ROCKINGHAM — Just a few years ago, when one of his players reached base, it would send Richmond Senior coach Ricky Young into a series a hand signals that looked like he was trying to land a plane.
Now instead of going through all of those motions, Young reaches into his back pocket to pull out a wristband and yells out a series of numbers. The numbers collate with an action on the players’ wristband.
So when Young yells out those series of digits, it could mean he wants the baserunner to steal, the batter to bunt or perhaps he wants a hit-and-run.
Young said he moved away from the giving the signals two seasons ago to make things easier on his team as well as make it tough for the opposition to know what is coming.
“It’s an advancement in the game that has tickled down from the college level,” Young said. “I’ve seen travel teams and rec teams around here use it now. It works and it simplifies the game.
“It was a way to make our signals easier for us and harder for the opposition to pick up.”
Young doesn’t only use the number system while on offense, he also calls pitches with it as well. Young will scan his sheet while in the dugout and make the call to his catcher. The catcher will look at his wristband and drop down the signal to the pitcher.
The Richmond coach didn’t want to reveal too much information about if the numbers include pitch location, but added “the catcher knows what we want when he looks at his band.”
Young said only the catchers have a two-sided wristband which includes the offensive and defensive number systems.
“We have ways for everyone in the infield to know what’s going on,” Young said.
Young said the only drawback he has seen with going to the number system was his reluctance to use it earlier.
“It obviously works,” he said. “I wish I would have done it 15 years ago. Teams and fans that made fun of us for using it are now using it too.”
Richmond, West Forsyth series set
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the game times and the sites for this year’s baseball championships Monday afternoon.
The 4A and 2A titles will be decided at UNC Greensboro, while the 3A and 1A championships will be contested at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.
In Greensboro, Richmond and West Forsyth will hit the field first at 5 p.m. Friday for Game 1 in the best of three series. Midway and Bunker Hill will battle at 8 p.m.
Game 2 between the Raiders and the Titans is set for 11 a.m. Saturday and if necessary, Game 3 will be at 5 p.m.
Tickets are $8 per game.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.