As COVID-19-curtailed activities gradually restart back to an “old normal,” one community based youth sports group, the Kerrville Indians, has geared itself up for the remainder of their season, and is going forward with hoped-for continued successes which has become a tradition.
And as things progress, Indians General Manager Michael O’Malley outlined a number of items regarding the team in a recent Q&A interview with the Hill Country Community Journal.
Q: As a reminder, can you give our readership a little background information, such as when were the Indians established, and has there always been several different age divisions represented by the Indians?
A: “The Indians first season was in 2002. We have offered age divisions from 6-up to 18-up over the years. Each year is different, and depends on the community. Team age divisions are determined from tryouts and usually only one team per age. We are a traveling, select baseball organization and separate from Little League, but we do not discourage our players from playing Little League.”
Q: How successful have the Indians been throughout their history, based on the fact they have established themselves as a traditional powerhouse most years?
A: “We are a very competitive organization developed through consistent coaching and a core of players developing chemistry with the other players year to year. To date, more than 19 seasons, the Tribe has 463 alumni players, representing 37 communities, with 93 players competing or having competed in college. In that time span, 80 teams have represented the Indians with a .597 winning percentage with 1,408 wins. The Tribe has played in 194 Championship games resulting in 104 victories. The Indians have played in 50 different World Series, National and State Tournaments. Of those 50 events, the program has been victorious in bringing home three World Series Titles, one National Championship and nine Texas State Titles.”
Q: In looking at the schedule it appears the Indians have five tournaments planned, with one of those having already taken place June 13-14 at the DBAT complex in Kerrville. How does tournament play figure in the team’s plans?
A: “The Indians teams usually average eight tournaments a season. USSSA is a Sanctioned organization as well as NCS, Nations, Super Series, Triple Crown, etc. They are all baseball organizations hosting tournaments like Little League, Senior League, Pony League, etc. We usually reserve our last tournament for a State or World Series event which is part of the qualifying process of playing in a sanctioned organization. Due to the COVID issue, we are just trying to finish the season which is usually over at the end of May.”
Q: In fact, before the DBAT complex was established several years ago, how were Indians practices, games, and any local tournament operated?
A: “We practice at the Little League Complex. The DBAT complex will host tournaments for sanctioned organizations for teams to enter just like any other complex in Texas. We register for all Kerrville Tournaments and prefer to play here. If the tournament makes, we’re here. If not, we travel to other complexes like Dripping Springs, Austin, Boerne, and San Antonio.”
Q: What sort of precautions are being taken at this time for the practices and games?
A: “We follow all guidelines the State and CDC put out, as well as any local or sanctioned-event guidelines. We constantly tell our families to practice these guidelines.”
Q: In preparing for the regular season, such as it is because of COVID-19, how did the teams prepare for a return to organized practices, and playing of games?
A: “When the Governor first opened up, we followed the guidelines of four players and one coach. Each team has at least three coaches, so the process included four players in the outfield, four in the infield, and four in the cage before rotating. Next, the Governor opened up to 10 players and we adjusted our practices. Within a few weeks, the Governor opened up to all youth sports, with of course, maintaining social distancing.”
Q: Regarding tournament play, how many teams, on average, will take part in the tournaments attended by the Indians?
A: “Tournament brackets vary depending on teams registering to play. Before COVID, 12 to 16 teams per age bracket were not uncommon. At the DBAT complex tournament held June 13-14, there were about four to eight on different age brackets. In San Antonio on June 20-21 there were almost 200 teams registered from ages 8 through 18.”
Q: Who are the team members and coaches for this year’s Indians teams?
A: We have eight teams this year which means around 108 players and 24 coaches. On our website kerrvilleindians.com, visitors can click on each team in the menu page which will give complete rosters.”