In most situations for 13u baseball, a nine-inning victory that took three hours to complete is more than enough labor to earn the rest of the day off.
However, at the TCSB Invite-Only event in Omaha on Sunday, securing the win was going to require quite a bit more time away from anyone's recliner and TV remote.
The 3n2 Warriors (CO), who have played and excelled in title-winning moments for many years in multiple time zones, recharged and won twice on the day, earning the 13u championship over Total Baseball Vipers (CA) with a determined 10-5 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-3 series. That Game 1 extra-innings marathon, which ended with the Warriors winning 9-8, certainly gave the Warriors a mental edge -- but even then, it took a bit to get focused on the task in Game 2.
The Vipers jumped ahead 1-0, with an infield error allowing the run to cross. In the bottom of the second, Lathan Van Ausdall led off for 3n2 and had a near 10-pitch at-bat, calmly looking for his chance before lashing a double. Having enjoyed a good long look at the Vipers pitcher, Brayden Duman then jumped on the first offering and launched a two-run homer to right field, pushing the Warriors ahead and taking off a bit of pressure.
J.T. Shank and Chase Jaworsky each drove in a run in the inning, and the Warriors stayed in control the rest of the way.
"All I was trying to do was build momentum for us. I was hoping to get a run across, get the energy up," said Van Ausdall, who had three hits and scored twice in Game 2, after scoring the winning run in Game 1 on a hit from J.J. Gines. "We were a little wobbly in the beginning (of Game 2), but once our game started to come around, things began to go our way. It was a fun tournament, awesome for us, getting to play good teams."
"It felt good there with the home run, something to help the team and get our focus back after that long game, where we went back and forth, back and forth," said Duman, who drove in three runs and pitched the last two innings in relief and got in a little hot water before getting the final out on a pop fly to shortstop Jaworsky. "We started off a little slow in the tournament, and we used that as motivation and took that into bracket play.
"I just thought to myself, I was just one pitch away, just one pitch (in the seventh)."
In the fourth inning, the Warriors pushed their lead from 6-2 to 10-2, with the highlight moment arguably coming when Julian Terrazas scored from second on an infield single.
The Vipers got a little closer on a two-run homer from David Lozano in the fifth. But four quality innings from starter Brex Caldwell went a long way to boosting 3n2's chances.
"We talked about jumping on them early and trying to get a lead. Lathan put together such a professional at-bat ... Brayden knew to look middle-in, and if he throws it, hit it off the light pole. After that, this whole dugout took a deep breath, and we went back to just playing baseball," said Warriors coach Ryan Duman. "We knew whoever won Game 1 would have a huge advantage, and that's what this team does. We fight. We felt comfortable with the lead.
"Brex is new with us this year, and he draws big games. Pitches on Sundays, a little on Saturdays ... he told us he had five good innings for us. He got extended a bit so we had to keep it at four, and we had pitching ready if we had to go to Game 3.