by Joseph Fragano
The Team KC/MO Royals secured their second win of the day Saturday with a victory over Performance Baseball by a score of 10-3 at the Oak Grove Baseball Complex, during 14u D1 Elite Division action at the Triple Crown Texas Season Opener.
Peyton Newell got the win for the Royals with two innings of scoreless work and a strikeout. The KC/MO offense got out in front early on a grand slam from first baseman Luke Presco and never looked back.
“I was just seeing the ball well,” said Presco “Just timing it up right, swinging at anything that looked good to me.”
Presco's second home run of the day put the Royals in front for good. The Performance offense threatened with a rally in the top of the third, bringing around their only three runs of the game. Harrison Bailey came on in relief, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout to seal the game for the Royals.
"I was just looking to throw fastballs and get a ground ball," Bailey said.
Team KC/MO head coach Brett Bailey considered it a win to be on the field at all due to the weather in the team’s hometown of Kansas City and commended his players for a gritty performance in adverse weather conditions.
"Obviously we'd like to throw strikes more consistently than what we did today," said coach Bailey. "Kids that have the mental aptitude fight through it and figure out a way to get it done. I liked my team's aggression today to come out and put runs on the board early in both of our wins."
The Royals join the Dallas Tigers-Burgos and Dallas Patriots-Sherard as the only teams to go 2-0 Saturday in the 14u Elite division.
In 12u Elite division action the Texas Raiders Elite-Lale (Southlake, TX) and Yeti Baseball Club (Austin) won all three of their pool play games and will be the top seeds in Sunday's bracket.
by Lary Bump
RICHARDSON, TX – Lane Mangum breezed through the top of the first inning Saturday, striking out two batters and giving up an easy grounder.
Then he went to the Louisiana Knights dugout at Breckinridge Park and sat. He batted, scored a run and sat again. And sat some more.
By the time he took the mound again, he had an 8-0 lead, mostly courtesy of four walks and eight wild pitches by two Texas Raiders-Kelley pitchers.
The top-seeded Knights went on to win 12-7 and advance to Sunday’s Triple Crown Texas Season Opener 13u Elite winners’ bracket final against the No. 2 seed Crawdads by Yeti from Austin, Texas.
Mangum struck out four batters and allowed one run and two hits in three innings.
“I commanded the strike zone very well. My best pitch was the two-seam fastball.”
He said it wasn’t easy waiting through the long bottom of the first.
“It’s kind of harder. You’re not just going back out there. You’ve got to stop."
The Raiders tried valiantly to continue their Cinderella run from the 12th seed of the 12-team tournament. Earlier Saturday, they edged the fifth-seeded Canes Southwest Scrappers 4-3 and routed the fourth-seeded Houston Generals 10-3.
The 12-7 loss was an improvement over the 17-1 loss to Louisiana in Friday night’s pool play that determined seedings. And the Raiders scored the final six runs against the Knights Saturday.
On Saturday, the Knights had just seven hits. Catcher Joshua Sanchez had two hits, a run-scoring single in the first inning and an RBI double in the third.
Sanchez said he and Mangum work well together.
“It’s easy to catch him. We have that connection. We’ve bonded every year we’ve played together.”
The Knights from Shreveport, La., nearly lost their first game on Saturday, but rallied to beat the Exit Velocity Yankees from Hornlake, Miss., 7-6.
“The guys really battle,” coach Peter Pizarro said. “We had a situation where we were down by two, but they just don’t quit.”
Dyson Fields struck 10 to beat the Yankees. He was pitching to catcher Lane Mangum.
“The umpire was favoring the outside corner,” Fields said, “so we really just tried to keep the ball outside.”
The Crawdads won Saturday over Dugout Glory 6-1 and Spitfire Truth 6-2.
Both teams justified their 1-2 seeding. In four games, the Knights have outscored opponents 46-15. The Crawdads have scored 38 and given up only five.
Saturday’s games were played with temperatures in the 40s, constant misty rain and low-hanging clouds that shrouded the tops of the buildings in downtown Dallas 25 miles away. Sunday's conditions worsened, and no other games were played.
by Lary Bump
RICHARDSON, TX – The Houston Generals found themselves in an unaccustomed situation Friday.
It wasn’t so much for playing in 40-degree weather in North Texas as being surprised at being behind late in a game.
As pool play began in the 13 D1 Elite division at the Triple Crown Texas Season Opener, the Generals trailed Spitfire Truth of Grandview, Texas, by three runs going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Coming off the mound in the top of the fifth, Easton Dean had a plan for when he led off the bottom of the inning.
“Just go opposite field, hit something and get a base hit,” he said.
That didn’t go entirely to plan. Instead of hitting to the opposite field, the left-handed batter lined a double -- to right field. Two singles pulled the Generals within a run. With two outs, Luke Rives singled to tie the game, and when he stole second base on a fake-bunt play, he continued to the plate on two errors.
“I watched them in the field,” Rives said. “They didn’t look like a very good fielding team. I didn’t know the (throw) went over his head. My thought process was that when he waved me home that the ball got by the center fielder.”
Which it did. After that, coach Travis Dean had words of advice for his son when he went to the mound for the sixth.
Easton Dean recounted the words as “Just keep throwing strikes over the plate.” He pitched out of a one-on, one-out jam to nail down a 5-4 win, the second of two victories for the Generals on the day at Breckinridge Park.
Before that, Spitfire had had its way with the Houston team. Trey Craig provided Spitfire’s scoring with two two-run home runs, and the Generals had only one hit, a bunt single, entering the fifth.
“They were a little bit intimidated,” Travis Dean said. “That hitting puts a chill on the kids and they go, ‘Oh, oh, we’re outmatched.’
I just had to remind them and give them the confidence, and they came out and did their job when they were supposed to.”
Luke Rives was asked if the team has had to rally often.
“Um,” he said, thinking, and finally added, “Not many.”
Earlier, the Generals had built an early lead and held off the Exit Velocity Yankees of Hornlake, Miss., 8-6.
“We gave away six unearned runs,” Travis Dean said.
In the 12-team invitational event, three other teams – Crawdads by Yeti of Austin, Texas; Louisiana Knights of Stonewall, La., and Hustle Premier of Texas City, Texas -- won two pool-play games each.
“The unique flavor of this tournament is that most weekend tournaments are single-elimination. This one adds a double-elimination format,” tournament director Jason McCoy said. “Also, for this tournament, we identified the best teams in 42 different events across the country. These teams have been invited to play here.
“They’re playing against the other best teams, so there are no games they can take off.”
For the tournament’s double-elimination portion beginning Saturday, the Knights are seeded first, with Yeti second, Hustle Premier third and the Generals fourth.
The seeding didn’t seem to bother the Generals, who have come from behind once already this weekend.