MARIETTA, Ga. -- After waiting to take the field at the 2013 17u WWBA National Championship for over two days, Devon Fisher and the Richmond Braves 17u National team made the most of the opportunity, beating the North Jersey Eagles, 10-1.
Fisher and his Braves teammates combined for 13 walks and 8 hits in the big win. Fisher, a catcher, went 1-for-1 with a double, two walks, and two runs scored. He showed great plate discipline and pitch selection to reach base safely in all three plate appearances.
“I was really patient the first two at-bats and then my third at-bat I just found a pitch that I liked and put a swing on it,” said Fisher.
The team played with a lot of energy in their first pool play of the tournament after Friday and Saturday’s games were rained out in what has seemed to become a recent trend at the WWBA National Championship.
“We’ve been sitting around the hotel and the guys have been anxious to go, so (we were) happy we were able to get the game in,” said Richmond Braves' coach Eddie Jones. “(The team) got a wiffle ball game in out in the parking lot just to stay competitive.”
Their competitive nature transferred over to the real diamond on Sunday at North Forsyth High School.
Fisher, who said he was hoping all the rain wouldn’t hinder the team’s mindset and focus on the overall objective of winning the tournament, was very happy with the results of their first game.
“We just came out and we were really excited to play,” Fisher said. “I think we played as a team and got a good win.”
Eddie Jones was pleased with the way his team took the field today after being stuck indoors since arriving in Georgia.
“We did a good job at the plate. We have some very disciplined hitters and they took what was given to them,” Jones said. “They took advantage of some walks. A few guys did square the baseball up. Hayden Spalding squared up a couple balls.”
Spalding collected two hits and four RBI in four at-bats and he also came around to score once.
Jones was happy with the all-around performance of his team today, not just his offense.
“Our pitchers pounded the strike zone and we were flawless in the field,” said Jones.
Jones considers himself fortunate to have a guy like Devon Fisher behind the plate and has seen Fisher’s game improve drastically over the years with the Braves.
“He’s a leader. That’s the first thing that comes to mind with him,” Jones said. “He calls his own game and he calls a great game. We have full trust in him back there behind the plate.”
Fisher, the 118th ranked prospect in the 2014 class by Perfect Game, wasn’t always the player he is today, as he recalled the time he tried out for the Richmond team and was cut.
“You wouldn’t believe how he was when he first tried out for us,” said Jones. “You would’ve never thought that he’d be in the position that he’s in today, but he did a lot of hard work.”
Not making the squad was an unforgettable experience for Fisher and he turned the experience into motivation to improve his game.
“It just really opened my eyes to how hard I needed to work,” said Fisher. He learned not to let failure hold him back from achieving his goals.
“He became a totally better player through hard work,” Jones added. "He’s got a determination about him. He’s hard on himself. He knows he’s a good player, but he wants to get better, so it’s nonstop work for him.”
In a short period of time, Fisher’s talents went from not-Richmond Braves-worthy to University of Virginia commit-worthy and he credits his work ethic for his success.
“The season never stops,” Fisher said. “If you’re not working, somebody else is, and you can’t be outworked.”
The 6-foot catcher sees every game as a new opportunity to do something special on the baseball field. He also takes his role on the team very seriously and is the definition of a team player.
“I view myself as a leader on the field and I just try to keep everybody on the field safe and keep them in check and try to go out there and lead them to victory,” Fisher said.
Both Jones and Fisher we glad to see an audience of scouts in attendance for their first pool play game.
“I have some players who are uncommitted that are looking for places to play and are open, so getting the opportunity to get some extra guys here to see them play bodes well for the team,” said Jones.
Fisher thinks it excites his teammates and brings their game to a higher level. That higher level is one that Fisher believes can bring the Richmond Braves 17u National the WWBA National Championship.
“I think it motivates us to play better,” said Fisher. “It puts us on a higher level of expectation and I feel that we can live up to it.”
The entire team shares that same mindset, which makes the Richmond Braves 17u National team a team to look out for in this tournament.