By Craig Buchanan
COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – Facing the pressures of Championship Sunday and finding yourself in an early deficit, it would be easy for any team to cave in the moment. For MASH baseball out of Eagan, Minnesota, it was an opportunity to double down on who they were.
After falling behind 4-0 in the top of the second inning of the 14u D2 Championship game against So Cal Catch, MASH doubled down on who they are. They carried themselves with immense positivity. Cheers of encouragement filled any potential silence that you could find at the ballpark. And behind all this, MASH scored eight-consecutive runs to win the championship game, 8-4.
“When we started our tournament down here, we wanted to be sure of a couple of things” Head Coach Matt Nelson said. “We wanted to make sure that we were playing together and bringing a lot of energy to the dugout. When we do that together, rally behind each other, when the ups and downs happen, we can stay together and withstand a lot of other teams.”
So Cal Catch got off to a hot start, scoring four runs in the top of the second inning on several bloop singles, but MASH was not deterred. In the bottom of the second inning, MASH hit a lead-off triple to put the pressure back on So Cal Catch. MASH ended the inning getting three runs back and found itself right back in the ball game at 4-3 heading into the third inning.
After a scoreless third inning, MASH once again found its opportunity to attack the pitching depth of So Cal Catch, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it the final score of 8-4.
“We preach positivity and keeping things really light at MASH,” Nelson said of his teams resiliency. “We have a little saying of ‘be where your feet are.’ Be present in whatever you are doing. You can’t look too far back, and you can’t look too far forward. If you are positive in those moments and you keep moving forward, it’s going to be a long-term play instead of being stuck in the short-term.”