OKC Ambassadors Supporters,
Wow. What a season!
I am so glad to be back with the OKC Ambassadors. I played in 2008-2009 and I knew I missed it, but I didn’t realize that I missed it this much! The Ambassadors are special. It is just different. There is no other way to describe it.
As an alum and an original Ambassador who is now the Executive Director, it was my #1 priority to come in and re-establish the elite status of the OKC Ambassadors both in baseball and in discipleship. My staff and I poured everything we had into establishing a culture that reflects that Ambassador brand. I believe we were successful. We, as Christians, are called to excellence, and it was our goal to be excellent in every way we possibly could.
I am so proud of my coaching staff and proud of our players this year. We intentionally put together a very tough schedule this season. This is a part of being excellent and establishing the elite status of the Ambassador brand. And our guys did really well! There were a few tournaments where we got matched up in a lesser pool than we thought we would play in, but for the most part, our competition level was high. We will continue to play in tougher tournaments over the next few years until we feel like we are playing the best teams in the country. From the beginning, it has been the vision of this organization to impact Major League Baseball, and the only way we can do this is to compete against the best.
Our team went 32-17-3. Of course, as with any team, we can look back and say that we should have won this game, this game, and that game. But, I want to look at that record and see our competition level and applaud our team this year! I am very proud of them!
We set a goal to win a tournament and we won TWO tournaments this year!
Coach Tim Cole, our Manager, did a phenomenal job establishing culture this year. From the first team meeting, he set the expectations and never lowered his standards. I love the fact that Tim coached our guys in my first year as the Executive Director. He was an original Ambassador and he gets it. He understands what it means to be an Ambassador. He understands what it means to build culture. And he was the perfect guy for the job this year. We were really lucky to be able to land him, because he is a young, up-and-coming coach who is on the move. I hope he stays around us for the long haul!
Tim did a fantastic job with his coaching staff. We had Jim Madole, Luke Sandoval, and Cole Lee as assistants this year. This coaching staff worked really well together and did a great job coaching our guys. The coaches bought into Tim’s vision on culture and did a fantastic job implementing his plan into a day-to-day action. Each of our coaches had an expertise and did a great job playing a role on our team. This was a terrific crew and I already miss them every day!
Seniors Signed & Juniors Got Exposure
Out of our 11 seniors, we had 8 of them sign to play in college. The other 3 players could have played in college, but decided to pursue other interests. Our seniors had a lot of success on the baseball field this year. It was great to see them lead our team and develop into stronger leaders as they head into their college careers. I am so proud of our senior class and I wish them the best of luck as they start the next phase of their lives.
Our junior class had a very good year as well. We had multiple juniors receive strong interest from college coaches this summer. I have no doubt that we will have a strong senior class next year and it will be centered by this core group of juniors that played for us this year.
The sophomore class of 3 is a promising up-and-coming group! We have a lot of talent in these 3 guys and I am very excited to see how each of them develop in their own ways and how much they are going to succeed at the next level.
The most important element of this organization is the discipleship that we put the guys through all summer long. We put a heavy emphasis on our discipleship program this summer. It was often that we would meet for an hour 4 times a week and sometimes multiple times a day. And the most important piece is that we spent hours and hours and hours in the Word of God! We studied the Bible. It is extremely important for me that our guys have a strong Biblical foundation as they head into college or back to high school, and so we spent time wrestling through the Word of God. We spent time dealing with sexual temptation, pride, commitment, trust, faith, and leadership.
As long as I am able to lead the OKC Ambassadors, the spiritual development element of this organization will always be the priority. We are not a “peculiar people” without this piece to our organization. It is my prayer that each year our players and coaches walk away more hungry and more thirsty for Christ than they have ever been in their lives!
The Last Trip
Because of civil unrest in Nicaragua, we had a last-minute change to take our final trip to California. In California, we scheduled a Perfect Game Tournament and a Five Tool Tournament. These are two of the highest caliber tournaments that you can schedule as an 18U baseball team in the region. Our guys rose to compete and did a great job! We finished 6-1-2!
On the first night of the trip, during our discipleship time, I encouraged the guys to spend the 12-day road trip “Finding Jesus.” I encouraged them to find Jesus in conversations, find Jesus in creation, find Jesus in meeting strangers, find Jesus on the baseball field, find Jesus in your daily devotionals. It was really cool watching them start to understand what this means. We had guys come back with stories each night about how they found Jesus during their day. We had guys share the story about the Ambassadors, we had guys share the Gospel, and we had guys find Jesus in being alone in the ocean. It was just awesome. I loved watching our guys see Jesus in their everyday life. It was emotional for me to see these young men that I love so much grow closer to Christ.
The most amazing experience for me this year was to get to baptize one of my players, Andrew Mitchell. I got to baptize him in the Pacific Ocean. Andrew was saved 3 years ago, but never obeyed Christ in baptism, so he wanted to follow Christ in baptism while we were in California and show the world that he is a follower of Christ. It was such an honor to be able to baptize him. His father was a mentor to my father-in-law during Lee’s baseball career. And to see this whole thing come full circle and get to experience this summer with Andrew was Providential.
Evaluating the First Year
As I step back and look at this first year of running the Ambassadors and re-establishing its status, I believe that we took some major steps forward. But we could not have done this without the support of everyone involved. I mean, I could not believe how much support we got from all of you! Thank you thank you thank you! With your financial support, encouragement, time, and love, we were able to have an extremely successful summer. THANK YOU for loving this organization and believing in our staff. Because of you, we saw lives changed forever!
Please continue to pray for our players and coaches. There is always a spiritual attack that happens following a summer that is dedicated to Christ. Pray for strength. Pray for commitment. Pray that they would continue to find Christ in their everyday lives.
Once again, thank you for all of your support. Simply put, we could not have done any of this without you!