Monument Major Boys don’t let past affect future

With the frequency of a refrain in a pop song, members of the Monument Little League Major boys baseball team yell “Next.”

They wear it on the back of their T-shirts above their number, between quotation marks and written in capital letters.

Not everyone interprets it correctly. Monument manager Sean Kreidler said he has read items posted on websites and heard opponents say Monument’s players are cocky; they’re always saying, “Next,” looking past their opponents.

And that, Kreidler said, is not even close to being what “Next” is all about. In part, because it’s not even the whole saying, which is: “So what? Next.”

It is a reminder to the players that in a game such as baseball, where mistakes are going to happen — strikeouts, fielding errors, mental errors, poor pitches, base running gaffes — there’s always the chance to redeem yourself, to get it right next time.

Catcher Zack Owens said the phrase has been around with this group of Monument players since they were 9 years old.

“If you miss a ground ball or strike out, or even if you hit a home run,” Owens said, “you have to focus on the next thing. If we lost a game, who cares? Next game, don’t worry about it.”

“Next” is all-encompassing, Kreidler said, and it’s a word to keep players from dwelling on the negative in the aftermath of a mistake.

“Move on to the next play,” he said. “We’re believers that if your head’s down, the ball’s going to find you.”

After dominating its district tournament, Monument had to work harder for its wins during the state tournament.

“When they scored a couple runs, we didn’t get our heads down,” outfielder/second baseman Ben Spomer said. “So what if they scored? We knew we could score back.”

“You’re not going to hit a home run every time,” outfielder Canon Kreidler said. “You make mistakes a lot in baseball, and you have to move on.”


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