YOUTH BASEBALL: Gold Country Bears rise to occasion, win All World Outlaws tourney championship
As a coach of youth athletes, there are a myriad of moments that bring to you a sense of pride in your players. You have your singular moments when players achieve feats of greatness, such as hitting home runs, our pitchers striking out the side or making a highlight reel play in the gap; however, the greatest moments are those when an entire team comes together in the face of adversity to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals together as a team.
At Gold Country Baseball Academy our coaches and instructors place a strong emphasis on fundamentals as well as the X’s and O’s of the game of baseball, but the primary emphasis at our academy exists far beyond the realm of athleticism. It lies in the mental aspects of the game and our core belief that not only are we trying to create great ball players, but also great young men and young women. We preach Focus, Effort, Attitude, Teamwork & Sportsmanship, for these are the F.E.A.T.S of true importance in our approach with our young athletes.
Over the weekend, the 11U Bears team succeeded in winning the first tournament championship for our academy in the All World Outlaws Silver Division, at the Mather Sports Complex in Rancho Cordova. While this served as an amazing moment for our players, their families and our academy in its own right, the way that our boys won is what made it truly special.
Saturday’s Pool Play games were less than stellar, we received decent pitching performances; however we struggled with our bats and defensive errors proved to be more than we were able to overcome. We finished the day with two losses, 9-2 in the first game and 11-4 in game two. Highlights included an impressive outing by Johnheaven Patton (five innings pitched, two hits, one earned run) in game one and Devon Daley’s 3-for-3 effort, including a home run from the plate in game two.
It wasn’t the fact that we lost either game that didn’t sit well with our coaching staff, but the way we lost. Our play became flat, heads were hanging and the dugout was quiet. We weren’t playing GCBA Bears baseball. After the completion of the final game, we challenged our boys to be great, to deal with the failures of the game and overcome them. We explained that this is their moment to be great and overcome the day’s faults.
On Sunday, the same players showed up at the diamond, but they emerged a different team. There was a passion in our player’s eyes that was unseen the day prior. They were focused, they were enthusiastic and they were ready to play as a “Team.”
Game one was highlighted by solid pitching by Caiden Hiles (4 1/3 innings pitched, four strikeouts, four runs allowed on six hits) and home runs by Daley and Kasey Barker. Our Bears strung together nine runs on 11 hits and were victorious by a final score of 9-8 against the Roseville 54’s.
Game two brought a familiar foe in the No. 2 seed Jackson Tigers, who had beaten us, 11-4 the previous day. After missing day one of the tournament, Jacob Rath was given the start on the mound and did not disappoint, allowing three hits for three runs over four innings while striking out five. Once again the Bears came to rake (Baseball nomenclature for hitting the ball hard, all over the park), led by Patton and Daley, who each had a pair of doubles, and a home run by Rath in the fifth. All together the Bears managed 13 hits for the game and beat the Tigers 13-5.
In the first-ever championship game for our 11U Bears, we were set to face the top-seeded Ponderosa Patriots. Daley was given the start and proceeded to shut down the Patriots, giving up only one run on two hits over four innings with eight strikeouts, before handing the ball over to Steele Witchek to close out the fifth and final Inning. Apparently not satisfied with his pitching performance, Daley also hit his third home run of the tournament and was further aided by a pair of home runs by Colten Purkey and Patton. In all, the Bears managed to score 11 runs seven hits, taking advantage of walks and errors by the opposing team to win the championship game 11-1.
In true Bears fashion, our boys came to play and they raked. After only mustering a total of six runs on Saturday, the Bears hung a total 33 runs on the board Sunday. In addition to the players’ previously mentioned, we couldn’t have done it without timely hitting, solid defense and great base running by Collier Conlan, Steele Witchek, Caiden Hiles, Lucas Mackey and Caleb Hassfeld, coupled with strong relief efforts on the mound by Kasey Barker, Colten Purkey and Witchek. And, let’s not forget our Ironman, Lucas Mackey who caught a total of 23 innings over the weekend and did a great job managing the pitching staff.
Coaches may submit game reports by email at email@example.com or by phone at 530-477-4232.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.