The 11u Lightning played in Arizona in a USSSA national tournament this weekend. It was their first test of true competition this year, as they played against four very strong teams. They went 1-3 on the weekend, but that record doesn’t properly show how well they played. On the weekend, they only had one true bad inning, which cost them game 1, but for the most part they played very good baseball.
On the first day, Eli A. started off the weekend with a strong performance on the mound. Alfonso C. came in after him and did a fine job, but sadly we had our defensive blow-up inning and didn’t give him the support he needed. After giving up a four-run lead, the boys fought back in their last inning hitting, but couldn’t complete the comeback. In the second game, Kyle J. went head-to-head for three strong innings against the best arm we’ve faced this year. Santiago W. had a stellar day behind the plate, catching most of our defensive innings. Keegan C. made his Lightning debut by making some nice defensive plays and taking two extra bases on overthrows. An 0-2 record was not the goal to start the weekend, putting the boys in a bit of a whole going into day 2.
The boys have worked very hard this year and have competed well in tournaments that led up to Arizona. Xzavian J. was not going to let the first day’s losses get in the way of continuing the team’s upward trend. He pitched a complete game against one of Scottsdale’s top teams and led the Lightning to their first win on the weekend. Jake M. and JJ S. had hot bats all weekend that led the offense in game 3. Michael B. is looking to sign the next big outfield contract. He made an incredible diving play in center and ran down everything routine hit to him.
The big win in game 3 put the boys in the gold bracket, a thought that seemed impossible after the first day’s games. Santiago W., Luke L., and Jake M. worked together one after another on the mound, giving us a chance to win. Brady S. made a nice catch late in the game to prevent a run from scoring. After a hard-fought game with multiple lead changes, the Lightning lost on a walk off single, ending their weekend early. This loss was tough for the boys because they played a very good day of baseball against two great teams. Being visitor in the elimination game hurt, but hopefully it taught them that every run-in pool play matters. Had they not given up a big inning in the first game, their run differential might have given them home advantage in bracket play and last ups in a close game. Overall, the weekend came with many good, competitive moments. As the boys continue to put themselves in winning situations, hopefully they can learn to take control of the game on their terms, rather than fight back after they have given it to the other team.