The 10u Lightning traveled to Peoria, AZ this past weekend to play some of the top 10AAA teams on the West Coast. They played very well in moments and disappeared in a few key spots. The boys went 3-1 in pool play and secured a 1 seed in their division. They ended up losing to a familiar foe in the quarterfinal game to send them back to Vegas totaling a 3-2 record.
Game 1 vs. SC Heat set the tone early for the weekend. This game contained adversity, offense, and a fighter’s mentality. LVBA’s game 1 pitcher, Justin C was struck by a line drive comebacker on his 3rd batter of the game. The injury ended up taking him out of the game leaving the Lightning in their first challenging spot. They gave up 3 runs in the first but punched back with a 4 spot of their own. Coach Willie told the team, “The first team to get a 0 on defense will win the game!” They continued to do this all game and found themselves in a 12-12 ball game in the bottom of the 4th after hanging up a 0 in the top half. Brayden L drew a walk and then proceeded to steal second and third base. With the infield in, Preston P challenged the defense with a comebacker to the mound and Brayden L did a phenomenal job holding his ground and then taking off to score the game winning run. The Lighting beat the eventual tournament champs 13-12 in walk off fashion. Cameron G, Lincoln M and Logan G all had 2 hits. Cameron G, Jayson M and Brayden L all had 2 big RBI’s.
Game 2 vs. the AZ Athletics also had its difficult moments and gave the boys plenty of opportunities to make plays in the face of adversity. Brayden L threw 2 very competitive innings giving up 2 runs, but due to a rising pitch count, a change was made. Again, LVBA’s offense put on a show putting up an 8 run inning to put them up 10-4 in the top of the 4th. Logan G put up 2 base knocks while Sawyer V, Trevor H and Jayson M did their job in the middle of the order and put up 2 RBI’s each. Up 10-4, LVBA blew a huge lead with a lack of defensive mental preparation, aggression, and effort. Several errors and misplayed balls allowed the Athletics to put up an 8 spot of their own. LVBA lost 10-12. The message relayed to the boys is that baseball is not a game of avoiding mistakes, but producing outs. Producing outs requires playmakers who are anticipating the ball and want to make outs. Players who look around looking for others to make plays will be passed bye by playmakers.
Day 2 however, was full of playmakers for LVBA. Several players responded well and played with a fighter’s mentality. LVBA took on Crush Baseball and won 12-4. Sawyer V pitched well in a pivotal game 3, throwing 4 complete innings giving up 1 earned run. Austin H collected two base hits while he and Brayden L and Cameron G all scored 2 runs to boost the offense.
Game 4 vs the Colorado Braves was a chance to obtain the 1 seed and finish strong in pool play. A rough start to game put the Bolts behind the 8-ball as they gave up a 4 spot in the first. Fortunately, the offense punched back with a 6 spot of their own and a 9 spot in the 3rd to win 15-5. Brayden L came in and threw very well in relief getting 7 big outs on 22 pitches. Lincoln M came in and shut the door on the bump. Logan G, Lincoln M and Justin C all had 2 hits. Justin C had 4 big RBI’s while Logan G added 3 of his own. Preston P scored 3 runs on all 3 of his walks. After catching 3 phenomenal games behind the dish, Trevor H recorded the final 3 outs of the game in RF of game 4. One of which was a great sliding grab down the RF line.
Game 5 vs the LV Kaos, was a fight. LVBA came out lacking a sense of urgency and competitiveness and they payed dearly for it in the first three innings. Justin C threw very well considering the amount of errors, misplayed balls and snowballs thrown around behind him. The Bolts defense played poorly and that hurt them in their 6-8 loss. Brayden L smoked three balls in his 2 hit game. Cameron G, Lincoln M, Preston P and Austin H all added big hits in their 4 run inning that made it a much tighter ball game near the end. Ultimately, the Bolts just didn’t have enough to make up for their early defensive woes.
The boys played a great weekend of baseball but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with the results. I expected 4-0 in pool play and a much more competitive-energetic game in an elimination game. Never the less, I am very proud of the boys overall play. There is still so much more room to grow and I look forward to getting back to practice and getting better! We will learn from our mistakes and make sure we return to AZ with a vengeance and some unfinished business.