Belmont Bandits 9U baseball team
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Papa was a rolling stone
May. 8, 2017
Papa once said “But man is not made for defeat," .... "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”
I feel like we were destroyed on game 1 of Saturday's action. Anytime you play the Tega Cay Titans 9u team, you are in for a fight. It is a bit deflating to even have to play the best team in the tournament on day 1, game 1....and even moreso depressing to lose a narrow 13-11 battle. Oh the years have made me bounce back from losses better, but the initial sting always feels the same. Saturday was a day for warriors, and we came to battle.
Game 1 vs. the Titans took place in Gastonia, NC but it feels like we were teleported back to about 80 A.D. and walking into Rome's colosseum to do battle. The Titans are appropriately named, because they play and coach like their nickname suggests. They came out and threw eight runs on our top of the first defensive "effort". We didn't do a whole lot of good on defense during this game unfortunately, and it showed in the final score. But, the Titans put the ball in play and since we could not make some plays we normally do make, we allowed a bad first inning to happen. The Bandits roared back in the bottom of the first with six runs of their own, making the coaches very proud. We preach answering a jab with a hook, so it was nice to see the boys come back with fire in their hands. We did have some nice offensive numbers in this game, and ran the bases pretty well. Leading our hitting was Brody Crawford with 2-2 (2 doubles, BB, 3 runs scored), Patrick Blee with 3-3 (3 singles, 2 runs scored), Zeke Pruitt going 2-2 (1B, 2B, BB and 2 runs scored), Luke Lassiter contributing a 1-2 effort (1B, BB) and Christopher Wurster going 1-2 (1B, 1 run scored). The final tally was 13 for them, with 8 of those runs being first inning produced. So, over the next several innings we settled in pretty nicely. They brought their ace pitcher in to close us out, and stifled our potential comeback we were constantly on the verge of, but could not ever seem to grasp. Tough loss to a really good team. It stinks that we had to play each other in the first game of day 1 instead of seeing them on day two like it should be. Some teams get favorable schedules that set them up for easier roads. I think our playing each other will just continue to sharpen that iron on both sides.
Game 2 on Saturday was against the ForcTec Defenders out of Cleveland, NC. I'm pretty sure I'm not spelling that correctly, and can not pronounce their name properly but they wore grey uniforms and came ready to play. That defeat taste was still in our mouths as we started this game obviously, because we slept walked through the first few innings. We finally woke up in the last inning and laid the lumber throwing down a quick six runs to put a bow on this game. We cruised to 3-0, and 5-3 leads during portions of our early slumber, and thankfully we decided we would decide to play a little more baseball on this day. The big last inning hitting was started up by a leadoff double by Pruitt, then Patrick Blee reached base by error, Bug Green and Aydan Bradley hit back to back smokeshots and finally Landon King followed that with a big single and Walker Spargo finshed it off with a single and eventually got around the bases to plate the last run needed to make the umps call the game due to run differential. We absolutely hammered the ball in this inning, and played like our hair was on fire after our early to mid game slumber. We won 11-3, and since we were up by 8 after five innings as the home team, we were able to be done at this point.
We got a really solid pitching effort out of Zeke Pruitt as he went four innings. The defense played very well behind him in this game, and was responsible for a whole lot of put outs in the scorebook. I love to read F8, G4, G5 over and over. That means somebody was throwing strikes, and somebody was making plays on defense. Good job in this game to all the boys on a solid team defensive effort. For offense, we had several more guys with big games. Aydan Bradley continued his hot hitting ways with a 2-3 effort (1B, 2B, 1 run scored). Blake Hartness went 2-2 (1B, 2B), Luke Lassiter went 2-2 (2 singles) and Walker Spargo went 1-2 (1B, BB and scored 2 runs). We had several guys have key hits at the right time late in the game that sent us to look for some good food and open tables.
We finished 1-1 on the day, and although we felt defeated, we all knew the games would be played on Sunday and we were eager to play them unapologetically. Due to our loss and runs allowed in game 1, of day 1....we were grouped in the Silver Bracket. One team that we beat was in the Gold, and played for a Gold Championship. The 'random' draws that are given on day 1 are always interesting to see. The time and matchup revisions, and numerous times we seem to not play some teams despite being in every tournament with them is also perplexing. I guess we will keep sharpening our iron, and keep in mind where this will likely put this group of boys in the future. So, we were none too happy about showing up Sunday to play in the Silver Bracket because we have higher expectations than that. We aren't one of these teams who tries to lose or lose by a certain number of runs in order to get a top seed in Silver so there is a better chance to win a championship; and we know that happens. We do not do that, and much prefer to lose a Gold Championship game than win a Silver. We have to go where we qualified to play on Sunday, so we went and played hard like we teach the boys to always play no matter the score, time, weather, month or lunar cycle it may happen to be. So, we were very familiar with the feeling 'To Have and Have Not' this weekend.
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