Coming off early success in the team’s first tournament, the 8u Lightning took the field this past weekend in the 2018 USSSA Winter Blast Tournament. This time LVBA would have a big challenge ahead of them, playing up in the 9u division. It’s important to note, this team was made up of five 7u players and five 8u players for the weekend. With two weeks to prepare and a 2-year difference between competition, expectations were low, but talent remained high.The Lightning bats came out hot in Game 1 against the 9u Road Dawgs, as they tallied 12 runs on 11 hits, in a 12-6 victory over their first 9u opponent. In a high scoring game, LVBA would get contribution from all over the lineup in game 1. Hits were recorded by 8 of the 10 players; Lucas O-S (3-3) and Rocco R (2-3) both had multi-hit games to help lead the way offensively. JaBron J (1-3) hit his first home run of the season in the 4th inning to help give the Lightning some insurance runs as they handed the ball over to Dillin T to shut the door. Dillin T would toss two strong innings, striking out 5 Road Dawgs and only allowing 1 run in his appearance on the mound. LVBA ran wild on the bases in their first game with the new rules, tallying 13 stolen bases on the day. Ty C led the way behind the plate defensively, as he put on a free blocking clinic for 6 innings. A full team effort in game 1 secured a big 1st win and helped extend the Lightning’s win streak to 4 games.
If you could win a game for out hitting a team LVBA would be 2-0 on day 1, but 3 big innings on defense were too much to overcome in the 19-11 defeat. Game 2 would be a tough test for LVBA, as they faced a good 9u team out of California in the Redland Crush. This time the Lightning would end up on the wrong side of a high scoring event that would see a total of 30 runs and 21 hits. With Derek K (3-3) leading the way at the plate, four LVBA players had multi-hit games including Ty C (2-3), Lucas O-S (2-3), and JaBron J (2-3). Chase L (1-3) and Gio G (1-2) both turned in strong days at the plate, combining for 4 RBI and a lot of barrels on the day.
Book ended between two 11 run innings, Game 3 would see the 8u Lightning on the wrong end of another high scoring youth baseball game, 16-14. The Sunday semifinal got off to a tough start, with the 9u Sin City Thunder exploding for 11 runs in the top of the first inning. While most 7 and 8-year old’s would have thrown in the towel and turned to picking daisies in the outfield, the 8u Lightning kept at work. Looking for a way to stop the bleeding, LVBA turned to JaBron J in the 2nd inning on the mound. JaBron J threw 2 1/3 innings with 3 Ks to help minimize the damage. At the plate, the Lightning ran into a hard throwing 9-year-old through 2 innings and struggled through the first 3. However, the 8u Lightning would show some true fight in the bottom of the 4th. Down to their last 3 outs and down 16-3, LVBA rallied for 11 runs and managed to get the tying run to the plate with two outs. Once again, the early deficit would prove to be too much. Falling 16-14 in 4 innings. LVBA lit up the stat sheet again on the bases, recording 12 stolen bases against the Thunder. Maverick C (1-2) would lead the way with 2 stolen bases.
All in all, a very solid performance in a challenging situation for a young team. At LVBA we preach go out there and impress somebody; well this weekend the 8u Lightning did just that. The no quit mindset and fight that this team plays with combined with the talent from youngest to oldest, makes this a very good team going into the 2019 season.