By Adam Burns
It was the bottom of the third inning of VCBA White’s third game of the 14u Omaha SlumpBuster tournament. Two outs had been recorded. And then it happened.
At last, the California-based team had surrendered their first run. The Colorado Shamrocks added to their run total and made things interesting, but VCBA eventually pulled out a 6-4 win to stay undefeated Friday afternoon on Pat Shanahan Memorial Field at the La Vista Sports Complex.
With the win, VCBA completed a 3-0 showing in Pool H of the Omaha SlumpBuster tournament. And it nearly entered bracket play without allowing a run.
“We don’t expect to be perfect,” VCBA coach Kyle Jones said. “We played a pretty good team there. Our pitchers got into tough spots, but got out of those spots, too, by throwing strikes and letting the defense work behind them.”
After allowing its first run of the tourney, VCBA, which led 3-1 at the time, tallied three runs in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. The Shamrocks, who entered the contest with a 1-1 record, responded with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth before coming up short.
“They have a really good team and their pitchers are good, but we just found a way to put the ball in play and keep things moving,” said VCBA’s Austin Kurr, who tripled home a run in the second inning.
“Austin Kurr was big for us with the double in the gap and there was a lot of heads-up baserunning, by Jack Medhurst, our centerfielder,” Jones said, “and we had just solid defense and they made a couple of nice plays out there.”
VCBA is set up nicely for bracket play as a likely top seed, after only allowing four runs in pool play.
“It feels great,” Jones said. “I feel we put ourselves into a great spot. It’s a great spot to be in and we’ll see how it plays out tomorrow.”
James Guyette recorded six strikeouts in two innings of work on the mound. Evan Needham had two strikeouts in relief.
“We have a lot of depth on the mound and we’ve been able to manage our pitching pretty well,” Jones said. “We’re set up to go far in this thing.”
Shamrocks pitcher Logan Smith tossed 3 ⅔ innings and struck out three.
Wesley Nanas, Jack Medhurst and Jake Trickle all recorded two-hit days for VCBA. Nanas also picked up the save.
Tested for the first time this week, VCBA won’t enter bracket play with zero runs against, but the club will be just that much more battle-tested.
“We just need to keep putting the ball in play and keep pitching well and throwing strikes,” Kurr said.
“I’m proud of these guys for the way that they made adjustments,” Jones said. “We’re ready to go.”