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.
Tigers win close one, blowout to advance in bracket
The Dallas Tigers-Leonard squad made it happen two ways Friday at the invite-only TCSB Division I Championships at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
First up was a tense 3-2 victory against the Oklahoma Elite OKC, which led to a 10-0 run-rule win versus the Colorado Yard Dawgs that puts the Tigers into Saturday’s game against the top-seeded 3D Gold from Arizona. The winner will earn a spot in the best-of-3 championship round.
The Tigers got started quickly against the Yard Dawgs, with starting pitcher Noah Bentley striking out two in the top half of the first inning. He would draw a base on balls in the bottom half as the Tigers put five runs up.
The Yard Dawgs would not be able to find the sweet spot, as Bentley held them to just two hits in three innings pitched, accruing 6 strikeouts. Garrett Schroeder picked up two RBI while going 3-3 at the plate for the Tigers, who put the game away in the fourth inning with an RBI single from Bryson Bohannon.
The Yard Dawgs will get a rematch against the 3n2 Warriors on Saturday morning, after beating the No. 2-seeded Warriors in the first round of bracket play Friday.
Warriors ride big inning for comeback victory
In a wild back-and-forth matchup, the 3n2 Warriors (CO) prevailed out of the loser’s bracket, 9-6, over Oklahoma Elite.
The Warriors would take the lead in the top half of the first. After two walks and then a double by Dante Nori, 3n2 claimed a 2-0 lead. Oklahoma would strike back in the second, with back-to-back doubles sparking a four-run inning.
More of the same came in the third as Oklahoma chases Warriors starting pitcher Noah Scott, bringing in two more runs and extending the lead to 6-2. Julian Terrazas was given the nod to pitch and got the final out of the third.
The Warrior bats would awaken in the fourth inning as they collected seven runs on seven hits. Taking the lead, 9-6, the team leaned on Terrazas the rest of the way — he would be up to the challenge, giving up just one hit in 3 1/3 innings and striking out two.
“I was just trying to keep the ball outside while pitching, and not allowing them to hit it hard. I was able to produce a lot of ground balls,” Terrazas said.
The Warriors will get ready for a rematch against the Colorado Yard Dogs at 8am Saturday morning. The Oklahoma Elite will settle for a matchup to determine seventh place against Millard United Elite at noon.
The first inning nearly became the final straw for the Indiana Bulls on Friday.
After coughing up four runs with two outs against the KC Clutch in the 11u invite-only TCSB Division I Championships, the Bulls were one out away from being shut down in their half of the inning at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex. But JT Stiner knocked in two runs with a single, the team followed up with three more runs, and the Bulls held on for a tight 6-5 victory to advance in the winner’s bracket.
The Bulls, who were the No. 1 seed after pool play and posted a 10-1 victory earlier Friday against West Coast Baseball (CA), will meet No. 2 Five Star Tigers DeMarini (FL) at 10 a.m. Saturday for a chance to earn a spot in the best-of-3 championship matchup for the 11u crown.
KC Clutch tied the game at 5-all in the top of the second but were unable to get back on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Bulls went ahead for good in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly from Cole Sigler, and the game had that nail-biter flavor for the final three innings.
“It would have been very easy for us to hang our dauber and be down about those four runs. The way they scored, with us making errors, giving up triples on 0-2 counts, hitting batters on 0-2 counts, is not the way we usually play,” said Bulls coach Rick Stiner. “I was proud of the boys for coming back.”
Denny Hogan pitched well through the adversity and then let reliever Max Linder take over the final two innings. Despite his modest stature, Linder pitched fearlessly and closed it out, getting a sprinting, lunging catch from Sigler in left-center in the fifth and then holding up in the sixth after an infield error to register the final out on a grounder to shortstop.
“We were able to succeed as a team. The coaches wanted us after yesterday to play more as a team and not focus on individuals,” said Sigler, who drove in two runs. “On the catch, I saw the ball … we’ve been working on fly balls a lot, and I knew what I had to do. That catch felt good, and I thought I had it the whole time.”
“I was super excited when he caught that – I thought I was pretty much dead if he didn’t and that it would have been a triple,” Linder said with a smile. “I try to stay calm (pitching) and throw strikes, and I know I can.”
“Hogan Denny did a nice job, and we wanted to change the pace,” Stiner added. “Cole went back and made a heck of a catch, and it’s good to see the work we’ve put in there come to fruition in game situations.”
RJ Cromartie and Wyatt Bennett also drove in runs for the Bulls in the game; Chris Coy drove in a run for the Clutch, and teammate Blake Neis drove in two runs with a triple. The Clutch will face Team Derty-Dirty South Bats (TX) on Saturday in the loser’s bracket.
An early loss in in bracket play might’ve deterred most teams from picking themselves off the dirt and making a strong statement in their next contest, but most teams aren’t the 10u Utah Horns.
A loss early Friday morning against the Lone Tree Halos put Beau Papadakis and his squad in a tough position to try to ride their way through the bottom end of the TCSB Division I bracket. Papadakis couldn’t ask for a better response, though, cruising past Millard Elite, 11-2, to stay above water.
“We gave them each a goal to start this game,” said Papadakis. “Everyone was responsible for a runner to score or to bat in. We always bat 12 because that’s part of our team philosophy, and they answered with 11, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team for answering our call.”
Utah’s scoring clinic started in the opening frame with a single run, but it wasn’t until the third inning when they started to break the game open. Loaded bases provided the perfect opportunity and the Horns wouldn’t let it slip by, capitalizing with hits from Jaxon Soto, Xaviah Patch and Alex Vernon to drive in four runs and taking a commanding 5-2 lead.
On the mound, Case Beams dialed up one his best performances of the season. It was sweet redemption for Beams, who gave up 11 runs the first time he saw Millard Elite in pool play. Two runs was all Millard could muster on Friday as a focused Beams mowed down hitters one after another.
“My teammates were the ones giving me a great deal of confidence,” said Beams. “They were cheering me on every step of the way. They also gave me great run support that allowed me to pitch with confidence.”
While other teams around the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex might make use of a boom box or amplifier to create noise, the Utah Horns rely solely on the heart of their players. With each pitch and each at-bat, the Horns can been seen (and it would be hard not to hear) encouraging each other from the dugout with a variety of youthful cheers.
“I lost my voice in the last game,” said Papadakis. “I think they picked up my slack this afternoon.”
Even with a 5-2 advantage, Utah stayed hungry for runs.
Twice more the Horns would load the bases in the fourth and fifth innings. Papadakis’ team wouldn’t plate any the fourth inning, but refused to squander the opportunity in the fifth inning, grabbing two more runs, including a second RBI from Patch.
Soto solidified what was an all-but-on contest with a bases-learing double in the top of the sixth inning. More importantly, the now nine-run cushion let Papadakis go to his bullpen and save an inning of work for Beams.
“Case threw a gem today,” said Papadakis. “He threw five nearly perfect innings and did everything I could’ve asked from him. That team beat him up earlier in the tournament, and it was awesome to see him turn it around like that.”
In came Soto. Already with an RBI on the day, Soto stepped in and picked up exactly where Beams had left off, securing the three-out hold and the victory, 11-2.
“In this tournament, if you don’t make a plays, teams will jump on the opportunity.” said Papadakis. “We don’t get competition like this every day back in Utah. It’s nice to expose these kids to an elite field where they have to perform on a game by game basis. It’s one of the biggest reasons we look forward to coming to Omaha every year.”
Utah’s win pushes them forward in the TCSB Division I bracket and will take on the Dirty South Venom on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. in Council Bluffs. It’s still a long road back to the championship for the Horns, but with the energy and camaraderie they displayed Friday afternoon, it might be a cinderella finish for Utah.
Just because the tint on their white uniforms were faded with dirt doesn’t mean the Lone Tree Halos didn’t play close to angelic on Friday in Council Bluffs.
Two runs in the opening frame gave the Halos their lead and the Colorado natives never looked back, toppling the Dirty South Venom, 9-5, and claiming a spot in the 10u TCSB Division I Baseball Championship semifinals.
“Initially, we were regretting having to play the 8 a.m. game instead of the 10 a.m. slot this morning,” said head coach Paul James. “But I think it ended up working in our favor because it was much cooler in the morning, and I think our guys were well rested and had good energy all day.”
The Halos’ energy gave them boosts early and often against the Dirty South Venom from Virginia. After giving up a run in the top of the opening frame, the Halos’ saving grace –Anthony De Angel — launched a two-RBI double, leapfrogging the Venom to put his team on top, 2-1.
“The other pitcher wasn’t throwing the ball extremely fast,” said De Angel. “I knew that if I could just slow down my feet and turn my hips, I’d be able to drive the ball.”
Driving the ball might’ve been an understatement for De Angel. The youngster connected like a pro at the dish all morning and into the afternoon in Iowa. On the day, De Angel finished with three hits in his three plate appearances and four RBI.
Lead in hand, starting pitcher Josh Sutrina fell into a rhythm that could not be unshaken. In the second and third innings, Sutrina tallied four strikeouts and twice stranded runners on third base to maintain the one-run advantage.
Lone Tree riled up its offense once again in the bottom of the third. Four straight singles and a defensive error from the Venom allowed the Halos to plate four runs. Even Sutrina helped himself out with an RBI of his own.
“Our team is one of those teams that gets better as the week progresses,” said coach James. “Pool play was what you might expect 10-year old baseball to be. Today they are starting to play a bit better, and I think you saw it in some big moments today.”
Though Sutrina and the Halos would give up a trio of runs in the fourth and fifth innings, their offense continued to provide insurance. Logan Manuello, Presley James and Trevor Gottsegen all eached base safely and crossed home plate in the bottom half of the fourth, keeping the Venom at arm’s length.
In the sixth, it was Gottsegen who took over Sutrina’s mound to cruise to the finish line. Gottsegen gave up only a single run and secured the victory, 9-5, with a fly out to center field.
“It’s been incredibly encouraging how we’re playing,” said De Angel. “If we keep hitting like we are, fielding like we are, pitching like we are and not making errors, I think we have a great chance to win this thing this weekend.”
Fourth-seeded Lone Tree now stands atop the prestigious TCSB Division I Baseball Championship 10u bracket. The Halos will return to Council Bluffs for a matchup against the Canes at 10 a.m Saturday morning.
“Winning the first two games of a long tournament is incredibly important,” said James. “I don’t mean to sound too politically correct by saying that we have to take it one game at a time but that’s kind of what you have to do.
“This is easily the best tournament of the year. From the setup, to the format, to the best competition in our age group. With everything considered, you have to just focus on the game right in front of you.”