The time has come to close up shop on this labor of love which chronicled the last five years of our OYO Bombers (9U thru 13U). Fortunately, the stories won't go anywhere nor will all of the great memories and hardware the Bombers collected in the process.
This group of boys, each with unique personalities and talents, blended together seamlessly on and off the field to have so much fun and do so much winning (which was also fun), it was truly a pleasure to share in the journey.
We will always be Bombers and I look forward to reminiscing about the past five years of ball for many years to come. Good luck to all on the next phase of your baseball journey!
Pictures more efficiently express the fun and success we enjoyed, so I'm sharing three of my favorites. We are Bombers!
The 13U Bombers ended their season a couple of games earlier than planned, dropping a hard fought 8-7 tournament game to the Stateline Sluggers in the GameDay Nationals at Bilericay Park. The rain soaked season ended on a hot, bone-dry field, but the Bombers should be proud of their 34-16-1 record which included three runner-up tournament finishes and an impressive 7-0 record to win the Grand Park Nationals championship on July 19th.
Here are a few highlights from the final four tournaments:
- After finishing 5th overall in the 64-team Omaha Slumpbuster tournament, the Bombers returned to continue playing at a high level against a tough schedule in the 14U Summer Slam in Noblesville. The Bombers took a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning of the championship game against the Illiana Extreme but couldn't quite close the door, losing 6-3.
- The Bombers beat a stout Terre Haute Heat team 1-0 in an epic semi-final game that had the park buzzing. Matthew Lood and Josh Carney teamed up for a wild base running effort that had Carney sliding in with the go-ahead run just in front of the diving Heat catcher. To close up the win in the bottom of the seventh, Patrick Mastrian threw a strike to catcher Nolan Bowser from shallow left field after the Heat runner tried to score from first on a triple. Zach Lewis then coaxed a pop up to Mastrian to leave the Heat runner on third and maintain the shut out win.
- The Bombers had a fantastic time in Cincinnati while taking part in the GameDay Summer Championships at the beautiful Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Complex. Unfortunately, the Bombers finished 2-2 in the tournament, coming up short in the first round of the tournament. But the Reds game, parking lot whiffle ball, lobby Euchre and Kings Island made for a quality trip over the 4th of July.
- Rain was a problem throughout the season with several tournaments cutting pool play short, changing tournament plans or flat out canceling due to the poor weather. After a frustrating Saturday in Columbus GameDay Tournament, the rain turned out to be a highlight as it washed out the tournament on Sunday.
- As mentioned above the Bombers put it all together with a fantastic tournament run at Grand Park, finishing 7-0 in the tournament and beating the Indiana Reds, 3-1 to win the Grand Park Nationals title. Patrick Mastrian turned in a monster performance on the mound to help earn the title, throwing a complete game, no-hitter against a strong Reds team. The Bombers beat the Reds 5-4 earlier in pool play which was another fantastic effort to help put the Bombers in position for the title run.
- The Bombers went 3-2 overall in the GameDay Nationals but continued to play at a high level and compete to the final out on Sunday. Among several highlights and dingers by Mastrian, Nick Taylor and Jake Stadler over the four days, a defensive effort to escape a no-out, bases-loaded situation against the Indiana Flyers Black stands out. Zach Lewis hung tough on the mound and let his defense make plays behind him as Mastrian and Nolan Bowser both threw out runners at the plate on ground balls. Catcher Nick Taylor held on to scoop a throw from Bowser which frustrated the Flyers and left them with only one more chance to score. Another ground ball found its way to Mastrian who stepped on second base to end the threat.
- Patrick Mastrian stepped into the spotlight and put on a show during the tournament Home Run Derby on Friday night. With Coach Lewis trying to coax strikes in his wheelhouse, Mastrian was down to his last out and went on a dinger binge, driving six bombs out of the Park, including a few that went deep into the trees as the huge crowd surrounding the field began roaring with delight.
The Bombers enjoyed another fabulous trip to Omaha for the Slumpbuster tournament and College World Series experience, dialing up their level of play on the field this time around with an impressive effort, bowing out in the Gold Bracket quarterfinals to place fifth against a 64-team field. The long weekend run included a perfect 3-0 pool play record to earn the fifth seed in the top bracket filled with other elite teams from around the country.
Rain threatened to muck up pool play but eventually Thursday's 8am game was played at 10:30pm against the Team Colorado Rawlings (Denver, CO). A beautiful cool night turned goofy as the day drew to a close, but the Bombers were ready to roll in the first, saying hello to their opponents with five first-inning runs, highlighted by a double blasted to deep center field off the bat of Patrick Mastrian. The Bombers would go on to score in all five innings to post a 10-4 win.
Mastrian's 3-3 night at the plate helped fuel the win but the highlights also include no lights. At 11 pm the complex lights shut down leaving the Bombers in the dark for the second time in a year's time. After the lights finally returned and the clock turned to midnight, the field sprinklers turned on. Fortunately, there was no artificial rain out and the game finally finish at 12:30am CT on Friday.
Bombers 16, Wheaton (IL) Warriors 1
After the late night, the Bombers were able to sleep in and prepare for the remaining pool play games which started with a 16-1 win over the Wheaton Warriors Red (Wheaton, IL). The bats were rolling as the Bombers piled up 17 hits including a routine double by Matthew Lood. Mastrian and Zach Lewis pounded out three hit apiece and Walker Stull, Josh Carney, Nolan Bowser and Nick Taylor had two hits each. The win put the Bombers in position to go for a good seed in the Gold Bracket in their final pool play game.
Bombers 10, South Texas Sliders (Houston, TX) 3
The Bombers put forth their strongest effort to date when they combined timely hitting against strong pitching with strong pitching and exceptional defense to earn a 10-3 win over the heavy hitting South Texas Sliders (Houston, TX). Patrick Mastrian set the tone on the mound with three strike outs in two shut out innings to begin the game. The Bombers kept the Sliders scoreless until the last of the last in the seventh inning.
On offense the Bombers hung tough against a filthy combination of fastballs and gnarly breaking balls from the Sliders' starter over the first five innings. Walker Stull and Josh Carney set the table in the top of the first with a pair of hits and scored on close plays at the plate despite three strikeouts. The Bombers eventually knocked out the starter and then took control in the top of the seventh with 5 runs. Jake Stadler delivered the big blow with a two-run double. The win earned a five-seed in the tournament's top bracket.
Bombers 6, Missouri Stixx 2 (St. Louis, MO)
The Bombers won their first tournament game to advance to the final eight with a 6-2 win over the Missouri Stixx (St. Louis, MO). Patrick Mastrian knocked in three runs while battling through a tender hammy to once again spark the Bombers' offense. Thanks to a sketchy lefty move by the Stixx, the Bombers weren't able to take full advantage of their 10 hits. Fortunately, the team kept their poise and took care of business on defense.
Jake Stadler had a stellar start on the mound, giving up just two runs in four innings before giving way to Nick Taylor who closed out the Stixx.
Utah Yard Dawgs 9, Bombers 0
The Bombers ran into a buzzsaw in the quarterfinals, running out of offensive mojo and losing in frustrating fashion, 9-0 to the Utah Yard Dawgs. After jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first, the Yard Dawgs used strong pitching and defense to thwart every scoring opportunity the Bombers had, leaving them scoreless despite six hits.
Despite the loss, the Bombers enjoyed a great run in Omaha against strong competition to finish the week 4-1. The effort lifted their overall season record to 17-9-1.
The OYO Bombers made a late entry into the Hit For They Cycle tournament and then made a late run into the 20-team field before coming up short in the semi-finals, losing to the eventual tournament champ, Indiana Eagles Blue in frustrating fashion.
The Bombers were 1-1 in pool play, losing 11-5 to the Indy Vipers Blue in a game with little redeeming value. The Bombers bounced back to run past the Indy Vipers Red, 10-2 in a tidy five-inning game. Jake Stadler set the tone on the mound early and the Bombers' aggressive effort on the bases helped the runs pile up.
In tournament play, the Bombers blew open a tight game against the Fishers Tigers with a 6-run fifth inning to finish off the Tigers and advance to Sunday play. Matthew Lood and Walker Stull delivered the big hits, knocking in two runs apiece.
In the round of eight, the Bombers did their damage in the third inning, busting through a loud and annoying 1-1 game with and 8-run outburst on their way to a 13-5 win over the Indiana Eagles Orange. Zach Lewis, Nolan Bowser and Josh Carney eached drove in two runs to help fuel the offense.
The tournament ended in the semis with a 6-4 loss to the Indiana Eagles Blue. After falling behind 4-0 in the first, it appeared the Bombers would eventually rally past the Eagles, but several opportunities slipped by in the final three innings, before the Eagles sealed up the win.
The 3-2 tournament effort improved the Bombers record to 13-8-1 on the season.
After a strong showing in Florence, the Bombers came up short in the Florence Freedom Memorial Day Classic, losing 7-0 in the championship game to the Bluegrass (Lexington, KY) Xpress. The Bombers advanced to the final game with an impressive 11-1 win over the Louisville Shockers in the semis.
Bombers 11, Shockers 1
After a slow start, falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Bombers came alive at the plate, eventually blowing the game open with nine runs in the top of the sixth to reward a quality effort on the mound by Jake Stadler and Walker Stull. Stadler was forced to work his way out of a jam in the first, but limited the damage to one run by luring the shockers into a harmless fly ball to Stull in centerfield to strand another run at third base.
The Bombers took the lead for good in the top of the fourth inning with a pair of runs. Zach Lewis drew a walk to lead off and advanced to second on a single by Patrick Mastrian. Stadler helped his cause with a monster two-out hit to score both Lewis and Mastrian which sparked the eventual win.
After Stull took over on the mound for the final two innings, the Bombers finally exploded in the top of the sixth. Stull and Lewis lead off the rally with a single. Nolan Bowser walker to load the sacks followed by another single from Mastrian. Stadler came through again with a double to score three more runs and the route was on.
Jacob Graff singled to score Stadler, then Eli Clotfelter singled to score Graff after Josh Carney walked (sensing a trend here). Matthew Lood earned his way on via an error after smacking a triple earlier in the game. Stull and Lewis earned their second hits of the inning to score Clotfelter, Carney and Lood and wrap up the offensive onslaught.
The win earned a rematch with the Bluegrass Xpress Blue in the trophy round.
Bluegrass Xpress 7, Bombers 0
The Bombers gave the Xpress all they could handle early in the championship game as Patrick Mastrian engaged in a power pitching duel to keep the Xpress scoreless through the first three innings. A few timely hits in the fourth inning lead to a four-run fourth and the Xpress didn't look back.
In a game of inches, a shot to the gap in the fifth inning was nearly a line-drive double play but instead turned into a three-run inside-the-park HR on the cavernous turf outfield at UC Health Stadium.
The Bombers were never able to cash in their scoring chances coming up empty after scattering six hits throughout the game. Nick Taylor had two of those hits with Mastrian, Zach Lewis, Jake Stadler and Matthew Lood picking up one hit each.
The 1-1 tournament record moved the Bombers to 10-6-1 on the season.
The OYO Bombers finished pool play at the Florence (KY) Freedom Memorial Day Classic with a 2-1 record which was good enough to earn a No. 2 seed ad a trip to the semi-finals. After losing the opener 18-7 to the Bluegrass (Lexington, KY) Express Blue, the Bombers bounced back to pound Ram Baseball (Cincinnati, OH) 10-2 and the Lebanon (OH) Warriors 11-0 to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Bluegrass Express 18, Bombers 7
The Bombers opened pool play against a stout opponent from Lexington, getting an early lift from a double-play by Patrick Mastrian in the first inning which squashed an early rally by the Express. The big-hitting Express didn't stay down long, rallying for nine runs in the third inning to seize control of the outcome.
The Bombers did have some offensive highlights, scoring seven runs on 12 hits. Nolan Bowser, Nick Taylor, Jake Stadler and Josh Carney each rapped two hits with Stadler driving in a pair of runs.
Bombers 10, Ram Baseball 2
Patrick Mastrian struck out two to greet the Ram Baseball squad with a goose egg in the top of the first, then the Bomber bats went to work with Walker Stull singling to begin a nine-run rally in the bottom of the first. After Stull scampered around the bases to score on a wild pitch, Nick Taylor knocked in Zach Lewis and Jacob Graff singled home Nolan Bowser. The Bombers then scored six runs with two outs thanks to five consecutive singles by Josh Carney, Eli Clotfelter, Matthew Lood, Stull and Lewis.
From there Mastrian and Nick Taylor kept Ram on lockdown from the mound, surrendering just two runs. Mastrian ended the game at the plate with a single that invoked the run-rule win even though the smash in the gap was actually an inside-the-park dinger.
Bombers 11, Warriors 0
The Bombers made quick work of the Warriors with an impressive effort at the plate and in the field. Walker Stull and Zach Lewis opened the game with a pair of singles with Stull scoring via Lewis' hit. Jake Stadler later came through with a two-out hit to score Lewis and Patrick Mastrian, giving the Bombers a 3-0 lead they would never relinquish.
In the top of the third, Lewis, Mastrian and Stadler played a familiar role with Lewis singling to lead off the inning, Mastrian earning a walk and Stadler knocking both in.
The Bombers put the game on ice with six runs in the fourth inning. After Eli Clotfelter and Matthew Lood set the table, Stull and Lewis singled to score the first two before Nolan Bowser found the gap for a triple to score the next two. Mastrian singled home Bowser and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Taylor.
Meanwhile on the mound, the Bombers teamed up to come within one out of a combined no hitter, ending with a one-hit shutout to move into tourney play thanks to the quality mound work from Jake Stadler, Jacob Graff and Eli Clotfelter.
Following pool play the Bombers improved 9-5-1 on the season and will play the Lousiville (KY) Shockers in the semis.
The 13U Bombers put in some extra work hitting before taking the field at Billericay Park and the effort paid off when the bats exploded during a 14-5, 16-6 sweep of the Fishers Tigers. In the two games combined, the Bombers piled up 29 hits, including six home runs, and 30 runs in 11 total innings, failing to score in just two innings. So let's get into the good stuff.
Bombers 14, Tigers 5
The Bombers eased into the scoring binge in the first inning of game one when Patrick Mastrian smacked a base hit up the middle to bring home Zach Lewis. Josh Carney started the second inning off with a hit and then scored along with Eli Clotfelter on a bases-loaded single by Lewis. Quality ABs by Nolan Bowser and Mastrian followed as they hit grounders to second base allowing Jake Stadler and Lewis to score and extend the lead to 5-2.
Then the fireworks started as the Bombers were rolling in the third inning. Jacob Graff smoked a fastball outta the park in right-center for his first home run of the season. Then with two outs, the Bombers scrounged up a couple more runs. Stadler slammed a double to score Clotfelter and then Lewis sizzled another single to plate Stadler to put the Bombers in control, 8-2.
Patrick Mastrian led off the fourth with a monster blast to right-center allowing him to trot around the bases. Nick Taylor was then beaned, drilled again on a pickoff throw but eventually scored when Graff grounded into a double play. Mastrian kept rolling in the sixth inning with a two-run jack to left field to cap a three-hit, five RBI game from the clean-up spot. Graff and Stadler capped off the scoring by knocking in two more runs as the game was stopped after six innings.
The Bombers wasted little time jumping on the Tigers in game two as the home team. After surrendering a run in the top half, the offense took over to put the Bombers in the lead for good.
Walker Stull, Zach Lewis and Nolan Bowser each singled and then eased their way home after Patrick Mastrian crushed a Grand Slam to right-center for his third dinger of the day. With no outs, the Bombers kept rolling with hits from Nick Taylor and Jacob Graff followed by walks from Josh Carney and Eli Clotfelter to score Taylor. Walker Stull completed the first-inning scoring binge in style with his own Grand Slam to center field.
The Bombers resumed the scoring in the bottom of the third after singles by Nolan Bowser and Mastrian set the table, Jake Stadler singled to score both. Then in the bottom of the fourth, Carney and Clotfelter set the table with a pair of walks and advanced the third and second allowing Coach Bowser to make a bold call and give 'Slam' Stull the bunt sign. Stull put the ball in play nicely allowing to give himself up to score Carney. Lewis followed with a single to score Clotfelter which put the Bombers up 13-3.
After giving up three runs in the top of the fifth, the Bombers invoked the 10-run rule in the bottom half with three more runs. Nick Taylor quickly added the first run, leading off by muscling a dinger into the trees behind the left-field fence. Stadler walked and scored the second run on a double by Carney. Graff singled and eventually scored the final run when Stull drew a bases-loaded walk to wrap up the action.
The two wins improved the Bombers record to 7-4-1 on the season as the kick things into high gear at the Florence Freedom Memorial Day Classic in Florence, KY over Memorial Day weekend.
The 13U Bombers weren't able to overcome an early 5-0 deficit before eventually losing 9-0 to the aptly named Ohio Elite in pool play of the TDS Crossroads Qualifier.
Once again, the Bombers were unable to plate a run as Walker Stull, Patrick Mastrian and Josh Carney provided the only hits in the game. Unfortunately, the Bombers were unable to get back on the field for the rest of the weekend due to a combination of poor weather and an equally poor desire by the host site to prep the fields after the rain finished falling on Sunday. At least I had time to mow the lawn on Sunday afternoon, although I did have to apply some sunscreen. I'm sure the fields were still a mess, though.
Regardless, the loss to the Ohio Elite dropped the Bombers to 5-4-1 on the season. The team looks forward to celebrating a scored run in their next outing, a doubleheader on Sunday (3pm/5pm) at Billericay Park against the Fishers Tigers.
The Bombers opened pool play in the TBS Crossroads Qualifier with a tough-luck 2-0 loss to the Bulls White on Friday night at Grand Park.
Great pitching and defense are usually the foundation for a win but both teams delivered that combo which meant something had to give and the Bombers simply weren't able to cash in on any scoring opportunities.
Walker Stull and Matthew Lood teamed up on the mound to give up just four hits and two runs as the defense behind them put forth a stout effort in the field. Stull started the game and gave up one run in five efficient innings to keep the game tight.
The Bombers had a few scoring opportunities but came up short in the hunt for a timely hit, limited to just three hits for the game. Jake Stadler and Zach Lewis each singled, but the signature highlight of the night came from Patrick Mastrian who blistered a fastball, sending it screaming to deep centerfield for a stand-up triple.
The loss dropped the Bombers to 5-3-1 as they resume pool play on Saturday morning against the Ohio Elite at 11:15 a.m. on Field 11 at Grand Park.
The Bombers played one inning of baseball in pool play of the Boiler Breakout on Saturday before the cold and extensive rain ended play for the day and minimized pool play to one game.
As it turned out, the Boiler Breakout tournament ended up being a doubleheader against the Northern Stars (Lafayette, IN). Unfortunately, the Bombers won the pool play game, 5-4 but ended up losing the first tournament game, 6-0 to complete one of the longer doubleheaders the Bombers have ever endured.
In the pool play win, Walker Stull, Nick Taylor, Matthew Lood, Eli Clotfelter, Nolan Bowser, Jake Stadler and Patrick Mastrian teamed up on the mound to allow only three hits and nurse home the win. Stadler, Bowser and Zach Lewis all knocked in runs with Stadler collecting two hits in the game.
In the tournament loss, the Bombers fell behind 3-0 but were never able to mount a rally on offense despite the strong defense backing up a solid pitching effort from Walker Stull, Nick Taylor, Jake Stadler and Patrick Mastrian. Taylor rapped the only two hits of the game for the Bombers as they struggled at the plate against a solid pitching outing from the Stars.
The highlights of the tournament weekend were reserved for off-field activities, including indoor putt putt and a lethal dad's air hockey tournament won by Todd Stull while trying to wait out the rain on Saturday. On Sunday, the Bowser crew took the lead on a strong tailgating effort behind the right field fence.
The Bombers left Lafayette with a 5-2-1 record for the season.
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