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Belmont Bandits 11U baseball team

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Shipyard weekend recap

Apr. 15, 2019

Travelball 247 touted the field as this:

11u

It was a loaded 11u field at Shipyard this past weekend. North Carolina #7 Belmont Bandits went 1-1 in pool play, scoring a 3-2 win over the Ditch Chickens (GA) before falling 7-6 against South Carolina #1 Charleston Revolution - Whittle. This left the Bandits with the #4 seed for Sunday. Five Star DeMarini (FL), who is currently ranked 30th nationally in USSSA 11u Majors National Power Rankings, received the #2 seed for bracket play with a 12-3 win over Mission Vipers Gold and a 9-6 win over the Ditch Chickens.

In the #4/5 play-in game in the Gold bracket on Sunday, Mission Vipers Black notched an 8-5 win over the Belmont Bandits. In the semifinals, Five Star DeMarini scored a 7-4 win over the Charleston Revolution and the Georgia Bandits blanked Mission Vipers Black 5-0. In the finals, Five Star DeMarini finished off an impressive 4-0 weekend with a 9-3 win over the Georgia Bandits.

 

That was it in a nutshell for our time in Charleston. There were a whole lot of very good teams that can play with, and beat anybody 11u, in the country. We were proud to trot our little dog and pony show out there and be able to compete against these Goliaths. In true baseball fashion, we scored our only win in our least well-played game. The two other games played were against #1 in SC Charleston Revolution and the Mission Vipers Gold/Black outfit. At least two of the Viper names were the same this weekend as the last time we played them a week ago.  I'm not sure which team we played; it may have been the Canadian national team - all I know is their players are good...that's for sure. So, every team we saw down there was top notch on the field, and well coached.

We won the first one at 8am on Saturday, as both teams slept walked through the game. We woke up and had to face a beast in the Revolution at 12pm and led the entire game until the last inning. They got some momentum and went ahead by one run. We were the home team, but weren't able to cash in with runners ready to score in that last frame. It's usually never bitter when a great team beats you when you've played well, but that one really feels like it slipped through our fingers. That loss left the Bandits 1-1 on the day, and the overall #4 seed.

Ultimately it's my fault, because I like to try to keep everyone at home as long as possible so our people aren't worn out too much for the games - so our 11:15 arrival request time proved to be a little too late for the baseball gods. The game before us was a blowout, and combined with starting our game an entire hour early AND there being an hour and a half time limit...we got pinched a little bit in this game. All of our people weren't there yet, so I took the visitor role and that ended up coming back to bite us. Long story short - we competed well in this game, and lost the lead in the last inning. We were getting close on time, and could not make a pitching change due to the precious time ticking away as the opponent made an offensive run. Credit to the Viper hitters - they strung together 3-4 straight hits to keep the clock ticking. We were made to start the 12pm game at 11am, and even though our watches showed something different, the only watch that mattered was the ump's mechanical corsage as he called "GAME"  about two seconds after we got the last out in the bottom of the fifth inning. We saw that we had 2-3 minutes before the hour and half time limit was up, but it didn't matter. Despite a couple of dandies helping push us out of the game early, a really good team beat us... and I'm proud of how we played. We executed a couple of plays this weekend that I don't see on any other travel ball (and most HS) fields, so our boys are getting a true baseball learning experience as I believe it should be. We practice things that others don't;  so some little nuances of baseball from long ago will hopefully continue to exist in our corner of the world going forward.

The approach for this team isn't the modern, robotic approach that sees every kid as a future major leaguer;  it is a tougher approach. Knowing your role on the team is demanded, and understanding it may change in an instant is part of what we do. We had a guy pitch this weekend (Green) that has about 20 total innings pitched in his life. Every other kid who pitched at that ballfield this weekend has probably about 200 innings pitched by this point in their "career". So, we had a rookie pitcher lead us defensively the last couple of tournaments. Things change. He wasn't a pitcher one day, but he has become one now. He never complained about not pitching;  he just seized the role when he got a chance to prove that he could do it consistently. We ended up 1-2 against great competition and some unlucky breaks. Life goes on, and we will try to build positively on our little successes and failures that we experience in competition baseball.

 

 

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