Belmont Bandits 11U baseball team
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The day that sleet found March baseball
Mar. 25, 2018
Under gloomy skies, intermittent winds and on and off freezing rain and sleet - we managed to get two baseball games in. We played in the 'American' division of the tournament. This is considered to be the highest level playing options for our age group, and we were hoping to get all games in this weekend.
First up was the Carolina Spinners, a team we are pretty familiar with these last couple of years. A very strong program with good leadership and players, we've met several times on the diamond and always seem to have good games between us. We opened the day bright, early and chilly with a 9am game with the Spinners, and the Bandits were able to stay warm by using their sticks to make fire from scratch. In the bottom of the first inning Belmont jumped on the Spinners early and notched a six run inning. That's always relieving to the coaching staff, but in travel ball you never know if that's the last six run inning you'll ever have. Since we compete every inning, and are judged not only on wins, but also run differential to determine how "well" you finish in these tournaments, it is important for us to push the gas pedal and get all we can get. After a couple of weeks of not hitting the ball real well, the Bandits fell into the groove and were able to find success at the plate as a team. Offensively, we had several guys with big days, and the first inning was the spark for this game, and eventually the second game as well. Blake Hartness was the big RBI man on this day as he smoked a shot down the third base line that rolled to the 250 plus foot fence and allowed him to motor in for a BIG inside the park Home Run. In this game Blake was 2-2 with the HR and also a single. Aydan Bradley, Landon King and Zeke Pruitt also chipped in 2-2 days, with each player putting a double and single beside their names. Patrick Blee had a triple in this game, and Brody Crawford had a double.
Our pitching in this game was very strong, with Pruitt toeing the mound under less than ideal conditions. Zeke pitched a very strong four innings, striking out four and only allowing four hits to a good hitting ball club. The defense and baserunning was top notch in this game for the most part, and the coaches were proud of the boys for going hard after some balls that were hit hard by the big-swinging Spinners. We won this game in controlled fashion, with a score of 11-1 in the four innings of pitching. It was a great team victory, and we were anxious to see if we could beat the rain.....or whatever else might come down out of those grey skies.
Game two was against the Heat Baseball outfit out of the Newton area of NC. We had to wait a game in between, and warded off the freezing rain just as this game was about to start at 12:30. This game was a fun one, and we did our best to speed up the game despite fighting against slow down attempts. We wanted to play baseball, get this game in and see what the weather actually looked like Sunday morning. We got this game in, and were able to win in a fourth inning affair. We won 10-0 here, and since we managed to win the coin flip at home plate, we chose to be "home" team and didn't get our fourth round of at bats on offense. It's always good to win, and win early...but you hate to lose the opportunity to get much needed at bats and play time in. So, playing less than four innings from the offensive side of things- we only scored ten runs but that was also in part due to a good and clever pitcher from the opposing team.
Offensively Carsten Green and Brody Crawford had big days with two hits in this game. Aydan Bradley hit a triple, and Mason Wells hammered a single that got by a defender and he ended up making his way all the way to third. We had some other big swings that were momentum changers; Zeke Pruitt hammered a single by the second baseman and Landon King hit a big fly double near the fence to keep a rally going. The play of the day was when Walker Spargo ("Einstein") was up to bat, and Patrick Blee was on third base. Walker did his part to perfection in executing a play we just put in on Thursday. Patrick Blee made his way around to third base, and was ready to do his part when called upon. Blee timed the steal perfectly, and broke just as the pitcher delivered to home, enabling him to slide in safetly and capture a steal of home. My heart has never been prouder.....it is everything I love about baseball, and what we like to pass on to these boys in Belmont.
Defensively we had a gem thrown by Blake Hartness. He pitched a no hitter in four defensive innings pitched and looked better in person than it does on paper. We had a belly button was too high strike zone, so he made his adjustments and made the other team start swinging the bat after two innings of watching it go by. We're very proud of Blake for adjusting to this age old offensive baseball scheme. We've seen it before, and it can work sometimes. Blake ended the game with nine strikeouts, and proved to be a force from the hill. We won the game 10-0 and figured we would see what the weather looked like early Sunday morning.
Unfortunately we got word pretty early Saturday night that Sunday's games were cancelled due to forecasted temperature and precipitation. It definitely rained some and stopped about 2am Sunday morning. 8am to 12pm looked pretty good temp-wise and with no rain coming down, it looks like that was an early call made. I hope no disinterested teams affected the tournament schedule by complaining about having to play in less than ideal weather conditions. When the sun came out around 12 on Sunday, it felt better on Sunday than it did on Saturday. Not being able to finish the tournament was a pretty disappointing outcome to a good day of baseball played; but, we finished 2-0 and scored 21 runs and gave up only 1 run. I suppose we won the stunted tournament, since we went 2-0 and had the best run differential? It would have been nice to see if we are good enough to have proven it on the field today. Overall, it was a pretty good job by our team in both games, and we look forward to seeing if we can get a full weekend in here soon..... and hopefully do it under moderate temperatures and sunny skies. We are 12-2 right now, only having lost to a couple of 11u teams thus far. You can't win them all in baseball though, but you can always try to get better. We will keep on keepin' on and work on some stuff this week during practice that we haven't worked on in a while.
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