After a month off of tournament baseball, the 9U Lightning team showed no rust by slugging themselves to a 24-4 victory over the Vegas Gamers. Scoring 11 runs in the top of 1st inning set a tone to the game and showed the excitement the players were ready to compete in tournament baseball again. All Lightning players reached base and found a way to score a run. Ridge O was plated 4 times and Marco C scored 3 times. Connor M, Bryson D, and Ryder W led the assault with 2 hits each.
Game 2 on Saturday was against the Utah Grays, UT. Connor M provided a solid start on the mound to allow the 9U Lightning to jump out to a 7-3 lead. The offense was led by Ridge O, Mason D, Jake G and Ty C by each collecting hits. As the game progressed on the opposing team started to challenge our defense and get runners on base. Huge contributions from Marco C to come in and get a bases loaded punch out to slam the door on a big threat from the Grays. Marco C finished with 1.1 innings pitched with 2 punch outs. Bryson D came into secure the lead and the Lightning finished with a 9-8 victory.
After a successful opening day of the tournament beginning 2-0 the 9U Lightning knew they would have a more competitive Sunday. First game of the day was against the 9U Team Adidas. Lightning jumped out early to a 3-0 lead, capitalizing on 4 BB's. Alex S started for the Lightning and had a quick first inning. Second inning ran into some trouble, with Jake G coming into relief and stopped the bleeding. After leading, the Adidas had captured the lead 7-3. Top of the 3rd was a bounce back inning for the Lightning as they tallied 7 runs on their own to retake the lead 10-7. In the top 4th, Lightning added 3 more and went onto win the game 13-9. Ryder W came up clutch with two big hits that had him lead the offense with 4 RBI's. Team Adidas held most of the offense in check, but the outstanding plate discipline and fantastic baserunning made the difference in the game. Between 11 BB's and scoring on 6 wild pitches that helped provide energy for the offense.
Game 4 was a game setup between Clutch Performance (UT) against the 9U Lightning. From the beginning the opposing pitcher was dominant. The only real offense created on the day was a missed sign - bunt home run and a dropped fly ball from the opposing team. Up against an arm that was in true command from the beginning. With how challenged our offense was to find hard contact, the 9U Lighting didn't miss the other teams’ barrels. Outhit 11-1, the Clutch Performance rolled to a 11-3 victory. Marco C baffled the opposing hitters for 2.1 innings with no earned runs and 3 strike outs.
Finishing pool play 3-1 the 9U Lightning found themselves in the Silver Bracket. Allowing too many runs prevented the team from competing in highest division on President's Day Monday. Semifinal game was against local competitors the Henderson Hustlers. The Hustlers were a scrappy, competitive team from our previous Fall League that always played the 9U Lighting tough. In the top of the first, after a leadoff strikeout, 12 of the next 13 batters found a way on base. Walks, hits, errors and a tight zone all worked against the 9U Lighting as the Blasters scored 11. Players knew they would get their opportunity and there was plenty of game left to perform. Bottom of the 1st, Lightning were able to get the bases loaded but could only score 1. Top of the second, Blasters added on 2 more runs. Trailing 13-1 the Lightning did something incredible at any age, THEY SCORED 12 RUNS IN THE INNING, to tie the game at 13 apiece. In the second the Lighting had 13 straight batters reach base. Every player on the team scored a run. Jake G and Mason D led the offense with 2 hits each. Ty C had a big hit driving in 2 runs. Alex S came into pitch after the disastrous 1st. He went onto pitch 3 innings with 3 strikeouts. The only runs he allowed were in the 2nd inning. He prevented the other team from scoring in the 3rd and the 4th inning. That setup a walk off win for the Lightning by Bryson D. scoring on a wild pitch. What a series of emotions for the players, parents and everyone involved. From allowing 11 in the first and retaliating with 12 in the second, going to extra innings and winning with a walk off was a fun game to experience. After the ups and downs of the semifinal it was time to reset the emotions and recharge for the Silver Championship against Clutch Performance with revenge on the minds of the 9U Lightning. Clutch jumped out early to a 3 run lead. In bottom 2nd, Rocco G hit a double and drove in Alex S for the first run for the Lighting. Then strong pitching started to surface as Jake G and the Clutch pitcher started to focus in. Both pitchers challenged hitters and found ways to produce weak contact. By far the best pitching duel of the tournament, the Lighting experienced, as it was 4-2 after 4 solid innings of play. A few hits for Clutch and Connor M came into relief. Connor M minimized the damage and the score was 6-2 entering the bottom 5th. Bryson D walked to start off the inning, Rocco G singled, and Jake G walked. With 1 out and trailing by 4, Marco C came up with the biggest hit of the weekend, a bases clearing triple to left center scoring 3 runs. Championship game down 6-5 into the last inning, the 9U Lightning were in great position. A walk, hit batter, then boom, a big double for the other team which gave back their lead. After a long, battled game Clutch Performance won 9-5. Vincent S had 5 put outs in the championship with some challenging outs recorded through fly balls.
Lighting team battled hard all weekend and will have great memories from the tournament. Unfortunately, didn't finish it out in the end, but scoring 12 runs in an inning and never giving up when down by 11 is a team worth fighting for. The 9u Lighting look forward to their next tournament competitions in March with a local tournament early in the month and traveling to Phoenix during Spring Training.
LVBA’s 10u club got off to a slow start to the Red White and Blue Premier Tournament. Quiet bats and shaky gloves put the Lightning in to a hole early. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. The boys came out with a tough-dog like mentality on Sunday and that resulted in the 4 seed giving them the final playoff spot of 9 teams. The goal of getting to Monday was achieved and LVBA fell just short in the semi-championship game.
Day 1: LVBA started off against a well-rounded LV Kaos team. The boy’s bats were quiet and were reduced to 12 strikeouts. An extremely difficult zone was presented by the umpire but the boys were unable to adjust with two strikes as he was consistently calling strike three down and away. Bad umpiring is a part of the game but the bigger picture is learning how to make adjustments when faced with adversity. Hopefully LVBA took something from this experience and grows from it. On top of 12 offensive strikeouts, we committed 4 errors defensively while only allowing three hits. Justin C (1 hit in 3 2/3 innings work) and Brayden L threw well given the circumstances. The Lighting fell to the Kaos 6-2 as Trevor H, Santiago W, and Brayden L mustered the only hits of the game.
Game 2 against LVR contained very similar storylines. 3 defensive errors and 5 free baserunners via walk or HBP didn’t help the game flow defensively. On offense, Cameron G hit the lone single while Brayden L and Lincoln M each hit a double. L McClure drove in LVBA’s only run. T Henson threw an impressive 2 innings (1 ER) on the bump and
Jason M also showed flashes of brilliance against an incredibly tough LVR lineup.
Day 2: After a 0-2 Saturday, the Lightning were sent home with a chip on their shoulder. In what was going to be an uphill climb on Sunday; LVBA gave the ball to Cameron G in hopes of turning things around. Cameron G turned in a masterful 6 inning 1-hit gem against the AZ Wolves. He filled the zone walking zero batters on 52 pitches (38 strikes) showing tough times don’t last, only tough people. The defense supported him with just about every player making an impact on defense. Preston P and Lincoln M each made impressive plays in the infield. 7 of 10 Lightning hitters got a base hit in the contest. Austin H roped a base hit up the middle to start the 2nd inning and Jason M followed him up with a 2 RBI double that led to a 4-run inning.
In a must win game 4, Sawyer V took the mound against the tough rival Golden Spike Pirates. Per usual, he stepped on the bump when it counted the most and delivered. He didn’t have his best stuff but he found a way to get it done grinding out any low moments. Brayden L and Justin C backed him up with diving plays in big spots. The offense chipped away all night and put plenty of pressure on the Pirates. Preston P had a major impact on the offense with 3 stolen bases, 2 runs scored and huge RBI single. Sawyer V also clutched up with an RBI double to help give himself some additional run support in the 5-3 victory. Lincoln M came in and closed the last two innings shutting down any chance of a Pirates comeback giving up zero runs and striking out 3.
It would have been very easy after a 0-2 start for the Lightning to just fold and call it a weekend. But the boys strung together and found a way to get to championship Monday. Up against the 1 seed LVR, LVBA needed to bring their A-game if they wanted to advance. Santiago W took the bump for the Lightning and threw very well. He mixed pitches and locations and kept LVR at bay giving up 3 runs in 2 innings of work. A missed call by the umpire extended an inning and raised Santiago W’s pitch count. Brayden L provided good relief and was then followed by Lincoln M. A few base running mistakes hurt LVBA’s offense. The Lighting hit a few good balls at people but LVR made plays when it counted. Entering the top of the fifth down 3-4, LVBA gave away 3 cheap runs due to errors and misplayed balls. Time expired and LVBA found themselves losing 3-7. It was a great fight but they didn’t bring their A game and came up short.
It was a fun weekend of baseball and the boys showed a lot of fight and grit.
LVBA 8u was back on the diamond this past President’s Day weekend, playing in the 8u division of the Red, White and Blue USSSA tournament. The Lightning got the weekend started against a familiar opponent in the local Sin City Thunder. A hot start at the plate and strong defense early helped secure an 8-7 win in game one. LVBA jumped out to an early lead with quick work from their top of the order; JaBron J (2-3) doubled to right field to start the game followed by a walk from Derek K, then Lucas O-S (3-3) would take it from there with a 3 RBI home run to left field on an 0-1 count for his first of the 8u season. LVBA would tac on two more in the top of the first and would hold the lead for the remainder of the game. The Lightning pitching staff combined for 7 strikeouts in 4 innings, with Chase L and Rocco R both putting up 3 Ks. Late in the game Lucas O-S led off the top of the fourth inning with his second triple of the day and third extra base hit to left field, followed by a single up the middle by Rocco R (1-1) giving the Lightning an 8-4 lead in a game that would finish in the bottom of the fourth at 8-7.
The magic number seemed to be eight on day one, as the 8u Lightning put up an 8-6 victory in five hard fought innings. Battling a tough California opponent in the Temecula Tornados, it would be the bottom of the order in game two that would come up big for the Lightning. Collecting 5 of the 8 hits and 5 of the 6 RBI; Maverick C (1 RBI), Dillin T (1RBI), Giovanni G, Chase L (1RBI) and Hudson C (2 RBI’s) all tallied one hit on the day. Derek K collected a hit and run scored and Rocco Ri saw the ball well in game two, going 2-2 with an RBI, 2 runs scored and a walk, reaching base all three times for LVBA. On the mound the Lightning would turn to Dillin T, going a solid 3 innings striking out 3 and only giving up 2 ER. Maverick C got the call from the bullpen, giving LVBA just what they needed. Making quick work of the Tornadoes, Maverick faced 5 batters striking out 1 and giving up no runs. JaBron J would come in next and shut the door, getting the save and collecting a strikeout in the process to help secure a 2-0 day 1 for the Lightning.
There was not much going for LVBA at the plate in day two. After a strong start to the tournament in day one and already securing a playoff spot for day three, LVBA went to work. It was a full day of learning and experience, as guys got opportunities all over the field. Everybody in the lineup made the most of their opportunity and impressed a coach at some point in day two with their defensive play in a new position. In game three the 8u Lightning found themselves on the wrong end of a lopsided defeat Sunday. A few standouts from the 15-2 defeat to the LA Xtreme; JaBron J (2-2) and Rocco R (1-2) with a triple to collect the only 3 hits for LVBA.Game four LVBA ran into a heat wave, losing to a very talented California Heat team 19-6. An impressive game defensively for the Lightning as they recorded 0 errors on 15 outs in a three-inning game. The Heat put up 23 hits Sunday night, proving too much to overcome. JaBron J (1-1) and Rocco R (1-2) would stay hot at the plate for the Lightning, both tallying 2 RBIs. Lucas O-S (1-2) and Giovanni G (1-2) both added hits to their weekend with Chase L (1-2) adding a double and Enzo Z going 0-0 in two plate appearances with 2 walks and 1 RBI.
The 8u Lightning earned themselves the 3 seed in the gold division Monday, with strong bats and timely pitching and defense. But they would need all three to be working for them in the semifinals as they played the team, they fell to the previous day 15-2, the LA Xtreme. LVBA eventually would come up just short in a hard fought 5-3 loss but would turn in one of their best all-around performances as a team to date. Once again, the Lightning got off to an early lead, with a big two out single in the top of the first from Lucas O-S (1-3) followed by a clutch single from none other than Rocco R (2-2). Chase L got the nod on the mound for the semifinal, looking to keep the Xtreme off the scoreboard as much as they were in game one. Chase L would do just that. With the help from his defense and a big throw early from Enzo Z from left field, Chase L battled through a hard-hitting California offense throwing 3 solid innings, giving up 4 ER on 5 hits and striking out 3. Dillin T pitched a huge bottom of the fourth, getting 3 quick outs with time starting to expire to give LVBA one more chance at the plate. Unfortunately, a 4-run inning in the bottom of the 3rd for the Xtreme proved to be too much to overcome for the 8u Lightning, falling in five. Other notables at the plate, JaBaron J (1-2) with an RBI, Chase L (1-2), and Hudson C (2-2) with an RBI and a huge leadoff single in the top of the fifth to keep LVBA alive late.
Overall a very competitive weekend as our first true chance to play as a team. As appreciative as we have been to have players come down to help for tournaments in the past, it was nice to play as a team with 10 strong. The 8u Lightning get right back to work this week with practices and will be right back on the diamond next weekend in the March Mayhem Tournament March 2nd- 3rd playing in the 9u division.