By Cody Thorn
FLOWER MOUND, TX — Five pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout to lead Dallas Tigers (14uD1) Killian a 1-0 victory over GPS Legends-Puffer during the second game for both teams at the Triple Crown Texas Season Opener on Saturday at Bakersfield Park.
Winning both games gave the Tigers the No. 2 seed in Sunday's nine-team championship bracket. The contest featured a lot of scoring chances but only a run was pushed across the plate. Pitchers for both sides came up with timely outs when needed to keep the game moving along.
“I think our pitchers did a good job of battling with runners in scoring position,” Tigers coach Ben Sampson said. “To me, early in the season, I want to get everyone out there for one inning on Saturday and still be fresh for Sunday. Anytime you come out of pool play and win those close games it is a huge confidence booster for us.”
Jameson Mayfield started for the Tigers and was then followed on the mound by Jack Snakenberg in the second and Bear Sampson entered in the third. Mayfield worked around a two-out triple by Dylan Krupnik in the first.
The next bit of trouble came after having a 1-0 lead. Michael Killian, who was the only hurler to go more than an inning for the Tigers, entered in the top of the fourth and then tossed the fifth.
In the fourth, he gave up a single to Colt Norman and walked Rhett Peterson. The southpaw got a flyout, strikeout and fielder’s choice to escape the scoring threat. In the next inning, Reed Cox had a one-out double, but a strikeout and a fly ball kept it 1-0.
“Just have confidence in yourself and trust your mechanics,” said the left-handed thrower from nearby Highland Village of working in high-pressure situations. “My fastball was on point and my curveball was good. I just take a deep breath and have a lot of confidence in yourself.”
Killian finished with three strikeouts and picked up the win.
Added Coach Sampson: “Trusting that plus fastball got him out of trouble.”
Colton Nussmeier struck out one in the bottom of the sixth to lock up the save, though the Round Rock team challenged again.
Brodie Leal drew a one-out walk and Norman got back on base after getting hit by a pitch for 14U Puffer — coached by former Astros pitcher Brandon Puffer. Nussmeier ended the game with a pair of fly balls to right fielder Cooper Grote.
The Tigers had a first-and-third situation in the top third inning but GPS right-hander Dylan Glenn got out of the jam with a strikeout looking on a 1-2 count. The lone run was scored in the top of the fourth inning.
Jake Mayor had a one-out single and with two outs, Mayfield walked, which led to a pitching change. Tyler DiMasi walked to load the bases before a wild pitch brought home the first and only run of the contest with two outs on a 2-2 count.
Earlier in the day, the Tigers beat Duran Baseball 14u, 3-1 with DiMasi accounting for two RBI. GPS Legends picked up a 14-4 win over the Fort Worth Cats Wisdom 14U\u in its pool opener with Riggs Gordon driving in three runs, while Brandon Washburn, Cox, and Brock Woytek had two RBI each. Those bottom four batters in the lineup were 4-for-8 with nine RBI.