The LVBA Lightning 11u club wrapped up their year by playing in the Winter Blast Tournament last weekend. They looked to finish the year on a strong note before heading into their Christmas break. Unfortunately, the boys suffered a familiar fate in this tournament, going 0-3. Like many games this year, the boys beat themselves by making too many defensive mistakes and by walking too many hitters.
The third game was much more competitive, but their bats could not get going against a dominant opposing pitcher. This has been the tale of the tape for these boys this year. There were very few games in which they were actually defeated by a better team. Most of their losses came from them beating themselves, by simply not taking care of the baseball on defense and on the pitchers mound.
As we move forward into 2019, we will continue to improve mentally and physically, but more importantly focus on creating a competitive nature that allows them to compete against any team they compete against.
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.
This past weekend, the 10u LVBA Lightning won the 2018 11u Winter Blast Tournament to cap off the first half of their 10u season. Strong defense, aggressive swings, and a scratch and claw team mentality got the job done. In a roster pinch for the weekend, several younger players stepped up and played key roles. Mason D and Ridge O stepped up as 9u players in an 11u tournament and faced a few kids who looked like they could eat them for breakfast. But they made their presence known throughout the weekend and played big complimentary roles when needed. The rest of the 10u roster also dug deep and found multiple ways to pick each other up throughout the weekend.
Game 1 versus the Vegas Forge got the Bolts off to a great start. In their 16-1 route, Cash C 2 hits and Jayson M 2 doubles led the charge along with their 3 RBI’s a piece. Preston P had a 3 hit game… and by that I mean he got hit by the ball 3 times. He wore 3 balls for the squad and found a way to get on base. Cash C and Trevor H also did an awesome on the bump throwing 2 innings each. They filled up the zone and were rewarded with a strong defense behind them.
Game 2 vs the Del Mar Powerhouse was one for the books. They went up against a plus 11u arm with multiple pitches and found a way to come out on top 3-1. Limited to just 4 hits offensively, they scratched and clawed to create opportunities. Brayden L was great for 4 innings while only giving up 1 run on 2 hits. His best play of the night on the mound though was wearing a comebacker off his shin. After being struck, he fought through the play to get the out for his teammates before focusing on himself. That kind of selfless play and team first mentality is priceless. Jayson M followed Brayden’s lead and shut the door throwing a scoreless final 2 innings. Big defensive plays were made by EVERY player in this game. It was a total team effort in a beautifully played ball game. Ridge O put on a base running clinic stealing bags, reading dirtballs, while scoring 2 runs. One off a big hit by Cameron G to CF in which he scored from second after forcing a throw and reading the overthrow perfectly.
Game 3 vs the Spring Valley Stealth was a blast as well. Sawyer V was huge on the hill as he gave everything he had in an attempt to throw 5 innings in a semi-final game. Down 5-1 at one point, the Stealth fought back and took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 6th. In the bottom of the 6th, Mason D battled off three competitive pitches in a 3-2 count. After fouling off multiple pitcher’s pitches, he got a hitter’s pitch and turned on it knocking a single through the six-hole to get his second hit of the game. Ethan S led the offense going 4-4 and scoring 3 runs. With the game winning run on third, Trevor H crushed a ball to deep center for a walk-off single to send the Bolts to the championship.
A championship Game 4 vs the Redlands Crush was a quick, dominating win against another solid 11u arm. Adjustments were made in the box to a good fastball away and the bats put up a 9-1 victory. Ethan S went 3-3 with two masterful drag bunts. Cash C filled the zone with only one walk in a complete game effort where he only threw 44 pitches in 4 innings.
After a strong a week of practice, an emphasis was set on finishing it with a stronger weekend performance. The boys did just that and defended their Winter Blast championship title. This is a very special group and they put it all on display this weekend.
I am very proud of every one of them.