Joel Reinebold has been coaching baseball for many years, mostly for high schoolers.
But the South Bend, Ind., man has never coached a Little League team – until now.
After forging a relationship with the baseball community of Jamaica, Reinebold has been invited to coach the Jamaican team in the double-elimination, winner-take-all Major League Carribean Regional with hopes to getting the 12-and-unders to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
There is no leading off and it’s 60 feet between places and the mound is 46 feet from the plate.
“This is a new thing for me,” says Reinebold, who has been a high school head coach and was a Penn assistant for many years until 2013 when his duties as South Bend Silver Hawks groundkeeper picked up.
So with the permission of his boss, Silver Hawks president Joe Hart, the owner of The School of Hard Knocks and instructor at the Jim Reinebold Fall Baseball Camp will be going to Jamaica the middle of June to conduct practice then return to the island for the regional.
“It’s going to be a neat opportunity to see these kids in action,” says Reinebold, who will coach not an all-star team but the league champions from the rural area of Buff Bay, Portland, Jamaica. “They are very coachable and very disciplined. Their league coach is a Baptist minister and does not put up with any nonsense.”
Reinebold notes that Jamaica is a place where they often use white painted rocks for bases.
“They have absolutely nothing,” says Reinebold. “But they love to compete and they love to run around. That’s their lifestyle. They are outside all the time. No XBox’s for them.”
Reinebold will be taking School of Hard Knocks and Reinebold camp instructors Brian Grupp (who will work with catchers) and T.J. Wohlever (who will work with pitchers). Reinebold will instruct the other postion players and teach hitting. Per Little League rules, there will be at least one other coach from Jamaica.