After a successful 9u season, the LVBA Lighting finished up their year in Park City, Utah for a week long tournament. Their first few days were filled with pin trading, skills competitions, and even a parade! They walked through downtown Park City for hours trading pins with teams raging from California to Oklahoma. Shortly after, they walked through Main Street sporting team t-shirts and a team specific banner to represent LVBA. The following day came a skills competition. Sawyer V placed 5th in the “Roadrunner” base running competition. Matthew M took home 3rd place in the “Golden arm” throwing accuracy competition. And Santiago W wrapped up the individual event’s with a 2nd place finish in the Homerun Derby. Congrats to those participants and the others who competed in the individual events! The skills competition wrapped up with a team event called around the horn. This event consisted of 9 players throwing the ball around to all positions in a timely manner. The Lightning won this team event despite the shaky fungo efforts of their head coach. This 1st place finish is a strong representation of their catch play in practice and in games.
Day one of games finally arrived, the Lightning showed up ready to play winning their first game 21-1. Ethan S started on the bump and threw well. It was a hit parade against a weaker Park City team. Mason D, Cameron G and Trevor H each drove a ball for a double. Game 2 was a tight contest against a small scrappy Texas team. Matt M threw a strong 4 innings and Malachi A came in to slam the door in the final 2 innings. Strong pitching and consistent defense got the Bolts their second W of the day winning 6-2. The top of the lineup kept the lineup hot with Ethan S, Sawyer V and Santiago W all adding two hits.
Day two was a tough pill to swallow. The Lighting gave up an 11 run second inning putting them behind the 8 ball early. The 9u Lightning prides itself on throwing strikes, making routine plays, and playing with shocking effort and energy. We failed to do any of these in the second inning. Never the less, the boys chipped away against the Salt Lake Rizors and back into a 10-12 game after Santiago W absolutely tattooed a 3-run homerun. The Bolts fell just short in the last inning losing 10-13. Matthew M and Trevor H contributed 2 base hit knocks. Brayden L is largely responsible for keeping the game from getting out of control when he came in for relief pitching duties. He did a fantastic job of battling on the mound. Game 4 was against what seemed to be the best team in the tournament, the Oklahoma Fuel. Santiago W came out and threw well enough. After a rough first inning, he settled down allowing only 6 runs in three innings giving the Lighting a chance to win a ball game. The top half of the lineup carried the offense but JD N and Mason D found ways on base and scored important runs. Malachi A came in to shut the door again but was let down by a poor performance on defense. The defense lacked aggressiveness and confidence giving up 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth to lose 10-11 on a walk off 2-run single. An error was made on the final play of the game but in that inning, the Lighting had several other chances to put the game away. Physical errors will happen, what will not be tolerated by the coaching staff are mental mistakes. The boys will need to develop a stronger sense of closing a game and stepping on someone’s throat to finish a game (Figure of speech) as they continue to develop. Aggressive mistakes are acceptable, there is no room in this game for passive play.
Day three only had one game against the eventual champions, the Lehi Bolts. Similar to game 3, LVBA lacked fundamentals in all areas making several errors and mental mistakes that let the game slip away to eventually lose 4-11. The 1-3 hitters scored all 4 of the teams runs. Trevor H drove in 3 of our 4 runs, atta boy T-bone. Brayden L got into a ball hitting a ground rule double late in the game. Our pitching was decent, we just left too many pitches up in the zone and the other team capitalized by driving balls to the gaps while also hitting 3 homeruns. Ouch.