played mostly short stop, he pitched some and played on third. Most have two or three positions they play.