Q&A with Andy Partin

Inside Carolina spoke with Andy Partin, the head coach of the Dirtbags and the founder of Impact Baseball, after the Dirtbags' trip to the World Wood Bat Championship in East Cobb, Georgia last week. The Dirtbags have a long connection to the North Carolina baseball program and have a number of future Tar Heels on the roster this summer.

On Matt Roberts (2010 verbal) at East Cobb:
"Matt Roberts - he's our captain. He pretty much led the way for us. Offensively, defensively - he did it all. He had a home run for us early in the week and he continued to get hits."

On Brandon Huffman (2010 verbal) at East Cobb:
"Really swung the bat for us - gave us a lift in the middle of the line up. Quality at bat after quality at bat - he was really good for us."

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On Kyle Hufham (2010 verbal) at East Cobb:
"Kyle Hufham threw a great game against a really good team from San Diego. He was outstanding, just a bulldog and a competitive kid on the mound [in a one-hit shutout]."

On the Dirtbags and the Dirtbag 17s both being in the tournament:
"We have one squad we call the Dirtbags and another that we call the Dirtbags under 17. Jeff Bouton (2010 verbal), who was a recent commitment to the Tar Heels, had a good week. I was not with that club this week, but both the coaches on that team said he had an outstanding week. I know he had several hits - he is an extremely talented kid with a lot of tools."

Has Bouton turned the corner after having some injuries earlier in his playing career?
"I really think he will develop into a special player. His skills have definitely elevated since the fall - he has been with us for three years. You can tell that he works hard, you can tell he is committed when you look at his body. Works extremely hard. Great family and he is an inspirational player. He will help the Tar Heels when he gets there."

Did Adam Griffin (2011 verbal commitment) off of the U16 Dirtbags play any with the U17 Dirtbags this week?
"Adam Griffin was with us all week. He played up - he is a 2011 kid playing with a 2010 team. It was nice to see that he is healthy again and pain free in his arm. He only threw three innings this spring, we kind of were taking it easy on him and getting him back in shape and he went out there and touched 92 on the mound for an inning. The neat thing about Griffin is that he really can swing the bat. He is a middle of the lineup bat for us down here and he can produce a lot of hits. He is a tremendous athlete and plays an outstanding outfield. He is a game changer out there - he made a lot of plays for us in big situations."

How was Connor Narron's (2010 verbal) week?
"He was hurt so he did not go. He hurt his back in the spring and [re]aggravated it during the end of the State Games of North Carolina. He went with us to the Firecracker Invitational and we won it at Coastal Carolina. He is banged up right now - but he will be 100 percent in a couple of weeks."

On Hobbs Johnson (2010 verbal) at East Cobb:
"He pitched for us too. He pitched two innings in relief to get a save against a team from Cincinnati on Wednesday then got the start against the San Diego show in the sweet 16 for us. Really good battle - did not have his good stuff but did a good job. He is a trooper - great kid. He had a good tournament for us."

The other two UNC verbal commitments on the Dirtbag roster were 2010 players in Ryan Heuler and Tate Parrish...
"Heuler did not make the trip with us. He will be with us this week and will throw for us in the Impact World Series. Tate Parrish - offensively was really, really good for us. He had a big home run in the sweet 16 game for us. One of the furthest balls I have seen hit this year. He produced all week for us all week. He is a slick fielding first baseman too - in the Dustin Ackley mold as far as being defensively really, really good."

Can you give an introduction to Inside Carolina readers on Dirtbag baseball and Impact Baseball?
"Well the Dirtbags and Impact Baseball are different. The Dirtbags are the summer and fall baseball team that we have - we have been competing for seven or eight years now. We have had some success. We have had 250 kids sign college baseball scholarships - 200 at Division I level and over a 100 in the ACC/SEC. We have had 75 kids drafted since 2002 - with some first rounders in there - notably this year with Dustin Ackley being drafted second overall. He was huge for us. Basically our goal is to have a lot of fun, get these kids better and move them on to college and professional baseball and keep up with the kids along the way."

On Impact Baseball...
"Impact Baseball is [pauses], wow - so many things. We do so many things to help kids. Obviously we run our individual showcases to get the kids exposure with professional scouts and college recruiters. We run the web site which is viewed and read by so many coaches and scouts. We run ID Camps and offer team tournaments where other teams can come in and obviously play the Dirtbags - we try to get all the teams together at one spot to get exposure for the coaches and scouts. It helps a lot of kids and coaches."

Did you see UNC assistant coaches Scott Jackson and Scott Forbes at work at the World Wood Bat Competition?
"Coach Jackson and Forbes are tireless, baby, we saw them at every game we played. They are as hard working recruiters out there. Those guys work harder than anybody - that is a bold statement. Those guys keep themselves in form, are easy to talk to and just great guys that do an outstanding job."

How did the Dirtbags finish up in the World Wood Bat Championship?
"This event is kind of our Omaha. It is a big event and we work hard for it all summer. There were 192 teams and we were fortunate to finish tied for fifth and made it to the elite eight. We finished ahead of every other team from the mid-Atlantic region. I thought our guys played very well - we had an injury obviously to Connor Narron. For us to overcome that we had some kids step up and play some positions that they normally did not play. We had a great team with great kids and played well all week. The event itself is awesome - you have 192 teams and have several hundred coaches and scouts out to recruit the kids and watch them. Perfect Game did a great job with the event."

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