Congrats to the 9u Lightning team for winning their tournament over the Labor
Day Weekend. They endured the long weekend going 5-1, concluded the tournament with the longest game of their careers and ending up victorious in the championship. This was the first tournament back for the 9u Lightning team since their summer break and was an amazing way to start off their 9u season.
There was no time wasted in our 2018 season before were matched up against our local rivals, Vegas Express. Mason D started on the mound and had electric stuff. He cruised for 3 innings only giving up 1 run and striking out 2. Jake G was asked to come in and close out the last few innings, he did just that by competing until the very end. The Lightning jumped out to an early lead with great team defense minimizing the Express' scoring chances. Amazing defense all around the field helped produce a 6-1 lead into the 6th. The Lightning won 6-5 with a competitive last inning from the Express. Ridge O had a great game offensively going 2-2 and two runs scored. Marco C also scored 2 runs.
After a game break and great team bbq, the 9u Lightning were slated to play the 8u Sin City Thunder. Marco C started on the mound and made short work of his first inning going 3 up, 3 down. The Lightning bats took over from there putting up 16 runs in the next two innings. Mason D, Bryson D, and Vincent S each had two hits. Micah A had great swings that produced 2 RBI’s. Vincent S impressed with two great innings of relief giving up 0 runs and striking out 3.
Onto Sunday, the next opponent was the 9u Sin City Thunder. The Lightning didn’t waste any time and jumped out to an early lead, then continued to put pressure on the opposing team. Rocco G and Bryson D had two more hits. Jake G added some punch to the offense with two RBI’s in this game. Ridge O threw 3 innings giving up 1 run and Cash R shut the door closing out the final inning. The final score was 11-1 Lightning victorious.
The last game of pool play was Lightning vs Team Adidas, both teams entering this game 3-0. The winner would receive the 1 seed on championship day. Team Adidas made the first punch in the game and it was a big one. In the first inning, hitting everything in sight, they found ways to get hit after hit. A big 7 run inning was too much to come back from. After facing an early deficit, the Lightning pushed back late, but lost the game 13-7.
Happy Labor Day and the third day of this tournament. Lightning earned the two seed after pool play and matched up against the 3 seed Vegas Express. Wanting revenge and coming out motivated, the Express hit first and put up a big 3 spot in the top of the first. We countered with 2 runs in the bottom half. The Express punched right back and put up 5. Trailing 7-2 in a playoff game was a crucial moment for the players to continue to fight and keep playing hard. The Lightning put up 3 more runs in the second. At 7-5 the defense finally found its groove and Jake G found another level of command to his pitches. We put up a 0 and retaliated back with a huge burst of 4 more runs. The score of 9-7 was our first lead of the game. Of course, the Express wouldn’t go down easy. Loading the bases in the top of the 4th, with one of their strongest hitters up to bat, rips a line drive down the 3rd base line, and Noah H makes a fantastic leaping grab and steps on 3b to end their rally. The Lightning were not able to capitalize off the great defensive play and finish the Express in the bottom of the 4th. With a few minutes left on the game clock another inning was needed. The Express had great at bats and scratched 3 runs across. At this point, the Lightning was losing 10-9 into the last half inning of the game and needed something special. Immediately responding by starting the inning with a hit by Bryson, Rocco with a hit by pitch and Marco with a walk led the bases. Mason D hit a sac fly tying the game. Vincent had a hit by pitch and the bases were loaded in a tied game. Noah H who made the defensive play of the game was up to bat, he worked the count and earned a bases loaded walk, ending the 2 hour 15 min game 11-10. The offense was a full team effort as the Lightning walked 13 times and only had 2 strikeouts, along with 9 stolen bases in the game.
After playing 3 long games in the past 24 hours, the championship game was upon us. The Lightning was matched up against their only loss of the tournament Team Adidas. In the previous match Team Adidas pounced on the Lighting, the trend reversed in this contest. Entering the bottom of the third the score was 11-0 Lightning. The top of the lineup produced quality at bat after quality at bat finding ways on base. The first 5 hitters in the lineup (Ridge, Jake, Bryson, Rocco, & Mason) scored 14 of the 15 runs. Vincent S took full advantage of the mass number of base runners in front of him and produced 3 RBI’s. Team Adidas did fight back and make it competitive. The final score was a 15-9 victory for the 9u Lightning. With no time limit, the game lasted 2 hour and 45 min. Rocco G started on the mound and happened to be his birthday, he pitched well into the 3rd inning. Ridge O came into relief, then Marco C stepped up huge for his teammates with another relief appearance to close the game out.
A true test of team depth, endurance and mental toughness was needed to persevere this tournament. Everyone involved should be proud of the contributions of the entire team for the long weekend and starting the 2018-2019 season off in a great manner.