Sitka Baseball Club is excited to announce the upcoming arrival of Steve Fish who will be visiting Alaska for the first time after coaching several of Sitka’s baseball players on his travel ball team– the World Baseball Showcases Colts Black and Red teams–this past summer (2021).

I used to play against Steve in high school in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, where he played shortstop for current power house Jesuit High School and I played for former power house Beaverton High School.  Steve ultimately went on to play junior college baseball where he became a polished RHP.  Steve then committed to the University of Nebraska where he finished his college career.  The Angels drafted Steve in the 22nd round of 1997 major league draft.  In 1998, Steve won the Angel’s minor league pitcher of the year award.  Steve pitched 4 seasons in the minor leagues and 3 more years in the independent leagues.

After his playing career, Steve became a Major League scout for the Red Sox covering most of the southern hemisphere (Australia, Philippines, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, etc.).  Later on he was picked to manage the Perth Heat, a major league baseball affiliated winter league team, where he coached them to two national championships, and was runner up in his first season.  Steve also coached the 18U Australian National team to 4th and 5th place finishes in the World Cup.

Since 2010, Steve has brought Australian prospects on summer baseball tours across the U.S. to give them more game experience.  These “World Baseball Showcases Colts” teams competed all across America, playing some of the top 18U and summer college level teams along the way.

This summer, due in part to COVID-19, several of our Sitka kids were lucky enough to play for Steve’s WBS Colts team, filling some roster spots previously occupied by Australians who were unable to play due to Australian travel restrictions.  Dylan Marx-age 16, Nik Calhoun-17, Grady Smith-16, and Eman Barragan-18, (Sitka High Students) and Caleb Calhoun-14, all got to play for the WBS Colts teams this summer.

On the first tour, beginning in late June and lasting about a month, the boys got in about 27 games playing against some great teams in the Northwest.   They started out against the Cody Cubs in Cody, Wyoming, then traveled to Port Angeles, Washington for a tournament against several Washington 18U teams, over the 4th of July weekend, and then traveled to Eureka, California, where they faced pitchers throwing in the upper 80s and low 90s – who were either in college or college commits.  They ended the first tour in Bakersfield against one of the top 18U scout teams in the area, where many of the players on the Bakersfield team were already committed to D-1 schools.

The kids flew home for a week, (LAX to SIT) and were invited back to play on the second “Cross country tour”.  The ~20 game cross country tour started against a very talented Easton Prime team in San Bernardino, CA, with virtually all of its players committed to play college.  Our kids played well!  Uncommitted Eman Barragan (LHP) touched 87 mph and kept some of the nation’s best 18U hitters his age off balance with his elite spin rates for his velocity, and plus curve ball.

The kids then traveled to Las Vegas for a 3 game series — and then to Nebraska for a 4 game series.  Then to South Bend, Indiana for a few games at the storied minor league ball park of the MLB affiliated South Bend Cubs high “A” team.   The boys then left for Buffalo, New York, where they played a series against a couple different east coast 18U all star teams.  In between, the boys visited the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, and the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and Niagara Falls.

As far as life experience, putting up with the daily grind of travel and tornado warnings; and learning to hit velocity, and playing through adversity–these boys benefited immensely.  I was surprised at how well they adapted. But much of the credit goes to Steve Fish, who just knows how to develop young players, and gave our boys an incredible opportunity to play so many games against good competition. Thank you Steve Fish.  I can’t wait to host you here in Sitka, that I lovingly refer to as a small, Alaska fishing town, with a baseball problem.

Our fall/early winter cage session begins the first week of November 2021. We are still setting up our calendar and working out our schedule. But please register now to secure a spot. Session 1 Cage Registration

$70 membership dues cover November and December cage workouts. Another $70 membership fee will be due in January for the January / February session.  Save $10 if you pay for both sessions now!  $130 for both now.

To Register click Here:

Our Cage Sessions will begin the first week of November. Please refer to this website and the cage calendar for updates and information. All of the registration forms and waivers are available online (and are in the process of being updated). Looking forward to seeing you soon.

We have all seen the young player who swings hard and finishes with their feet flat, their heels having never left the ground, without any good hip rotation.  We ask them to look down after their swing, and they see their feet pointing into the opposite batters box.  But how do we fix this?

Some players simply use all arms and fail to generate much of any power from the ground and their hips and legs.  In our first practice, I have already seen this in a few of our 13 year olds, and I knew I wanted to try and teach this in a new way.

Last winter, my son trained with Jamar Hill in Anchorage, and Jonny Homza was working out with some of his fellow White Sox organization teammates.  They were working on coiling into their back hip and launching into balls, hitting them with some serious torque, high into the Dome netting.  Jamar also noted that my son’s swing could benefit from more lower half “coil”, so I started to ponder the idea of “hip coil” in the load portion of the swing.

Coach Cathcart (Baseball Doctor) does the best job I have seen, online, demonstrating how to practice a good “coil” and load.  We will be incorporating these drills into our cage sessions, emphasizing sinking into our back hips during our load, without closing our front shoulder to the pitcher, while minimizing head movement, and leaking out on the back knee.

Justin Stone is a master of explaining / diagnosing swing flaws and, in particular, how to properly address the issue of failing to get the most out of our lower half.  His continuous pitch drill does a great job of addressing this issue.

SLL Coaches Clinic

SLL Coaches Clinic

Now that the winter program is starting up again, I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned over the past season, and some of the adjustments to my approach to coaching in the off season.  This past year I had the opportunity to travel with a group of talented players from Sitka to the USA Baseball National Team Selection Tournament in Phoenix with Jamar Hill’s Alaska Gamers team.  We traveled with great players from all over Alaska and learned a lot seeing our kids struggle at times, and compete well at other times against some of the best competition in the country.

Perhaps the biggest lesson learned is the importance of putting a larger emphasis on strength and conditioning in the off season especially for the rising Freshman (13-18) year old age group.  Kids in this age group are all at different stages of development and one of the singular most important separators is physical strength and speed.  Both of which can be improved with a proper strength and conditioning / agility training program.  Fortunately, here in Sitka, we have Jared Rivera, who got his degree at Oregon State University in this specific area, and who played for the Wolves Baseball team in highschool, and even got to work with the OSU baseball team when he was getting his degree.

At SBC, we will be incorporating our own strength routine into our cage sessions, but will be encouraging parents to get their kids enrolled with Jared’s Sitka Grind Fitness center this winter.

Live Reps

One of the other important lessons from last year was how important live reps and live at bats are in developing a successful hitter (and the successful pitcher for that matter).  I truly gained an appreciation for the importance of live at bats in helping a hitter gain the necessary confidence for consistent success.  I don’t mean live BP from an L screen.  I mean a kid facing a live arm (both lefty and righty) at regulation distance in the cage much like you see in the Driveline youtube videos where younger players face off against one of the best pitchers in baseball Trevor Bauer,  or (better yet) in sandlot style scrimmages as often as you can muster it.  This may seem obvious, but, with all of the cage work kids do these days, I have just seen some pretty talented kids struggle to make the transition from the cage to the playing field in game/tournament settings–and I think more live, competitive reps would help.

Obviously, a progression is still key.  A progression that begins with tee work, and soft toss, to front toss, and toward velocity training on machines and live arms, is still essential.  With more advanced hitters, though, (varsity or advanced JV players) the progression simply can’t be thrust on a player in a vacuum.  The first step is building a relationship with the player, watching, listening, and hearing what they “feel” and want to work on, to help with buy in.  Then, video analysis of their swing mechanics.  Getting a baseline of their measurables (exit velo on tee / on BP pitching).  Then, we develop a plan and routine for each player, with a goal of achieving measurable results.

Our goal at SBC this year will be to help the kids each increase their exit velocity over the next 3 months by at least 5 MPH, and to increase the consistency of their line drive target performance by at least 10%.  If we can achieve these performance goals it will confirm our process oriented focus will have succeeded.  We will use a combination of strength conditioning, weighted bat training, and skills training (that we call “target practice”) to achieve these results.

Target Practice

“Target practice” = with tee work and front toss, hitting the upper corner of the end of the cage, on a line, where the pitch is pitched.  We think of tee work as “sighting in our rifles” and the time in between our sessions as opportunity for our scopes to get bumped or out of whack.  On an inside pitch (or tee location) to a right hander, this means hitting the upper left corner “gap shot”. And on an outside pitch (or tee location) to a right hander, it means hitting the upper right corner “gap shot”.   Our rough goal is 10-20% launch angle for the kids below 80 mph exit velocity (which is most of the kids).  For those who are over 80 mph exit velo, they can start working on hitting the ball in the air a bit more.

ABCA Podcasts

Another huge reservoir of insight for me has been the ABCA podcasts and Inside Pitch Magazine.  To me, any coach who is not a member taking advantage of these resources is doing themselves and their players a disservice.  One of the best nuggets I found this off season was learning about Rob Friedman’s “flat ground app” and his insights more generally on pitching.  Rob is a fellow lawyer, who I can relate with on a number of levels who has a ton to offer coaches and players (MLB players are constantly in touch with him) wanting to get better.  He create his flat ground app to help get players who were falling through the cracks more exposure without all of the expense.

Our winter hitting program will start Tuesday November 5, 2019 (4:45-6:15 p.m. Moller Cage) and will continue Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:45 – 6:15 p.m..  All returning and new members / participants must print and fill out our registration forms available here or on our home page.  Please print, fill them out, sign and bring to your first session.  Bring a check for your player dues ($75) and your punch card ($50 for 10 sessions) ($100 for 20 sessions) to your first session.

We also ask that all members register with RBI Alaska by paying the $45 annual dues and filling out the online registration here.  

RBI Alaska is part of a Major League Baseball initiative to help subsidize the high costs of baseball in rural and urban areas throughout America.  If we can gather 20 registrants our club will be able to access resources from MLB to help our club members and community access coaching, equipment, and other resources that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Please contact Coach Brandon at with any questions.

Our fall cage sessions will begin this Tuesday, November 6. Be sure to print and fill out the registration forms on our site here. Also be sure to sign your athlete up with RBI Alaska Here.

Cage times will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm.

If you have any questions, be sure to email!

Below is a link to the Sitka Little League coaches clinic presentation.

SLL Coaches Clinic PowerPoint

Here is the link to download the file:

SLL Coaches Clinic


We are having our fall parent kick-off meeting Thursday, Oct 26th at the SCH upstairs conference room at 6:30pm for registration, paperwork, and Q&A.

We also have a Sitka Baseball Club Facebook group  Please click the link to join.
There is currently another Page called “Sitka Baseball Club” that I think was created by Ed Conway or someone within Little League, but since we can’t make posts or edits to that page, I created the new group.  we’re hoping to be able to link the two shortly.
Hope you can join us at the meeting!