By Adam Burns
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The Louisiana BlueClaw Baseball 14u squad put an exclamation mark on its summer baseball season on Sunday.
Playing in its final tournament of the summer, BlueClaw captured the Omaha SlumpBuster 14u D2 championship with an 8-6 victory over the CV Canes at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
“We played a lot of baseball games so it’s good to go out on top,” BlueClaw coach David Coleman said. “We did what we intended to do. We wanted to win at least two pool games and be a higher seed, whether it’d be in the top bracket or in the second bracket. It ended up working out for us.”
Indeed it did. BlueClaw, seeded second in the 14u D2 bracket, earned its fifth straight tournament victory on the season with a strong offensive attack and solid defense.
“It’s definitely a grind,” Coleman said of the three-game Sunday format. “We had a little momentum, too, with our recent success. It was good to see them perform under pressure.”
“We played well, our defense was on lockdown and our offense woke up today,” BlueClaw’s Cy Barrow said. “We just had to keep in mind what we were playing for and that’s each other.”
The Canes, seeded fourth in bracket play, bounced back from an 8-2 deficit with a four-run fifth. Landon Bastien delivered the big blow in the frame, a two-run line drive single to right field.
But, after allowing the runs, Barrow settled down, completing 2 1/3 innings of work with four strikeouts.
The Canes managed to get on the board first, plating two runs in the second. BlueClaw responded with three runs in the bottom half of the second to take the lead for good. They added to their lead with four runs in the third and one more in the fourth for an 8-2 lead.
Then, the Canes battled with their response in the fifth.
“That’s the story of this team. They’re never out,” Canes coach Mike Harris said. “You can never count them out. They continued to fight.”
But, in the end, it wasn’t enough to knock off a motivated BlueClaw squad.
“It was a great tournament,” Harris said. “It was the first one we’ve played outside the state of California. I was really proud of these guys for playing nine games this weekend and playing in 14s as a 13-year old team. That’s a lot to say for a young group, so I couldn’t be more proud of them.”