Belmont Bandits 9U baseball team
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Clash of Leagues on display Saturday
Jun. 4, 2017
The Bandits had a two game stretch to fulfill on Saturday, and did so in grand fashion. It was a long, hot and boring wait in between games but when the boys had their chance to strike a lick, they did it. First up was a newcomer to Top Gun ball from USSSA territory, the OTK Saints. We have not seen them in our tournaments this year until now, so were unfamiliar with their team. It was good to see new blood, and test ourselves against what another league has to offer. We had just seen a team (the RAMblers) that have a 90 plus win % in USSSA in our last tournament, so we were eager to see what this new bunch had to offer.
In game one versus OTK, the Bandits came out hot on offense, and defense. Landon King started the game on the hill for us, and pitched two solid innings with three strikeouts and no hits or runs given up. We have to always strategize about pitching, and it would be great to leave some of these guys in to pitch when you know they're "on"...but we have to make sure we are covered for Sunday play, so we let a few guys pitch on the day. Zeke Pruitt came on to close out the game offering up a one inning stand with no hits, no runs and three strikeouts notched on his billy stick. Those three innings ended up being all the Bandits needed on defense, because on offense we took care of business....just like sweet, sweet Elvis Presley's crew used to do.
On offense in this game we had a lot of big contributors. Since we had a quick three inning game, there weren't a lot of chances to do a bunch of damage, but in our 24 at bats in this game, we got on base 18 times. With a well-thought out gameplan of taking their time delivering pitches, our opponent drug the game out a little bit more than what we had liked. The downside to that was that we were sipping Gatorades on the bench while their guys baked in the sun. It was a tough, hot day to stand out in the field for too long. We had most everyone get on base so here are the extra base hits that were had in this game: Brody Crawford (2B), Zeke Pruitt (2B), Aydan Bradley (2B) and Landon King (2B). Everybody on the team scored at least one run, and we ran the bases very aggressively against the OTK Saints. We wound up cruising to a 15-0 victory over this group.
As day became night and the bats flew overhead, our bats were re-awakened in game 2 of the day after a couple innings had passed. We found ourselves in a dogfight with the Lake Norman Dingers. They always play us tough, and were definitely up for the fight in this game as well. The dust and haze from other fields drug also helped remind the Bandits that we needed to hit a little bit in order to win this game. We started out slow on offense, and finished strong just like we had done previously versus this opponent. We had some big days at the plate from the following guys: Carsten Green was 3-3 (two 1Bs, 2B), Brody Crawford was 3-4 (1B, 2B, 3B), Zeke Pruitt was 3-4 (three 2Bs), Landon King was 2-3 (two 2Bs), Christopher Wurster was 2-3 (1B, 2B), Blake Hartness was 2-3 (two 1Bs), Dalton Skipper was 2-3 (two 1Bs), Patrick Blee was 1-2 (2B) and Walker Spargo was 1-3 (2B). We got GREAT pitching from Blake Hartness in two innings to start this game. He went those two solid, with three strikeouts and excellent command of the strike zone. Patrick Blee came on to deliver two solid innings, as Zeke Pruitt did as well in his one inning of closing work. All and all- it was a pretty solid effort from our boys in this game, and on the day. We ended up with a 15-3 win over the Dingers, and this lead us to getting the #1 overall seed in the Gold Bracket for Sunday's action.
It's always good to get the #1 seed, and Saturday's play determines that. Sometimes the run differential may look bad, but we are going to aggressively go after getting big run margins if possible in order to put our boys in the best position for day two action. We don't play to lose on purpose, and don't rub anyone's noses in the dirt even if we have a good bit more runs than they happened to get. We remind our boys constantly that all the teams we play (including ourselves) sign up to play the best and test each other's abilities; it's our job to stop the other team, just like it's our job to try to not be stopped while on offense trying to score runs. I just hope we have enough in the tank to score some more on Sunday, after a long day and late Saturday night. More baseball awaits, and I look forward to seeing you all at the ballfield. Go Bandits!!
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