Photos provided by Prime Time Baseball.
This article is part of series highlighting different organizations within NVTBL. We will be posting new articles each week.
Prime Time Baseball co-owner Chris Berset began coaching an Aces 10u team this fall, working with a group of players he won’t stop working with until they graduate high school or leave the program.
Berset put in the groundwork with his team by establishing expectations and relationships that will allow his players to develop and reach their goals, whether it is to earn a spot on a varsity high school roster or play at a Division I program.
The former catcher played seven seasons in the Cincinnati Reds organization following a four-year career at the University of Michigan. He is also the head coach for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s Alexandria Aces and knows a little something about playing at the next level.
“Our goal is to get our kids playing competitive high school baseball,” Berset said. “If you want to play beyond that, we have guys that have been there to help you get there, but you are going to have to work.”
Fellow co-owner John Skaggs understands keeping great coaches with the same players through their entire development is what makes Prime Time a special place to play.
“Our goal is for a coach to stay with a [team] as the kids get older,” Skaggs said. “We found that having that continuity and comfortability between the players, coaches and parents makes for a much better experience and is more enjoyable for everyone involved.”
All of the coaches at Prime Time have played at the collegiate or professional levels, but also have an instinct to teach. Skaggs and Berset want their coaches to have connections with their players and coach them on much more than just the game.
“We look for guys who know the game and can teach the game. Who can teach the fundamentals and also relate to the kids,” Skaggs said. “I am looking to get the best we can get, not just with baseball but who are all-around role models.”
“Players are growing up in our system. We are not just teaching the game but life-lessons,” Berset said.
Outside of weekly practices and games during the season, Prime Time offers a 4,500-square-foot facility for players to hit and throw year-around. Skaggs and Berset are also excited for the grand opening of a new weight room to their facility for 2019.
Accomplishing the little goals on the practice field or in the facility is what fuels the coaches and what brings the players back for more.
“We care so much about the results of our players and that brings joy to our coaches, whether it is making first contact or hitting a home run,” Berset said. “If you build a connection with the player, they will look up to you and usually the players will feed off that once they see their results.”
In the off-season, the facility offers winter clinics for specific skills like pitching or catching. Through their connections, Prime Time also provides special recruiting and showcase events available to their high school teams.
This past fall, 17 local college coaches were in attendance for a pro-style workout at Barcroft field while also offering a recruiting seminar with Georgetown coach Pete Wilk the night before. After a successful trial run with multiple players being pursued by college programs, Skaggs looks to continue the event at least once a year. Berset also has invited former teammates, such as Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart, in the facility to talk with players.
“We will keep working our connections to help our guys out,” Berset said. “It’s about getting to that next step. If they enjoy playing high school baseball, sweet. But if they want to play at the next level, we have been there and will help you get there.”
For more information on the Prime Time Baseball organization, visit their website at primetimebaseball.co.