XENIA — Bubba Cates was smiling and quoting Aristotle, as he watched his Xenia Scouts baseball team warmup prior to Wednesday night’s Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League game against Lorain.
“What is that saying?” he asked. “‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’? That’s where we are right now.”
And right now the Xenia Scouts are winning and having a whole lot of fun. The Scouts are off to one of their better starts in team history. Having won eight of the team’s first 11 games, Xenia finds itself sitting in near the top of the 11-team GLSCL.
“I don’t think it’s been a statistical thing. You look at our team batting average and it doesn’t jump out at you. (Xenia is seventh overall), or that we’ve pitched so well (third in the GLSCL), but it’s more a case where we’ve done everything – at times – very well,” Cates said. “We’ve also been very average at things at times.”
Cates knows the team has only been together for a little more than two weeks, “but it feels like we’ve been together for about six months already. … and that’s a good thing.”
The players and staff participated in a team building exercise prior to the season opener. They tackled the 15-acre Athletes In Action challenge course, where the teammates had to rely on each other to maneuver through a low ropes course, a 12-foot wall and a high ropes course that weaved its way 40 feet in the air through the trees.
“After taking on that course, I think that’s what’s really brought this team together,” Cates said. “By being involved in things like that, I think we know more about each other. That’s helped us to get off to this solid start. It’s been a lot of fun, so far.”
Xenia opened the season by winning five of its first six, the only blemish being a road loss to the Lima Locos. Since then, they’ve split a home-and-home series with the league-leading Southern Ohio Copperheads, swept the Cincinnati Steam in another two-game series and recently took a 12-3 beating on the road against the Lorain County Ironmen, a team coached by former Cleveland Indian “Super Joe” Charboneau.
“These guys have been very good to share with each other, and with me, just about what’s on their mind. They’ve been good to ask questions about other people as well, not just about what’s on their mind. That’s been a real eye opener with me,” Cates said. “There’s some kids I understand better just by what they’ve shared with me and how they’ve communicated with me, and I know them better in two weeks than some players I’ve known for more than a year!”
So far, the sum of Xenia’s youthful baseball playing parts is creating a whole lot of fun. Aristotle would be proud.