Revenge is a dish best served with baseballs, at least for the 13u Millard Elite squad.
After falling to Team Colorado – Altitude Baseball in the first bracket game of the tournament, Millard Elite reunited with their old foe Saturday with a spot in the TCSB Championship on the line. This time, Millard sparked offensively and waltzed into the championship series with a 10-3 victory.
The leadoff spot proved very profitable for head coach Trevor Barton and his team. Ben Weindel kicked off the bottom half of the first inning with a single, stole second and reached third on a passed ball before touching home plate two batters later.
“I was trying to look for a fastballs all afternoon,” said Weindel. “I wasn’t trying to do anything too fancy. I just wanted to drive it up the middle and get on base. I knew if I could do that, my teammates could get me home.”
Millard added a second run on a RBI single from Cade Barton. Barton proved to be a thorn in the side of Team Colorado all afternoon. Though hitting last in the order, Barton reached base safely in all three of his attempts, notched two singles and drove in two runs.
Colorado added pressure after plating a run in the top of the fourth inning, climbing within one off an RBI double from Reese Chapman.
With lingering thoughts of their 8-3 loss against Colorado just a day earlier, Millard wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip through their fingers. Sending each of their 10 batters to the plate in the bottom end of the fourth inning, Millard exploded for five runs, including an two-RBI double from Weindel to take a commanding 7-1 lead.
“We have a very consistent approach,” said coach Barton. “We ask them to take the game one pitch at a time and stay focused on what they can control. In the middle part of that game they really started to buckle down and play the game the way we know how.”
Meanwhile, Cole Goeser was keeping Team Colorado quiet with his work on the mound. In five innings of work, Goeser allowed just a single run and trusted his defense, which came up with 12 putouts and turned two double plays.
“Our guys work really hard at their skill,” said coach Barton. “They work well together at an extremely high level and if we can get that effort from them again, I like their mentality.”
Chapman, one of the few bright spots for Team Colorado, delivered a towering home run in the sixth inning. Barton’s squad stood tall against adversity once again, though, grabbing three more insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame, once more taking advantage of a Ben Weindell RBI.
Coach Barton called up Tadan Bell to finish the job for Millard. His six outs through the sixth and seventh innings ended a marathon stretch for Millard, capturing their third victory of the day, 10-3.
“We battled all day long,” said Weindell. “It’s never a spot that any team wants to be in, trying to climb out of the loser’s bracket, but we never gave up, and now we have a chance to finish off this week with something special.”
Millard Elite’s win seals its spot in the TCSB Division I Championship Series where they’ll face Beaver Valley at 9 a.m. Sunday morning in a best-of-3 series.
“Beaver Valley is a very good team,” said Barton. “But we have played a lot of baseball. If we can get our kids to come into tomorrow with the same mentality and to play for each other, I think we can win.”