The 8u LVBA Lightning were back on the diamond this past weekend to finish off the 2019 spring season with the Summer Wood Bat Tournament. The Lightning started things off day one with a couple local opponents in the Vegas Forge and Team Adidas, going 1-1 on the day. LVBA would get things going quickly in game one against the Forge, batting through the order in the top of the first and scoring 10 runs. Rocco R (1-2) and Hudson C (1-3) tallied the only hits for the team with limited strikes thrown and great plate discipline through a total of 3 innings. Collecting 14 walks, 2 HBP by Derek K and 15 stolen bases as a team, the Lightning cruised to a 16-6 win. Noah S got the start for the 8u, tossing a strong two innings giving up 0 earned runs and collecting 4 strikeouts. Giovanni G would come in and add 4 more strikeouts to total 8 as a pitching staff in three innings.In game one of playoff Sunday the 8u Lightning would battle with the Forge again for a spot in the semifinals. LVBA would jump out to another early lead in this one, but this time by swinging the bat. Collecting 11 hits and 4 walks as a team, the Lightning handled game one of the day with a 13-9 victory. Rocco R (2-3), JaBron J (2-3), Dillin T (2-3), and Lucas O (3-3) all had multi-hit games with Lucas O collecting 2 doubles and 3 RBI. On the mound Chase L would get the ball, giving his team a great chance to advance. Chase L gave up 5 ER throwing 2 1/3 innings while striking out 3 and only allowing one hit. The Lightning turned to Noah S again to finish this one out, and he would do just that. Pitching the last 1 2/3 innings for LVBA, he gave up zero earned runs on 3 hits and collected another 2 strikeouts to help advance to the semifinal matchup against Team Adidas.
Game four of the tournament was the game of the weekend and the game of the year for the 8u Lightning, as they faced off against Team Adidas for a chance to compete for a ring. After getting down to an early 5-1 deficit in the first inning, LVBA did what they have been doing all year and fought back for a huge 12-9 semifinal victory. This victory took all eleven players, with each kid stepping up and contributing something when he was called upon. The offense put up 12 runs on 12 hits after only putting 4 runs across and collecting 5 hits as team in game two the day before. Hudson C (1-2), Giovanni G (1-2), Chase L (1-3), Noah S (1-3), JaBron J (1-3) and Rocco R (1-3) all collected a hit in this one with Noah S adding a double. Enzo Z and Maverick C both added a walk and run scored in the victory, with Derek K collecting 2 more HBP and 2 runs scored. Lucas O and Dillin T both went 3-3 in the game, combing for 6 hits, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. On the mound the 8u Lightning turned to their two best arms this season, with Dillin T (2.0, 3 ER) getting the start and JaBron J (3.0, 2 K, 1 ER) coming in relief to finish the game. Both guys threw tremendous, and the defense stepped up behind them when it mattered most the whole game to advance the 8u Lightning to their third championship game in their first season together as a team. LVBA would finish runners up losing to the Xpress 10 -2 but not before an impressive battle through 4 innings, competing in the box and on the mound from top to bottom in the lineup.
The 8u Lightning turned in yet another strong, very competitive weekend to come away with yet another piece of hardware to proudly display; making this the teams second top two finish while playing up in a 9u division and third overall. But more importantly, LVBA turned in an impressive season overall. From the cold start in November, winning our first 8u tournament and first tournament together as team, to finishing second and competing against the second best 9u team in the state with wood bats in our hands. We started as a young group of seven kids playing baseball, and we finished as eleven strong, competitive baseball players all working together to make themselves better on and off the field. The gains that this group of young people have made on the diamond is truly not explainable, but it is all due to their hard work and passion for the game and as their coach I could not be more proud to see their immense improvements between the lines. The strides forward that this group of young people have made in terms of confidence and personalities however, is what I am most proud of. They have turned into a funny and outgoing group that makes it easy to show up to the ball field every night and want to get better. This was an impressive season for the 8u Lightning, but if I know them, they're probably all out getting better right now for their upcoming 9u season.