By Adam Burns
LA VISTA, Neb. — Nearly 70 games into the summer season, the Gladiators out of Beaumont, Texas have grown familiar with this scenario.
Facing another 2-0 pool opponent with the same run differential (14), the Gladiators needed to continue its momentum. With seeding implications on the line, the Gladiators, just in time ahead of reseeding and bracket play, defeated Legacy Baseball of California 9-8 ahead of reseeding on Friday afternoon at the La Vista Sports Complex.
“We definitely responded,” Gladiators coach Derek Hill said. “We preach pedal to the medal. When we take a licking, we keep on ticking. It’s our motto.”
It’s simply just what they do. And what they have been doing, considering the Gladiators just notched their 47th victory of the summer.
“It’s a great experience,” Hill said. “We’ve scored a lot of runs. Today we got down early 6-0, but these guys all season have responded well to adversity. They overcome it.”
After Legacy opened the game with a 6-run top of the first, the Gladiators punched back with a four-run bottom of the first. With two outs, Carson Johnson and Ricky Martinez both drove in a run with singles.
“We’ve been laying on that gas pedal pretty heavy lately,” Mason Istre said. “The bats have been hot and we’ve been doing great overall. If we can keep it up, we have a good shot at going far.”
William Heinz then came up big with a 2-run shot to right center field to knot the score at 6-6 in the second inning. Then, in the third, Martinez drove in another run before Legacy balked in a run and allowed another run to cross the plate via an error to make it 9-6.
Legacy then cut the advantage to 9-8 with an RBI double and a fielder’s choice in the fourth, but that was as close Legacy could get before the game concluded due to time limit.
“We pulled away but we kept ticking at the end,” Istre said.
The Gladiators advanced to 4-1 on the week and will take on Nines Baseball Academy at 10:15 a.m. Saturday in the D1 Platinum Championship Bracket.