The 8u LVBA Lightning were back on the diamond this past weekend to start off the 2019 season in the Domingo Ayala Semi Pro Tournament.
The Lightning started things off in game one with a local opponent in the CBA Navy; a strong 9u team that would be a true test for the LVBA 8u. The Lightning would tally 4 runs on 7 hits but would not be able to keep up in an eventual 16-4 loss. Maverick C and JaBron J both tallied hits, with Marco C, Rocco Ri and Lucas O-S notching RBI singles. Derek K and Vincent S would both add doubles to the box score, with Vinny S adding an RBI for himself. On the mound it would be a team effort to get through this one, with Lucas O-S getting the start and tallying the only strikeout of the game. The Lightning would look to bounce back in Game 2 against another strong 9u team.
In game 2 the 8u Lightning would battle early, but poor team defense and a consistent hitting force from the opposition would cause LVBA to lose the lead late to a good Team Adidas 9u. JaBron J and Rocco R both tallied hits, with Derek K, Dillin T, Enzo Z, and Lucas O-S all recording walks and scoring for the Lightning. LVBA would hand the ball over to the lefty in game 2. Looking for a strong start to keep the team in it early, Marco C would do just that; striking out five and walking one in a strong two innings. Ultimately the Lightning would fall 14-6 in four innings.
The 8u Lightning would look to bounce back after day 1, and another hard-hitting tough CBA 9u team stood in the way; this time with the CBA Outlaws. This was a hard-fought game, that would require all 11 players regardless of the stat sheet. Led by Giovanni G in the dugout on offense, LVBA battled their way through 5 tough innings being down 7-2 in the third to walking it off in the bottom of the fifth. At the plate JaBron J and Rocco R would keep their hitting streak alive, with Jones collecting two hits and an RBI. Dillin T got the start for the Lightning, throwing a solid 2 1/3 innings striking out two and keeping the offense in the game early on. Marco C would be called upon again for 2 and 2/3 innings, striking out four to add to his previous five from day 1. The game would come down to the bottom of the fifth with the Lightning down 1 and the teams newest member coming to the plate. Needing a good start to the inning Enzo Z led off the bottom of the fifth with a HBP, getting the tying run on base and eventually scoring on a pass ball. Derek K would eventually score on a pass ball to walk off the Outlaws and send LVBA to the semifinals.
For the second straight 9u tournament, the 8u Lightning would be competing in the semifinals of the silver bracket. This time their opponent would be in the form of a new 9u team, the Vegas Gamers. Once again, the Lightning would get behind early on, with a 7-1 hole after the first inning. But once again, LVBA would show no quit as they would storm back with a seven spot of their own in the top of the third inning to take the lead 9-8. LVBA threw everything at the Gamers but the kitchen sink in this one, with Chase L and Dillin T both tossing an inning and 1/3. Offensively the Lightning found many ways to score, and once again had contribution in ways not tracked on a stat sheet. With a constant pressure from the dugout, LVBA ran wild on the bases tallying 16 stolen bases. Derek K, Chase L, Marco C and JaBron J all added hits in the semifinal. Other players found ways to contribute at the plate, with Giovanni G, Maverick C and Rocco R getting on base with walks that eventually would come around to score. In the end it was LVBA on the wrong end of a walk off pass ball this time, with the Gamers advancing in a great playoff baseball game, 11-10.
LVBA would put up a 1-3 record on the weekend, but more importantly were 4-4 on impressing somebody. Each coach faced was impressed with the young LVBA 8u’s ability to hit and compete with four true 9u baseball teams. With more reps and more games played, this team will only continue to improve and move closer to another Championship Sunday.