BYNC Spotlight: Eric Munson Gold 13U
Eric Munson Gold Elite
Claiming the 13U Division at the Baseball Youth National Championships in 2016 was Eric Munson Gold Elite. Hailing from Dubuque, Iowa the organization is founded by former big leaguer and collegiate national champion Eric Munson. Consisting of over 160 players from 8U-18U his organization gives kids the opportunity to play baseball at a high level.
Eric Munson Gold Elite is coached by Dan Smith. In order to get ready to play in the Baseball Youth National Championships the organization pulls its best players from all the teams inside the program. “The purpose of our Elite team is to take our very best and team them up with some of the top players we have competed against. This gives them the opportunity to go compete on a larger stage.”
Since the team only plays with each other on a limited basis the Baseball Youth National Championships was their only title this year. They were runner ups at the 2016 PBR Future Games and the USSSA Global World Series. For Smith and his team, being crowned National Champions at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana was a major accomplishment due to the talent level in the tournament. “When you get to test your metal against the Ohio Bombers and Team Easton Select-Louisville, you know you are going to be challenged and that is what we are about. We want our players to be tested, because we feel that is how they will accelerate their level of play and learn how to play the game.”
Now taking a look at the roster this team is every bit of the word “elite”. It all starts on the mound with the four man cleanup crew consisting of Gavin Zurn, Cael Luzum, Logan Runde, and Cole Smith. The four have a combined record of 9-3 and 2.26 overall ERA in the short span they have played together. Another impressive number is their strike out to walk ratio which they accumulated 92 strikeouts and only gave up 15 walks.
Not only on the mound are they dynamite, the same is to be said when they come to the plate. As a team in 24 games they have accumulated 214 hits, 15 home runs, 152 RBI, and an OBP of 0.434. Knocking just about all of those home runs though has been Logan Runde. Power screams off his bat with him blasting 12 long balls and 31 RBI to help his team to victory.
Now that the season has concluded Coach Smith is looking towards to the outlook on the 2017 season and has a couple goals in mind. “We need to bring everyone back healthy and continue to grow as baseball players and good citizens of our communities. We have a saying in our Organization to “Play the game, the right way”. That doesn’t just mean how we play on the field, but how we live our lives off the field.”
For Dan this group of boys has been a great group to coach going 15-7 in 2016 and 15-1-1 in 2015. He does mention there is a key component and that is the attitude of his team. “The thing I like best about this group of players is they are all great kids that jell quickly together. I love the fact they are loose and cut up during the game. You have to relax to play the game of baseball and our players know how to do that.”