The Lightning 10u played in the Summer Wood Bat Finale this past weekend. Being a wood bat tournament, the boys’ hitting ability was put to the test, as they got a taste of what a professional
hitting experience might be like. Not only did their bats pass the test, but also their defense and pitching, as they went 4-0 and win their first tournament of 2018. In what was a total team effort, the boys played some of their best baseball of the year. Game 1 started with Jake M. setting the tone for the tournament, throwing three strong innings on the mound. Eli A. (aka “Chuck Knoblauch”) admittedly had a rough week at practice, and his first two at bats appeared to continue on this trend. However, he crushed a ball in his third at bat, and exclaimed, “Chuck is back!” Indeed, Chuck was back for the rest of the tournament. There were also two Lightning 9u players helping us this weekend, and they made their presence known immediately. Santiago W. had two big hits, and closed the game on the mound, following Jake’s lead.
In Game 2, the pitching was not as strong, but the boys’ bats were red hot. They totalled for 17 hits and 18 runs, in a decisive victory. Xzavian J. led the way at the plate, with three hits, and four hard hit balls. In the past, this 10u team might have tried to give away some runs on defense with a big lead. However, Brady S., the newest member of the team, did not let that happen in the last inning. On a ball that should have been a hit, leaving two runners on, Brady threw the runner out at second and stopped the offense’s momentum. The boys finished Saturday 2-0.
On Sunday, it was win or go home, which might add some pressure to a player usually. Not Luke L. though, who threw 5 ⅔ innings, gave up zero earned runs, and ultimately gave his team the
performance they needed to win. Justin C. led off the bottom of the 5th inning with an explosive triple. Now, our other 9u guest, Ethan S., had his time to shine. He scored Justin with a push bunt
and gave the Lightning a crucial insurance run. This run kept the game tied when Alfonso C. relieved Luke on the mound. As usual, Alfonso shut the door, and gave the Lightning a chance for walk-off win. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Lightning relied on Justin and Ethan again to finish the game. Justin led off the inning with a walk, and used his speed to make it to third base with zero outs. With the infield in, Ethan hit a perfectly placed ground ball to score Justin and send the boys to the championship game.
After a 7 inning game, on a hot summer day, most 10 year olds might show some signs of fatigue. Kyle J. is not most ten year olds, though. He threw a 6 inning complete game, in one of his most dominant performances to date. Solid defensive plays from Ethan and Eli on the left side of the infield made the game feel like a breeze. The bats warmed up in the fourth inning, when the boys scored 5 runs. JJ S. scorched a ball passed the first baseman to score a run that eventually would keep the lead for the Lightning in the last inning. With two runners on in a 6-4 game, Michael B. continued his stellar outfield play, and ran down a ball that would have tied the game had it dropped. His catch capped off a weekend of solid defense, and gave the boys their first gold championship win of the year. The win coincidentally fell on Brady’s 11th birthday.
Moving forward, maybe we will schedule tournaments that fall on player’s birthdays. Or maybe, the boys will reflect on this weekend and understand their ability to play quality baseball. Hopefully, this win will give the Lightning 10u momentum as they begin to prepare for a national tournament in San Diego in July.