Belmont Bandits 9U baseball team
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Jul. 26, 2017
For those of you who have been around here long enough, or grew up going – Carowinds used to have a roller coaster called White Lightning. White Lightning had a long line with a lot of anticipation, but was an extremely quick, exhilarating ride that was over before you realized it. Our season was kinda like that. We couldn’t wait for the season to begin, and once we got on the ride it was a roller coaster of emotion filled with extreme highs and unforgettable memories... but now we have to get back in line to ride again next year. We made it through a tough two games early Sunday, and got to the Gold Championship game…effectively the state championship, although more than one state’s best teams were represented. We came up short in this game, and sorta ran out of gas. We had a lot of unusual lazy swings that produced pop ups and weakly hit, easy to play ground outs. We weren’t hitting the pitcher’s pitch….we just weren’t hitting well or with any juice. It’s hard to blame the guys for that….they played 7 games in about 54 hours. Hell, I was tired… and I was just standing around.
We had some great pitching the first three innings from Zeke Pruitt. Patrick Blee, Brody Crawford and Walker Spargo came into pitch solidly as well….but we had a bad five minutes during one inning, and that ultimately cost us dearly. The bottom four in their lineup scored all four runs consecutively on some thrown away balls and mental mistakes primarily. We got to the point where some guys ran out of pitching, but in this type of tournament you pitch the guys to get to the next inning or game. We did pretty well staggering our pitching, but ran into a Mexican speedbump that helped to derail our already fragile attempts to compete in baseball this one last time in 2017.
Offensively, we had sporadic hitting. Brody Crawford was 1-3 (double), Bug Green was 1-3 (single, run), Aydan Bradley was 1-2 (single) and Dalton Skipper was 1-2 (single, run). Just like in the previous game, we had another at bat that stuck out to the coaches and fans in this game. This time it was Walker Spargo. In the second inning, he ran a count full and kept battling the pitcher by fouling off 7-8 more pitches. I guess the only guy in the park unimpressed with his tenacity and aggressive protection of the strike zone was the umpire, because after proving he would swing at anything CLOSE to a strike, the ump called him out looking on a strikeout on about the 13th or 14th pitch of the at bat. SMH. Communism.
The competition in this game was really good, but it sure wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before; the game boiled down to our guys not making the plays on defense we had to when it counted to get the win. We didn’t hit great either, but we did enough to win on offense. We had a bad defensive half inning, which really was a bad five minutes out of the whole game….but that’s all it took to see four runs up on the scoreboard. We finally scored a run in the fifth when Bug Green singled. We got Landon King to run for our catcher, and he moved around the bases deftly. He put on a fantastic delay steal that got him into position to score, and Aydan Bradley’s single got him in. At least we were on the board, but we came into the bottom of the fifth down 4-1 with no momentum. The next at bat was the sixth (and LAST) inning, if we couldn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat. Walker Spargo started us off right by getting on first by getting beaned. Dalton Skipper had a HUGE single that scored Spargo, and cut the lead to 4-2. Skipper got to second when Blake Hartness grounded out to the first baseman. Brody Crawford was now up, and knocked a nice double to the outfield and plated Skipper to make the score 4-3. So, now we had 1 out and a fast guy on second base ready to tie the game in the last inning. Pruitt came up and reached base on an infield pop up error to third base, so we couldn’t advance the runner from second. But, now we had the tying and WINNING run on first and second base, with only one out. Unfortunately Park Sharon made some good pitches and plays to get our last two guys out, and they won the game. We lost to Park Sharon 4-3.
Congrats to a great team. They made minimal mistakes, and we weren’t able to come up with the plays we needed to make when it counted to beat them again. They won last year’s 8u Summer Nationals as well I believe, so they are the two-time defending champs at this point. Those boys know what they are doing on the field.
On the long weekend, we lost three games by a total of four runs. We didn’t play great in any of those three losses, and as always the team that beats you has a lot to do with that. I would just have rather seen Park Sharon earlier in the tournament instead of in that 7th, and oh so pivotal game. The Roberson game took a lot of emotion, pitching and play out of us and it is hard enough to beat these type caliber teams on your best day. We played teams from all over the state without prejudice or fright - and as the curtain falls on our last weekend of baseball this year it is fun to think back just how far the boys have come as a team. All in all – we had a great season. Very proud of what the boys accomplished at their stopping point of play this season. From the Top Gun website - our year's final results:
|Baseball Team Page for Belmont Bandits (9U, D1)|
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