Gedman Clinic Builds Catching Skills

Gedman Clinic Builds Catching Skills

Catchers Benefit From Teaching Talent

Packed Banquet Celebrates Season

Packed Banquet Celebrates Season

Ruffnecks Seniors Celebrate 2014

Ruffnecks Begin Winter Training

Ruffnecks Begin Winter Training

New Plans for Winter Preparation in Place

Gedman Clinic Builds Catching Skills

Coach Gedman Demonstrates

Twenty catchers between the ages of 13U and seniors in high school have been hard at work since Thanksgiving week and into December. The initial session was held outside at the New England Baseball Complex in near perfect weather conditions. During the colder weather, the clinic has moved to the spacious Armour Cage indoor facility at St. Mark’s School. The Gedman Catchers Clinic is open to Ruffnecks and non-Ruffnecks, many of whom played Fall Baseball at the NEBC. For Ruffnecks catchers, the opportunity to work with the lineup of catching instructors that Mr. Gedman brings to the party is an extraordinary privilege. Rich Gedman is a 13 year veteran Major League catcher and two-time All-Star. He currently serves as a minor league coach in the Red Sox system. His partner in the clinic is Chad Epperson, a former professional catcher who is now the catching coordinator for the entire Boston Red Sox organization. “Eppy” is widely regarded as one of the finest tacticians of the catching trade in baseball. Ray Fagnant, the Northeast Area Scout for the Boston Red Sox, is also on the staff. Coach Fagnant brings equal passion and knowledge to the position. Assisting these fine men with professional catching backgrounds is former Penn State Academic All-Big 10 catcher Alex Farkes along with Framingham State head coach, Michael Gedman, and Ruffnecks catching coordinator Andrew Collins. Indeed, there is no shortage of attention paid to each catcher, and no small details ignored.

Skill Development in the Little Things

"Eppy" Works Balance

As Mr. Gedman readily acknowledges, catching skills at the high school and even collegiate levels are often taken for granted or even ignored.  Coaching staffs are limited, and time is insufficient to develop, train, and reinforce good habits for catchers.  The Gedman Catchers Clinic does not solve that problem, but it does provide a baseline and a foundation for knowing how to prepare. As Coach Epperson puts it, “The catcher is the only player on the field who can look into the eyes of all the other players.”  The Gedman Catchers Clinic has physically demanding moments, as well as periods of significant “information dumps,” when participants and instructors simply talk about situations catchers encounter.  Blocking drills, balance drills, weight-shifting drills, arm-slot and throwing techniques, all contribute to the volume of work necessary to develop as a catcher.  Coach Fagnant dispels many long misrepresented notions about “receiving skills.”  As a long time scout, with years of watching catchers, he is passionate about communicating the principles of securing strike calls and catching pitches that may not be strikes.

Ruffnecks Catchers Benefit

Ruffnecks Sivolella and Olson Share a Catcher's Moment

For Ruffnecks catchers, the Gedman Clinic is a yearly opportunity to reinforce the tremendous importance, pride, and expectations that come with the most demanding position on a baseball field.  As Coach Gedman reminds them, catchers cannot be about themselves; they must be about their pitchers and their team.  Along the way, catchers may be vulnerable to hitting slumps, loss of speed, and mental fatigue, but they cannot relent in their duties.  Their contributions to the team are directly related to their ability to execute the skills that enable them to manage a game… and successful skill execution comes with repetition, knowledge, and practice.  Ruffnecks teams are known for their solid catching corps.  It is no small wonder that we owe much of that success to the efforts of Mr. Gedman, and our own catching coordinator Andrew Collins.  So as the winter work continues, so will the emphasis the program places on catching skills and development.

Packed Banquet Celebrates Season

More than 160 guests packed into the banquet room at The Fours in Quincy, Massachusetts for the 6th Annual Ruffnecks Banquet.  Tim and Maize Colton, proprietors of The Fours, have graciously hosted the event since its inception in 2009.  They are also parents of Ruffnecks alumnus, Jack Colton, who is currently the captain of the Harvard University baseball team.  The evening is a celebration of all things Ruffnecks, with an emphasis on the Senior Class.  In fact, Senior Matt Messier traveled four and a half hours from his home in North Troy, Vermont with his dad to attend the festivities and be with his teammates!  The turnout for this event grows each year, as players and families anticipate the delivery of the Ruffnecks Yearbook, and (for the past three years) a video presentation of the program and the season.  The guest speaker was the father-son duo of David McCullough, Jr. and his son, David McCullough III, also a Ruffneck Alum, and currently a member of Yale University’s baseball team.  Both dad and son spoke about baseball from different perspectives.  Mr. McCullough (dad)  is the author of the book You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements. His address to the Ruffnecks audience focused on the universal bonds that tie athletes to sport, and in particular, the game of baseball. He spoke of how many others, in different regions and countries, play baseball and embrace the game. “They, like you, all love baseball… and in loving baseball, in playing the game, they are connecting with you and everyone else who loves and plays the game, too.  Baseball, you see, is a great unifier…” Mr. McCullough went on to say.

The highlight of the evening is usually the delivery of the Johnny Pesky Teammate Awards to a member of each Ruffneck team.  The award is the only award the program issues.  The 2014 winners are: 13U Ruffnecks – Ben Rounds; 14U Ruffnecks – Jake McOsker; 15U Ruffnecks – Taylor Beckett; 16U Ruffnecks – Bradley Waddell; Senior Ruffnecks – Jacob Stevens, who is heading to Boston College.  With great cheer and camaraderie the Ruffnecks Banquet continues to be a great kick-off for the “Hot Stove” season.  It is also an opportunity to welcome the “New ‘Necks” to the program.  Most of the incoming 13U class attended the evening, as did new additions to the other rosters.  We appreciate all who traveled and took the time to be there.

Important Notices

(Updated Sunday, December 14)

Friday, December 19
13U Hitting
St. Mark's School
Armour Cage
7:30 - 9:00pm

Ruffnecks 2014 Season Video


The New England Baseball Complex is located at:

333 Southwest Cutoff

Northborough, MA 01532


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