Belmont Bandits 9U baseball team
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A Country Boy can survive
Mar. 27, 2017
Well this weekend's weather brought forth many rays of light, and a few dark clouds which paralleled the games we played. We had some spots where we looked phenomenal, and others where we looked like the first week of practice this year. We played two on Saturday, and wouldn't you know it those pesky Titans showed up in a tourny we are playing in again. We had a fun day at the park, though, and the competition was extremely good.
Game 1 was versus the Athlete's Lab Crushers out of Hickory. Those poor boys had "one of those days" when nothing was going right. We have had many of those days on the ballfield, and so we ended up coming out on top handily at 24-0 in this contest. The Crushers played hard throughout, but we were hitting on all cylinders in this particular game. Brody Crawford was the top offensive player for this weekend, which is impressive considering some of the other boys very strong performances. Brody went 3-3 in this game with a double and 2 singles, also walked and scored 4 runs. So for my favorite stat (how many times can you get on base no matter what) he was a perfect 1.000% in this game. In this game Zeke Pruitt also went 3-4 with 2 singles and a double and Patrick Blee also belted out a 2-3 day including 2 doubles and drew a walk. Each scored 3 runs. Bug Green had a solid day with 2-4 including a double and single plus a walk. Rounding out the order we also got big days from Blake Hartness at 2-3 with 2 big doubles, Dalton Skipper with 2-3 effort and Christopher Wurster continuing his hot hitting streak from practice to go 2-3 with a double and single. He also walked, scored 3 runs and had his best offensive game ever for us. We were very proud of these guys efforts at the plate.
Defensively we did well as a team, and pitched three pitchers on the day. That solid defense plus the bonus pitching allowed for zero runs in this game. Blake Hartness started and registered two strikeouts while Bug Green came in to pitch the second inning and tallied three strikeouts in three batters faced - excellent! Zeke Pruitt has shown marked improvement on the mound in recent weeks and came in to close the game out pitching an inning and striking one batter out. Overall it was a solid day for the team, and it was a great start to Saturday's games. What loomed ahead was a bunch of nine year olds in yellow-gold shirts that play like they are twelve, and don't seem to realize just how good they are. Game 2 on Saturday was versus the Titans, and what a game it was to be.
Game 2 versus the Tega Cay Titans was what you want to see in travel baseball. I've been to them all around here, and baseball at age 9 doesn't get much better than this...especially not from two small communities close to each other using homegrown kids who like to play baseball. In this game, the few small, but costly mistakes made the difference in the game. A walk here, and error there, a missed opportunity at the plate a couple of times and you end up on the wrong side of the score. You can't give great teams a bunch of extra chances anyway, but our best this day wasn't good enough to defeat the Titans in Gastonia this weekend.
We had some solid pitching versus this group for sure - a bright spot. We got about 2 innings out of three pitchers in this game. Landon King registered five strikeouts. Blake Hartness and Zeke Pruitt came in to pitch and did very well also combining for three strikeouts between them versus the Titans. Brody made a catch in CF that should make the local HS kids envious. He drop stepped oppo hand on a ball that was smoked at about a 80 degree angle running toward the fence and back hand snagged it about ten feet from the fence. It was one of those impressive plays that can't be taught.
On offense, some of our best swings and shots meant nothing, because their re-creation of the NL All Star infield from 1986. We got to see Keith Hernandez at 1B, Ryne Sandberg at 2B, Ozzie Smith at SS and Mike Schmidt at 3B. The crown of their infield made more plays in this game than there are days in the month. Crawford had another hot hitting game going 2-4 with two singles and scoring a run. The most impressive at bat was to lead off the game when he smoked a ball to the right of second base and Roberto Alomar Jr, JUNIOR made a play I wished I could've made a couple times in my life. Long story short, Brody hit the ball as hard as possible up the middle, and the 2B player took an Allen Iverson speed cross over to drop step and dive snagging the ball. There were more plays they made similar, but to make that play leading the game off was a defining moment for their team. They put a line in the sand right there, and the rest of their team stood with him. We did have Zeke Pruitt knock a big double in this game, and Chris Wurster, Luke Lassiter and Bug Green all notched a hit as well.
In the end, the Titans prevailed 10-7. They deserved to win because they made so many dang plays that you can't help but tip your cap, and enjoy the entertainment. We had some of those plays in this game, but they had more of them. Big plays make a difference in baseball, and big time players make a difference as well. We competed with them hard in this game, and we told the boys we were proud of them for their efforts. We did a lot right, but we will need to get better in order to beat a team that is that skilled and talented. The upside is you can't starve us out, and you can't make us run. The Bandits will be back to fight the next day, no matter who shows up with raised fists.
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