To conclude the club season for the 8u Lightning they played in the Summer Wood Bat Finale over the previous weekend. Entering into the 9u division was a test to measure their development over the year.
On Saturday, Game 1 was against Primetime Baseball. Marco started on the mound and dealt in the first inning. He got into some struggles in the 2nd, but Mason came in and shut the door. In the bottom of the 2nd the Lightning offense exploded with 7 runs. They never looked back from there and went onto win 11-7. The pitching was outstanding from Marco, Mason and Ridge. Holding the opposing team to 1 earned run and 1 hit. Offensively the game plan was smart baserunning and excellent plate discipline. As a group there were 9 stolen bases and 11 walks that helped the offense succeed. Marquez led the team in hits and had 2 runs batted in. Micah had 2 stolen bases in the game and Jack caught well behind the plate.
Game 2 of the day was against the CBA Grinders. The Lightning jumped out early in the top of the first, with an RBI double by Jayson. Rocco pitched 4 magnificent innings with 0 earned runs. Cash had a perfect inning for his inning of relief. After a few innings of back and forth tussle, the score was Grinders leading 7-4 entering the last inning. In the top of the 6th the 8u Lightning rallied and plated 6 runners to take a 10-7 lead. There were clutch hits from the Ridge, Marco and Alex along with key walks drawn by numerous other players. Moving to the bottom of the inning with a 3 run lead wasn’t enough to hold, as key hits and untimely mistakes allowed the other team to put up 4. Final score of the games was 11-10 in a heart-breaking walk off loss.
Championship Sunday in the Summer Wood Bat Finale opened with the quarterfinal game against Primetime Baseball. Jake took the mound and was in control the entire game. He pitched 5 innings with 2 strikeouts and no earned runs. Cash came into relief and closed the game with a perfect inning. Between the two Lightning pitchers, they no hit the other team. Offensive highlights for the Lightning in game included: Jake with 2 RBI’s, Cash and Rocco each scoring multiple runs, and Vinnie got on base both at bats. Due to the dominant pitching the Lightning won 9-3 and cruised into the next game.
The semifinal matchup was against the Southern Nevada Bruins. Marco started and competed on the mound. A few defensive misplays allowed for extra opportunities for the opposing team, which led to big hits. Mason came into the game in the third inning to stop the damage. He got the team out of a big jam, with compliments to a nice sliding catch by Noah. Offensively it was a group effort with every hitter finding ways to contribute. All players in the lineup collected either a hit or a run for the team. Despite the challenges the Bruins offense created, stealing 14 bases, the Lightning players never gave up. The team scratched runs across in 4 of the 5 innings and showed tremendous plate discipline off stronger pitchers with 8 walks and only 2 strike outs. Overall the quality team at bats in this game were impressive with advancing runners and driving guys in. The first suicide squeeze for the team was executed by Cash to create a 6-4 lead in the top of the 3rd inning. Despite how impressive the at bats were looking, the defense was overwhelmed from the constant pressure and offensive power shown from the Bruins. The Lightning fell 10-7 to the Bruins in a well fought game.
This wraps up an extremely successful 2017-18 season for the 8u Lightning. Every local tournament they competed in for their respective age, they played in the championship game. When playing up in age, all games were competitive. Overall the team still has plenty to prove and develop, and we look forward to many more great things from this team in the future.