It was a weekend of first for the 8u Lightning, as they opened up play this Saturday at the Veterans Day Challenge. The Lightning started the tournament against a local opponent, the Sin City Thunder. Led by a dominate performance on the mound from Chase L going 3 innings with 6 strikeouts, the Lightning held the Thunder to zero runs through 5 innings. A few scattered hits throughout the game from JaBron J, Lucas O-S, and Derek K helped give the Lightning a 3 run lead going into the top of the 6th inning. The thunder would rally late for 8 runs in the top of the 6th, and the lead would prove to be to much to overcome in the home half as LVBA would fall 8-5 in 6 innings.
In game two the 8u Lightning would need some late game magic of their own, as they faced their first out of state opponent, the San Diego Hustle. Looking to bounce back from a tough early loss, it would take a full team effort in game two to earn a 9-4 victory in a 4 inning game. With the offense struggling all game, the Lightning found themselves down 3-1 with time running out in the top half of the 4th. With a few walks and some timely hitting, the offense would explode for 8 runs in the top of the inning to take the lead; great at bats from Giovanni G, Rocco R, and Lucas O- S helped stretch the lead. The Lightning would not see their lead disappear this time, as Dillin T would shut the door on the mound and secure the win.
Game three for the 8u Lightning would be one that they will likely put far behind them. Very little hitting and a tough, tough game defensively would be the result of a hard loss to another good out of state opponent. The Beaumont Bruins out of California, would win game three 16-4. In a tough loss for a new and relatively young team, it would be how they responded after this game that would set up LVBA on the path to the hardware.
In control of their own destiny, LVBA needed a win to secure a trip to Mondays semifinals. The 8u Lightning would have to find a way to beat yet another scrappy California team, the Miners Gold. The Lightning turned to JaBron J on the mound, looking for a good performance to give the struggling offense a chance to get themselves going. The offense would do just that, recording 14 runs on 11 hits from everyone in the lineup. JaBron J pitched 3 perfect innings with 4 strikeouts, and combined with Maverick C for the teams first combined no hitter in a 14-1 win; securing a spot in Mondays playoffs and keeping their chances alive in their first tournament as a team.
Game five was a cold and windy 5 inning pitchers dual, that lived up to playoff baseball. The 8u Lightning would grab the 3 seed and were set to rematch with the Sin City Thunder as the 2 seed. Once again they turned to JaBron J on the mound, who delivered another hard pitched 3 innings giving LVBA a chance all game. The Thunder threw their best at the Lightning, as their pitcher went 4 strong innings allowing no runs. Down to their last at bats, the Lightning rallied in the top of the 5th with a huge triple from Vincent Sorrillo, followed by a base hit from Lucas O- S to tie the game. Both Rocco R and Gio G would add on big insurance runs with two big base hits later in the inning. Jake G took the mound in the bottom of the 5th, striking out the side with ease to close out the game and send the 8u Lightning on to play for their first championship.
Its Game six of the tournament, and everyone else has gone home but two; its the 8u LVBA Lightning v.s. the Beaumont Bruins 8u for the rings. The Lightning’s offense would come out swinging, starting the Championship game off hot with singles from the first four hitters, JaBron J, Vincent S, Lucas O- S, and Jake G, giving an early 2 run lead. Two big walks from Maverick C and Giovanni G later in the inning would help tack on a 3rd run in the top of the first inning, as that would prove to be all the Lightning’s pitching staff would need. The ball was in Jake G’s left hand, and he delivered another dominating performance; throwing 4 innings with 4 strikeouts, no walks and only allowing 2 hits. Vincent S would follow in relief throwing 2 innings, with 2 strikeouts and zero walks to close out the 5th and 6th inning in the 8u Lightning 4-2 Championship win over the Beaumont Bruins.
Overall a very successful first weekend for the new 8u Lightning. Marked by a strong weekend of team defense and stellar pitching, LVBA showed great fight and little emotion in a competitive Veterans Day Challenge tournament that showcased talent both locally and from California.