MU2 Minis (Coach Pitch) Take First Place in Rec League Tournament

Pictures taken by Deuce Ruby, age 11

Looking at the sheer grit and determination on their faces, it’s sometimes hard to remember that these little guys are only seven and eight years old. The way they played on Saturday, with the heart and resolve that you see in Major League Baseball games, left everyone wishing that two teams could have the first place trophies. Alas, that was not to be, and so there had to be a fierce and competitive match to establish who would walk away in first place.

They each had a different path to take, leading up to today. With seventeen teams starting off the week-long double-elimination tournament, the games seemed to never stop. On Monday, Milton Union team #2 sent the Eldorado team to the loser’s bracket, while Franklin Monroe team #2 did the same to Arcanum team #2.

Tuesday rolled around and MU2 and FM2 found themselves facing each other, giving everything they had to try to stay in the winner’s bracket. During this match-up, MU2 came out on top – though, not by much – and the kids enjoyed a very competitive, high spirited game.

This loss seemed to light a fire under FM2, because they won five games on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. They wanted to make a statement, taking out anyone who stood in the way of them and the Championship game. When Saturday came and they were still standing, we all knew it was going to be one heck of a game (or two) before the Championship was through.

During this week, MU2 managed to make it all the way through the winner’s bracket, undefeated. They took a hit though, as one of their teammates had to leave Friday morning, on a family vacation. Even being down one of their infielders, the Bulldogs still fought hard, proving that the deserved to be in the final game.

Now, here’s where it got a little interesting: if MU2 won their 11:00 am game on Saturday, there would not be a second game, and the Bulldogs would be declared the 1st place winners overall. But, if the first game went in favor of the Jets, there would be a second game at 1:00 pm – because no one is out of the tournament until they have lost twice, and MU2 was undefeated going into Saturday.

As the captains went out to home plate, to shake hands and flip a coin, you could see that each team really wanted the win. As soon as home and away teams were determined, they got down to business. The Bulldogs started strong, driving in five runs early, while holding the Jets to no score, but that wasn’t going to last. The Jets fought back, playing strong offense and defense and whittling away at the solid lead that Milton had started with.

Going into the top of the 5th inning found the teams at 13-8, in favor of the Jets. As the 5th inning continued, the Bulldogs closed the gap, bringing it to a two run game, with two outs, and runners in scoring positions. With one hit, it was all over; a simple out was made, finishing the first game with the Jets winning.

FM was fired up going into the second game, coming off of that win, while the Bulldogs decided that they would not roll over and play dead. With the game at 5-4 (in FM’s favor) going into the 2nd inning, the Milton-Union side of the stands became worried that this game might go the same way as the last game, but the kids were not feeling that way at all. They felt the need to play hard and give it all they had, making large gains and taking the lead. Going into the 5th inning on this game, FM was down, 10-7. They needed hits to stay alive, and the Bulldogs just wanted a quick 1-2-3 inning to finish out the game. This was not to happen, though, as the Jets tied up the game before the Bulldogs managed to snag the third out.

With the top of the order up to bat for the Bulldogs, they were feeling pretty good, but that feeling apparently wasn’t enough. With quickness, the Jets held the Bulldogs, getting all three outs before anyone could score. Extra innings.

Heading into the sixth inning, there was an excitement in the air, mixed with the heavy feeling of tension, as each child out on that field, and on the bench, realized exactly how much this one inning could matter. Keeping their eyes on the ball at all times, and making good plays, the first three batters for the Jets went out 1-2-3. Now at the bottom of the inning, all the Bulldogs needed was one run . . . just one child had to touch home plate and it would all be over.

Three kids, three hits, three base-runners just waiting for that one hit that would bring the lead runner in. With Timmy Artz on third, Cameron Law steps up to the plate. Both teams watched intently, knowing that all it would take is one solid base hit to drive in the winning run. Cameron watched as the ball left the hands of his coach, drew his bat back just a little farther, and hit the ball right down the third base line. The FM pitcher, Ky, charged the ball as Timmy headed for home. It was close, as Ky scooped the ball and began to chase Timmy down – but Timmy slid just in the nick of time! With a score of 14-13, the Bulldogs won the game!

Congratulations to both teams – it was an amazing game and you all played very well!