When the CTX Crusaders Red faced off against the Dulins Dodgers TX in the 12u Platinum Championships of the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster, the title was guaranteed to belong to the Lone Star State. The Dodgers, head coach Lance Spivey and his boys made sure it was headed to McKinney, slipping past the Crusaders, 3-1.
“I’m super proud of this group,” said Spivey. “They competed all weekend long. We were consistent all weekend long, even when things didn’t go our way. I’m proud of their body language and their energy. It was a great way to end a long week.”
Only minutes after handling Iowa Sticks Red in the semifinals, Dulins wasted little time jumping on the scoreboard in the championship bout. Leadoff hitter Seth Yeamans climbed aboard with a single and quickly scampered around the bases to score on a duo of errors from the Crusaders’ defense.
The runs would not stop there.
Judd White, Jackson Miles and Mason Parsons all recorded hits. Even starting pitcher Brody Walls got in the action with an RBI double. In total, the Dodgers plated three runs, setting the tone early.
“Their pitchers were doing a great job of mixing it up,” said White. “We just had to stay balanced and do what we do best. Play our brand of baseball.”
Lead and momentum in hand, Walls trotted out the mound looking to get his team back to the plate as quickly as he could. Despite giving up a leadoff double and a run scored, Walls settled in, dialing up two popups and a strikeout to end the inning.
“My change-up was really working for me today,” Walls explained. “As it started to rain, my fastball started to slip a ton and dive into the dirt. My change-up came in clutch in the end.”
Two straight 1-2-3 innings at the dish meant Walls had to remain steady as his team clung to its 3-1 lead.
“It’s really relieving when you hang a pitch or miss your spot with a fastball that you can rely on your defense to make a play,” said Walls.
Time and time again, Walls utilized a mix of strikeouts and his defense to keep the Crusaders at bay. In his four innings of work, Walls struck out two, walked only one and surrendered just a single run. Even when a come-backer struck him in the hand in the third inning leading to a highlight-worthy 1-4-3 double play, Walls persevered and stayed in the contest.
“Love the compete factor in a kid like that,” Spivey said. “Takes one off the palm of the hand that was coming in there hot, settles himself back down and finishes off the game.”
Much like the persistence of the Dodgers throughout the SlumpBuster tournament, the rain in Omaha would not let up on Sunday afternoon. With four full innings completed, conditions were too dangerous to move forward and as the Dodgers were in front, 3-1, Dulins grabbed the 12u Platinum championship.
“We came to together as a team this week,” said White. “It’s a huge accomplishment for all of us. All the hard work that we’ve put in at practice paid off this week.”
The SlumpBuster marks the end of the Summer schedule for Spivey and company but a win in the top bracket of the 12u division will make the offseason a little bit sweeter.
“The Dodgers is a storied organization,” Spivey said. “It’s a good win and good for the organization. We’re ending our Summer with this tournament but we want these kids to keep playing baseball well after this.”
Eight teams powered through pool play, finishing a perfect 2-0 in the 12u Division at the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster. Crusaders Red, Osseo Maple Grove Storm, Illinois Black Sox, CPYL Patriots, Iowa Sticks Red, F.S.A Elite, C2C Outlaws and Dulins Dodgers each locked a spot in the single-elimination bracket that will begin Sunday morning.
Showcasing diverse talents from across the United States, three of the eight teams hale from the Lone Star State while the remaining five represent Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois.
Crusaders Red (TX) earned the No. 1 overall seed, scoring 31 runs while pitching a shutout in both of its games in Pool T. They will go head-to-head against eight-seeded Osseo Maple Grove Storm (MN) who put up a staggering 37 runs in two contests.
The C2C Outlaws (SD) also kept a clean sheet in pool play to grab the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 Dulins Dodgers (TX). The winner of the matchup will take on the winner of No. 3 Iowa Sticks Red and F.S.A Elite (IN) who settled in No. 6 position.
Patrons at Kelley Complex will be treated to a fourth highly-anticipated battle when fourth-seeded Illinois Black Sox take on No. 5 CPYL Patriots (TX).
It’s not often a team who musters just a single hit in a game walks away with a victory. Premier OKC Athletics weren’t deterred by its lack of offense on Saturday, scoring four runs in the final inning to beat Hawks Gold – Piesko, 5-4, advancing to the 13u semifinals. at the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster.
“These guys brought it from the get-go,” said head coach Shaun Corso. “They brought the energy and they never gave up, even when they only had just one hit.
“I’m an offensive coach. I love hitting and we just didn’t do it today but the guys just found a way to push some runs across the plate with their backs against the wall.”
Pitchers on both sides came out dueling.
The Hawks’ Colton King walked a batter in the top of the first inning, one of two he would surrender. His four innings of working included seven strikeouts and just one unearned run.
For Premier, Ty Parker threw the first four frames before handing the keys over to Gaven Delmas. Together, the two combined for eight strikeouts and just three earned runs.
“Ty Parker went out there and shoved,” Corso said. “He made one mistake all day. Gaven didn’t look so hot at the beginning but I went out there and told him that his teammates needed him. He got into his groove and it was fortunate the way things turned out.”
OKC struck first blood in the third inning. Only four batters came to the plate but a Seth Carlson walk combined with two throwing errors allowed Carlson to scamper home for the game’s first run.
The score remained 1-0 until the fourth inning when Evan Haeger launched a solo shot over the fence for the Hawks. Two innings later, Tanner Sonntag rocketed a two-run shot out of the park, stretching the Gold lead, 3-0.
“We know what we’re capable of,” said Carlson. “We’ve all hit well in practice a million times. We just needed to take it out on the field.”
Down to its final three outs and trailing 3-1, the Athletics needed something special.
Patient at the plate all afternoon long, OKC drew four walks in six batters, scoring a run and creeping within one, 3-2. Finally, with the game on the line, Carlson delivered the only hit for OKC, sending home Owen Hall and tying the game.
“I just had to trust myself,” said Carlson. “I just wanted to stay locked in and keep my hands back. It worked out at a good time.”
A batter later, Delmas popped up in the infield but an error from the Hawks’ catcher gave OKC two more runs to make it 5-3.
Delmas had one last job to do in the bottom end of the seventh when he returned to the mound. The Hawks crawled within one on a walk and an error but Delmas kept pounding the strike zone, eventually tallying the final swing and a miss to end the game, 5-4.
“I was just telling myself to trust my stuff,” said Delmas. “If anything, don’t worry if they got on base and move on to the next batter. I trusted my teammates and we got a big out right there.”
OKC moves on to the 13u semifinals on Sunday morning in Council Bluffs. Until then, the young men from Oklahoma have plenty of time to reflect upon one of their biggest wins of the season.
“Winning this game gives us a lot of belief going forward,” Delmas explained. “It means we know we can win close games, we know we can come from behind and it means we're not a team to be messed with.”
Don’t miss the Festival Night as the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster kicks into action!
When: Thursday, June 20
Time: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Council Bluffs Recreation Complex
2900 Richard Downing Ave.
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51501
What: Domingo Ayala, Bat Explosion, Pin Trading, Burning of the Bats, Vendors, Skills Challenge, Pro Player Workout, Official SlumpBuster Merch and more!
At 6:10 p.m. Domingo Ayala will kick things off on Field 10 with one of his hilarious shows. Following the show, Domingo will then lead the countdown for the famous Bat Explosion. Once the fire has been managed teams will be able to line up for the Burning of the Bats so make sure you bring a wooden bat!
We are expecting upwards of 10,000 people to attend this year’s festival, so plan accordingly and carpool if possible. Once the main lots at the sports complex are full, the police will be shutting off the road and directing attendees to park in the shopping center across the street from the complex. You will then need to walk roughly a quarter of a mile to the festivities.
The Pro Player Workout with the Iowa Western coaching staff will take place from 6-8:30pm on Fields #7 & #8. Skills Challenge will be held on Fields #1-4 (See Map Below).
Make sure to stop and see all of our vendors: Argent Sports, Baseball Lifestyle 101, Bownet, Dave and Busters, Dicks Sporting Goods, Easton Diamond Sports, Mister Wrist Bands, Mizuno, Prime Time Sporting Goods, Spiderz Batting Gloves, uHIT, VukGripz and YSPN.
Limited food and drink options will be available in the concession stands so don’t show up starving.
The 13u St. Louis Force were awarded the TCSB D1 Invite championship on Sunday, posting a 15-0 win over the Vegas Vipers on Sunday to start the best-of-3 title series.
The Vipers then forfeited Game 2, as the team had been depleted of all its pitching options after winning three games Saturday in the loser's bracket.
It's a repeat TCSB title for the Force, who won the 12u title in 2018.