QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- Little League baseball has been void in Adams County for more than two decades.
However, that's not the case anymore thanks to the sponsorship of Refreshment Services Pepsi, the diligent work by assistant coach Tim Beard, and the leadership of veteran skipper Rick Miles.
"We decided to go Little League just for the teaching aspect of the game," said Miles who's been coaching baseball for 25 years.
"A lot of more fundamentals come into play and it's easier to teach the fundamentals."
Assistant coach Chris Kirn says joining forces with Little League is a win-win situation.
"It's just good to get the kids playing baseball," Kirn explained.
"There's different levels of baseball in the community, both the competitive and recreation side, and we were trying to fill the void somewhere in the middle."
The Pepsi Raiders sport a roster of players 10 and 11-year olds from Quincy, and the move to Little League was a significant one.
According to the players and coaches, it enabled the team to focus on the finer points of the game.
"It's fun because you learn a lot of fundamentals and stuff like that," said Pepsi Raiders infielder/pitcher Brexton Beard.
"It's also fun to play with your friends and learn about the game of baseball."
Miles added: "A lot more of the situational part of the game comes into play. Kids are able to make a force out at second or third (base), the pitchers can concentrate on throwing strikes instead of having to worry about a big lead. It kind of puts everything on a level playing field."
And the emphasis on fundamentals has meant better results on game day.
"From the start of the season until now it was amazing," Kirn said of the team's improvement.
"The way they competed, their passion for the game, and truly their knowledge of the game as well."
The players say the switch has been worthwhile.
"I've seen (our team) improve a lot," said Pepsi Raiders catcher Chase Miles.
"Last year our defense wasn't that good but this year it's pretty good."
According to Pepsi Raiders first baseman/pitcher Griffin Kirn, "Our defense has got a lot better and our hitting has (as well), and our pitching staff is amazing."
The coaching staff says the long term goal is to form an Adams County Little League chapter in Quincy with multiple teams from the surrounding communities.
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