The 12U Dallas Tigers (5-1) advanced to the Omaha SlumpBuster TCSB DI Baseball Division championship series Saturday after defeating No. 1-seeded 3D Gold, 11-3, at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
3D Gold took an early lead in the first inning, kickstarted from an RBI double by centerfielder Duce Robinson. Two walks loaded the bases for the Gold with two outs, but stiff defense from the Tigers ended the inning.
The Tigers would tally seven runs in the second inning, six of which came with two outs. Third baseman Garrett Schroeder got things going with a smoked triple to the right-center fence. An RBI single from Carter Nicholson scored Schroder and put the Tigers on the board. Gabriel Barrientes singled then stole second base putting runners on second and third with two outs.
An RBI double by Irvin Leonard and RBI single by Jason Miller tacked on three more runs for the Tigers. In all, the Tigers would go on to record eight hits and take a 7-1 lead.
“We’ve talked all year about having a two-strike or two-out approach, and today that really came out with seven of our runs coming with two outs,” said Dallas Tigers head coach Nathan Leonard. “Hitting has always been a strength of our team. I told the team to hit the ball and put in play. Make the other team play defense and that’s exactly what we did today.”
While 3D Gold did some damage in the second and third innings, Tiger pitcher Harry Rosar was solid on the bump throwing three strikeouts, giving up five hits and only allowing three runs in four innings pitched. Closer Bryson Bohannon pitched a near flawless fifth inning to seal the win for the Tigers.
“Having a defense behind me that I trust allowed me to throw it in there against their (3D Gold) strong hitters,” said Rosar. “The competition is a lot higher than we normally play in, so we know we have to bring it each game.”
The Tigers scored two more runs in the third and fourth, both of which were sparked by solid at-bats by Schroeder, who finished the game 3-for-3 (two singles and a triple), two RBI and two runs scored. Teammate Noah Bentley also scored a run in each of the third and fourth innings and recorded a single and RBI double.
“All season I have been working on attacking the fastball early in the count and having a good two-strike approach when I am hitting,” said Schroeder. “We get to play a lot of teams we haven’t played before and it’s been a great experience. We will try to buckle down tomorrow and play defense like we did today. We will trust our defense and try to get hot hitting again.”
The Tigers will face the 3n2 Warriors, who knocked out 3D Gold in the semifinals of the loser’s bracket. The Warriors and Tigers met in pool play, with 3n2 winning, 6-3. The championship is a best-of-3 series with the first game slated for Sunday at 9 a.m. CT on Field No. 4 at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
“We need to eliminate the number of pitches and keep runners off the bases tomorrow in the championship,” said Leonard. “We are going to stay aggressive at the plate, and we believe our defense will keep us there. As long as we continue to hit the ball, I think we have a chance to win the championship.”
The Tigers are headed to the College World Series game tonight and then early to bed to get ready for tomorrow’s championship.
“This is always good experience for us, good competition, and of course, the College World Series is fun for the kids,” said Leonard. “In our opinion, we use this event as a family vacation. It’s always a great experience for us and a fun getaway.”