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Dusters

Duster players heading to Colorado include Ethan Chavez (left) and Maverick McDonald. Photos by Mason Callejas

One of Maricopa’s own youth baseball teams has secured a place in a USSSA World Series tournament in Denver, Colorado, in July, giving the kids a chance to compete among some of the West’s toughest teams.

The Maricopa Dusters, age 11 and under, qualified for the Under Armour/USSSA Global World Series last fall with wins at both the Veterans Salute NIT in Peoria and Thanksgiving Shootout in Phoenix. Their momentum continued through the spring, and a recent upset at the Arizona USSSA State Championship solidified their reputation with a 5-0 record, scoring an average of 10 runs a game.

Dusters head coach Marty McDonald believes these numbers prove the team is athletically well-rounded, but for him it’s their resolve that makes them truly unique.

“We’ve been in situations where we’ve been down by several runs and we’ve come back to win games,” McDonald said.

They’re strong hitters and pitchers, McDonald added, but it’s “their heart, their character and their desire to play the game” that could take them all the way this year.

Assistant coach Randy Richardson feels the team’s strengths lay in their ability to field the ball, allowing an average of only four runs a game during the state tournament.

At age 11, it’s easy to get distracted, he said, so as long as they concentrate on their objectives and recognize where they fall short, he has no doubt they can take home the big win in Denver.

The players, some of whom have played baseball since they could walk, seem to already know how to help each other stay focused, and most importantly, how to help each other improve.

Submitted photo

“We know each other so good that we can discover what [each other’s] comfort zone is and we can help them push it,” second baseman and outfielder Maverick McDonald said.

Many of these young athletes have played on the same team for three years or longer, and now with the Dusters being announced as the official youth club feeder program for Maricopa High School, the kids can look forward to many more years backing up each other on the field.

“It’s good that we know each other [so well],” 11-year-old Ethan Chavez said, “because we’re probably going to be playing with each other for a while.”

This is the Dusters’ second trip to a USSSA World Series. In 2016, they competed in Dallas and finished fifth out of 46 teams.

July 20 is their first scheduled game in this year’s tournament. Their opponents will likely be released a week or two prior to the tournament.

Dusters coaches are Marty McDonald (left) and Randy Richardson. Photo by Mason Callejas

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

The Dusters baseball club has set itself up as a "feeder" program for Maricopa High School. Submitted

The Maricopa Dusters, a local club baseball team, joined forces with the baseball program at Maricopa High School to become the official youth club feeder program for the high school. The alignment is a strategic effort designed to coordinate and improve baseball instruction and play within the Maricopa community.

Maricopa once experienced a rich baseball history with several MLB teams holding tryouts many years ago. While those opportunities have subsided due to changes by MLB, the history of the baseball in Maricopa often goes unnoticed. Locally, the Dusters are making their second-straight USSSA World Series Appearance this summer, competing in the Under Armour Global World Series. Additionally, a local youth player is competing in the USSSA All-American Games this summer in Florida. 

“We are super excited to begin this partnership with the Dusters,” Maricopa Rams head coach Andrew Pollak stated. “Maricopa is a great city with some very good baseball talent. We want to continue to grow that talent pool and have a positive impact on the youth in our community. We recognize the talent the Dusters and other teams offer and we want to inject a new-found enthusiasm for the sport of baseball. This is going to provide some great learning opportunities and memories for the young ones in our city.”

To help facilitate this change, the Dusters and Rams will collaborate efforts that positively impact all local kids in baseball and create a stronger development pipeline. The Dusters will seek to expand with multiple teams in Maricopa at the club and novice level. For those players not yet ready for club action, the newly-formed Dusters Academy will help increase their baseball awareness, skills and development.

“We want to make Maricopa a baseball town and this is the how we start to accomplish that goal,” Dusters head coach Marty McDonald said. “If a family in Maricopa truly understands the actual path of baseball development from Little League to club to high school, it really will allow for the player to properly develop and increase their enthusiasm for the sport. Further, we want to provide coaches training and support for those who want to help but might need some seasoning and mentorship. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone in the community.”

Players in the program will receive instruction from former professional players, college players and college coaches, who make up the coaching staff for the Rams and Dusters. The program will be open to boys and girls ages 7 to 18 and costs will vary based on level of competition. Cost structure will vary based on level of play.

For more information or to place your son or daughter on the “prospect” list please email organizers at maricopadusters@gmail.com or call the Dusters at 480-236-6394.

 

The Maricopa Dusters are a 10U baseball club.

The Maricopa 10U baseball club the Dusters has been invited to join 470 teams at the USSSA World Series in Dallas July 7-12.

Of the 45 teams in their age bracket, they are ranked 11th. The Dusters are the only Arizona team participating after playing 70 games. Teams in their pool are from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

“We’re excited for this opportunity,” coach Marty McDonald said. “These boys have worked their tails off all year, making sacrifices, practicing 2-3 times a week in addition to playing in a lot of tournaments.”

Since 2015, the Dusters’ record is 45-25-1. They have won a USSSA tournament title, finished second in USSSA/Nations five times, finished third in USSSA/Nations three times.

In three seasons in the Ahwatukee Pony League, Maricopa is 27-1-1, with three titles.

Most families will be driving the distance to Dallas, about 15 hours.

Shortstop Cody Gallardo said club ball is more intense than typical Little League competition but said teammates are fun and more encouraging.

“When we’re on, we’re on, and nobody can beat us,” Cody said.

Coaches are expected the trip to cost the team around $5,000. That includes tickets to a Texas Rangers game, where USSSA players will be recognized on the field in a parade of teams July 7. The Dusters started a GoFundMe account to raise funds at https://www.gofundme.com/dustersworldseries

“They are a great bunch of young men with bright baseball futures ahead of them,” McDonald said. “I speak for all of our coaches when I say this, but it’s truly an honor to coach them and share this moment with them.  Going to Dallas to play in the World Series is an honor and something they will remember for the rest of their life.”