by Lary Bump
RICHARDSON, TX – Kade Poole did it all for the Arkansas Patriots in the Triple Crown Baseball 13uD2 Texas Season Opener at Breckinridge Park on Saturday.
The Patriots from the Northwest Arkansas cities of Springdale, Bentonville and Fayetteville built a big early lead in a 9-2 win over the Aledo (TX) Black Sox. After that, Poole took over as Arkansas defeated the Odessa Red Woodpeckers 5-3 -- with the 2-0 start, the Patriots earned the No. 5 seed for Sunday's eight-team championship bracket
Poole, a right-handed pitcher, allowed the Woodpeckers only one unearned run. After that run scored for a 1-1 tie, he struck out two batters with runners at second and third. He struck out six in his three innings.
The Patriots’ first run had come in the top of the second. Poole, a right-handed batter, jumped on the first pitch and sent a no-doubter home run to left field. The 1-1 tie lasted only until the fourth inning. Parker Blackburn worked a walk and scored on a double by Quinn Birdsong. On the next pitch, Poole blasted another homer a bit closer to left-center.
Two pitches, two home runs, three RBIs for Poole. He batted just twice because the Patriots had 10 batters in their lineup and because the game ended after five innings because of a time limit.
“I was looking for high fastballs and I got them,” Poole said.
Three Arkansas pitchers held Odessa to two hits and only one earned. Another Patriots left-hander, Carson Meaders, shut the door in the final inning, striking out the final two Woodpeckers batters.
“He’s got a real good curve,” Poole said.
The Patriots aren’t just all about Poole, or the one-two punch of the lefty pitchers. They are part of Shane Smith’s Patriots organization of 24 teams in its baseball and softball program.
Coach Dakota Brissey pointed out shortstop shortstop Harry Dodson. While other Patriots were moving from one position to another, Dodson remained rooted as the foundation of the infield. He also went 2 for 3 at bat, stole a base and drove in a fifth-inning insurance run.
Last year, the Patriots won the Perfect Game u12 championship. For their u13 season, Poole and his teammates have different goals. He said, “On Sunday, I hope we win the championship. After that, we want to win as many as we can, then win state and win the Triple Crown World Series.”
Brissey said, “We’ll play 65 or 70 games if we win it.”
For now, Poole is looking short-term. Could he pitch again on Sunday? “I will pitch tomorrow,” he said confidently.
LAST WORD – The Patriots arrived Friday, a day after a storm dumped buckets of wind-swept rain that set off tornado alarms. Brissey said, “I couldn’t say any more about how they got the fields ready will all that rain."