After losing in the opening game of bracket play to the No. 8-seeded Colorado Yard Dawgs, it would have been easy for the No. 2-seeded 3n2 Warriors to pack it in and feel sorry for themselves. Instead, they used the tough loss as motivation to win four straight games in the loser’s side of the bracket and advance to the 12U Omaha SlumpBuster TCSB D1 championship series.
The fight back through the bracket included wins over Oklahoma Elite (9-6), a redemption victory over the Yard Dawgs (10-2), a 10-0 run rule over the Omaha Pacesetters and concluded with an impressive 11-6 win over a strong 3D Gold squad who entered bracket play as the No. 1 seed.
“To be honest, it was brutal meeting for our players after the loss to the Yard Dawgs. We thought we beat ourselves in that game, and I told them you can’t do that in a tournament like this,” said Warriors head coach Ryan Duman. “I told the team that our job now is to play one inning at a time, and we will find ourselves on Sunday in the championship. That was the message we stuck with and here we are.”
With the 3D Gold still reeling from a tough loss to the Dallas Tigers earlier in the day, the 3n2 Warriors came out strong, scoring two quick runs in the first inning. Pitcher Julian Terrazas, who finished the day with 10 strikeouts and was 3-for-3 from the plate, blasted a double to ignite the Warrior offense. Issac Wachsmann followed it up with a single and Brayden Duman knocked in Terrazas with an RBI single, one of his four RBI for the game. Another RBI single by Noah Scott scored Duman, giving the Warriors an early 2-0 lead.
“I told myself before going to the plate to calm down, see the baseball, hit the baseball and do your job,” said Duman, a 7th grader from Highlands Ranch, CO. “Heading into tomorrow’s game, we need to make sure to keep our energy levels high the entire game. Stay in the game the whole time.”
In the second inning, 3D Gold’s Max Burt blasted a shot over the right-center fence recording a home run and cutting into the Warrior lead, now 2-1. 3n2 would tack on two more runs in the top of three with Terrazas and Dante Nori both scoring. 3D Gold would stay in the game with two runs in the bottom of three and another in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4.
A two-run fifth inning and explosive sixth inning where the Warriors tallied five runs would give 3n2 a lead they would not give up. Terrazas did solid work from the mound, striking out 10 batters, giving up five hits, one walk and four runs in five innings pitched.
“At the start of the game I decided I wanted to try and just blow it past the hitters up and in, but when Max (Burt) went yard, I decided to start throwing outside and that work out well,” said Terrazas.
The 3n2 Warriors will face the Dallas Tigers, who knocked out 3D Gold in the semifinals of the winner’s bracket. The Warriors and Tigers met in pool play, with 3n2 winning, 6-3.
The championship is a best-of-three series with the first game slated for Sunday at 9 a.m. CT on field No. 4 at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex. The 3D Gold finish the 2017 Omaha SlumpBuster with a 5-2 record and earned the No. 1 seed out of pool play after an impressive 3-0 start while outscoring their opponents, 48-6, in those games.