The 13u LVBA Lightning came out to the Domingo Ayala tournament with a powerful presence. The Team started off by going 2-0 in pool play on Saturday and unfortunately losing a very close game in the Gold bracket on Sunday.
The Lightning opened up with a large Lake Havasu Scorpions team followed by a very well rounded and athletic California squad. In Game 1, LVBA lost the coin toss and ended up being the visiting team. This benefited the team as Devon G (3-4, 2 RBI, 3B) led of the game with a hard shot over the shortstops head for the first hit of the game. Keeping the momentum going on the offensive side were the 3 Musketeers (Devon G, Horacio B, Kaleb S) that hit in the 1,3,4 spots in the order. Those three could not seem to get out this weekend and if they did you could hear the outs, that's how hard the balls were hit. Not only were those three guys bats on fire but the TEAM had contributions throughout the lineup running an efficient offense with sacrifice bunts from Cooper and Vinny R, hit and runs from Tanner T and big team AB’s from both Sebastian L and Braden S. With the whole team contributing to this assault they ended up blowing out the Scorpions 14-0 run rule that helped reserve arms for later in bracket play.
Defensively they looked refreshed and crisp making all the routine plays. It helps when you are led by two strong arms Horacio B that struggled a little bit with his command in his first outing with LVBA, but he then settled down and gave us a solid 2.0 innings pitched with 3 strikeouts. Devon G absolutely took this game and ran with it contributing not only in the batter's box, but on the hill as well tossing and magnificent 3.0 innings giving up only 2 hits with a huge 4 strikeouts Combined Horacio B and Devon G only gave up 2 hits in the entire game that was cut short to a run rule in the 5th inning.
Another reason the hits were slim is because of the immaculate defensive performance that was put on display. Catcher Kaleb S who was a brick wall behind the dish blocking anything that touched the dirt. The outfield play had a pretty quiet game due to the lack of balls that were hit deep, but anything that was hit on the ground they were flying to backup a base or if it was hit in the air it was a no fly zone from 2:45-4:45 on Field 4 at Desert Breeze Park.
Game 1 was very nice to watch thus giving the team a ton of momentum going up against a strong, physical, and talented California team in Game 2.
Game 2 of the tournament was played against a very well coached California team, I-5 Baseball. In the first two innings it was neck and neck until the third inning when LVBA decided they wanted to try and put this thing away by scoring a whopping 7 runs in the top of the inning. In the bottom half I-5 came right back with the fight to stay alive scoring a total of 9 runs and tying the game at 10 all. From there is was LVBA’s will to win and fight til the end that put them up 4 in the top of the 4th eventually holding I-5 Baseball to their 1 and winning the second game of pool play to put them in the Championship bracket for Sunday.
Offensively, everyone did their part, again, by having quality at bats and fearless baserunning applying speed and pressure to the defense. The charge was led by Braden S (2-2, 2 R,2 2B, 5 RBI), Kaleb S (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) and Tanner T (1-2, 2 R, HR, 2RBI, BB), these guys seemed unstoppable. Looking at the team, the whole lineup did their part as well Cooper who reached base 3 times without having a hit. In games like this that is critical to winning games. Vinny R, Devon G Christian M, Horacio B all reached base twice on base on balls. What was very well executed was how LVBA did not let the situation at hand get bigger than the moment they were in. The whole lineup knew it was going to take every single one of them to do their part to drive them to Victory.
Defensively Cooper (2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR) was competing against a very well coached and disciplined lineup that had an opportunity to split a gap in the outfield on any swing. This kid showed heart and confidence on the mound that found a way to keep those hitters off balance enough to let his defense work just enough to hold off I-5 Baseball.
LVBA ran into a little bit of a speed bump in the bottom of the third inning when things just did not go Sebastian L and James O way on the mound. Combining 3 walks in a major situation but limited I-5 to only bring it to a tie 10-10. In the top of the 4 LVBA rallied 4 runs giving the team some insurance to work with. Braden S (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR) went back out in the bottom half of the 4 and dealt I-5 Baseball a nasty hand. He got a quick strike out followed by a couple hits and a run putting LVBA in a tight situation. Runners on second base, 2 outs, up 14-11, with the the tying runner on deck who was I-5 Baseball's best hitter that has a chance to knock one over the fence any time he steps in the box. Braden S threw a 2-seam fastball inside to the right-handed hitter and the batter puts a good swing on it hitting a hard power ground ball to the backhand of Shortstop Sebastian L who lays out catches it and throws a perfect longhop to the First baseman…. Ball game!!
LVBA held on and are going to the Championship bracket on Sunday morning to face a competitive Project X Clutch team. As Sunday approached the LVBA 13 U had a steam full of confidence at the plate as it carried over from the night before. The Bolts came out hot scoring the first 4 runs in 3 innings, led by Adrian H. and Devin G. The Bolt’s backed by a strong outing from Kaleb S going 4 quality innings, striking out 4 and prevent Project X to only 1 run. With a 3 run lead going into the bottom of the 5th the Bolt’s allowed Project X back in the game due to some bad walks and missed executed 0-2 pitches. The boys found themselves down 1 run going into the top of the 6th.
Going into the last inning the boys were up by one due to some great timely hitting by Vinny R. and Brayden S. Both scoring on a base hit from Horacio B. With a led going into the bottom of the 6th with 10 minutes to go. Brayden S. was on the hill and was cruising through the first two outs. An error extended the innings, followed by a walk put the Bolts in a bad situation with a short amount of time left. A flare was hit down the right field line where two runs would score easily,however, a missed executed double cut led to the hitter coming all the way around the score. Project X took the lead (8-6) late and never looked back. A 1,2,3 top of the 7th would be all she wrote for the LVBA Lightning.
Overall great turn out this weekend from these fine young men. It was just three bad innings all weekend, scored over 30 runs this weekend and had less than 4 errors. The progress in these boys are growing and the knowledge of the game is expanding. GO BOLTS!