The 12U Bombers went into JWB mode after a slow start to eventually beat the Indiana Aces 8-4 and improve their record to 6-1 for the season.
On a chilly night at OYO Memorial Park (c'mon, was it really that cold?), the Bombers gave up just two earned runs and three hits behind the pitching combo of Jacob Graff, Zach Lewis, Nick Taylor and Nolan Bowser.
The Bombers turned things into a track meet on offense with 18 stolen bases which helped generate eight runs despite having just four hits on the night. Ty Johnson delivered at the plate with an RBI single and a double, as Jake Stadler and Mason Montgomery collected the other two hits.
While style points were few and far between in this one, the Bombers were able to handle their business when it mattered and follow the ol' Al Davis mantra: Just win, baby!
Next up: The Bombers have the weekend off and will return to action at OYO next Wednesday when they host the Indiana Pony Express at 6:30 to tune up for the Florence Freedom tournament the following weekend.
After a rough start in pool play, the 12U Bombers showed up early and scored often to work their way through the tournament bracket on Sunday until they were the
last team standing in Columbus, holding the first place trophy and celebrating another tournament win to start the 2014 season in style.
The Bombers arrived at Lincoln Park around 7a.m. on Sunday, just as the sun was trying to nudge its way up over the horizon, with a familiar mission at hand. To win another tournament, they had to show up focused on all things big and small while remaining mentally prepared to deliver the goods all day after playing their way out of a bye in pool play on Saturday.
Fortunately, these boys love a good challenge when it comes down to loser-out tournament play which made their march through the Hoosier Spring Swing tons of fun. The trophy-hunting gauntlet started with an 8-3 win over the Indiana Explosion in the 8 a.m. game. In the noon semifinal game, the Bombers jumped on the Indiana Hurricanes early and then held on for an 8-4 win to take out their nemesis from the 11U campaign. Finally at 4 p.m., after wasting an initial 8-run lead in the first inning, the Bombers scored six runs with 2 outs in the third inning to run away from the Indy Vipers blue, 17-9 in the championship game.
Tying the action from all three games together only makes sense considering the all 11 players impacted the end result in some way throughout the day, which isn't surprising but remains remarkable. In fact, each player scored at least one run in the championship game which is borderline nutty, so it makes sense to go through the lineup and note the highlights over the three games.
- Walker Stull: Closing my eyes and thinking of Walker's weekend brings forth a vision of a laser line drive to right center field. The lead off hitter was fantastic at the plate all weekend while also patrolling the outfield. Stull also brought his big-game chops on the mound to get the day started right with three strong innings against the Explosion.
- Mason Montgomery: Montgomery relieved Stull on the mound to keep the Explosion scoreless while the Bomber offense kicked into gear in the first game of the day. But Mase made his hay at the plate all weekend, highlighted by an absolute bomb against the Hurricanes that was crushed well over the left fielder dropping just before the warning track on the massive softball field which gave Montgomery more than enough time to sprint around the bases for his second home run of the season. Again, CRUSHED!
- Jake Stadler: Stadler delivered his usual offensive spark for the Bombers ripping a double in the championship game while scoring two runs, but his defense at third base and behind the plate was rock solid all day for the Bombers, helping to give that offense room to breathe. Stadler also came in to tidy up the championship game on the mound with more drama-free work on the mound.
- Patrick Mastrian: The Bombers' shortstop was on point Sunday handling the middle of the infield quite well and making it look easy. Matrisano made an appearance in the semifinal game to close out the win by overwhelming several Hurricane batters after making things interesting. Mastrian also had his bat working for much of the weekend, but just has to work on the hit it where they ain't aspect of the game. The good news is the game owes him several hits for those robbed in various forms over the weekend.
- Nick Taylor: There's a third baseman who likely had a restless night sleep on Sunday night, suffering from flashbacks after Taylor tested the physical limits of the Wilson A1030's, ripping the ball past the Vipers' third baseman before he could react to move his glove. The low line drive was past the left fielder before he could take his second step, giving Taylor a very loud double. Nick's play in the outfield, at third base and behind the plate also contributed greatly to the sound defensive effort that helped deliver this tournament win.
- Nolan Bowser: Bowers put in a lot of work behind the dish on Sunday to help anchor the Bombers defense and handle a variety of pitchers. He also had the bat working, even taking requests in the Explosion game to get on track. After seeing the Explosion leave a major gap in left-center field for much of the game, I begged Bowser to exploit the opening prior to his at bat in the sixth inning. Four pitches later he smoked one right over the shortstop which made it through the gap for a double. Easy game.
- Jacob Graff: Graff spent much of the weekend in Columbus as a valuable defensive player, handling action all over the outfield, along with second base and shortstop. As the weekend progressed and the stakes of the games increased, Graff's bat came alive culminating in a big game at the plate in the championship game with four RBIs on a pair of timely hits.
-Ty Johnson: Playing in his first tournament with the Bombers, Ty came up big at money time with a huge effort on the mound in the championship game. Johnson fought through a tough first inning when his defensive support let him down, but still finished the game throwing four innings and giving up six hits and three earned runs while also striking out eight Vipers. Johnson smacked the ball around the park all day, as well with five hits in the three games.
-Shaun Shipley: Ship came up big for the Bombers during their championship run on Sunday, doing his part defensively by playing a little outfield and third base and a lot of second base. He also delivered in the deciding 6-run third inning against the Vipers with a single to score Johnson which kept the rally alive.
- Matthew Lood: After the Bombers jumped on the Hurricanes for five runs in the first inning of the semifinal matchup, Lood made it stick with his typical Sunday best on the mound. While all of Lood's arsenal of pitches may not have been in mid-season form, his ability to compete and paint corners when it counts was primed and ready. The heavy-hitting Hurricanes struggled to mount a rally against Lood who gave up just two hits and no earned runs while striking out four in what was essentially the first championship game of the day.
- Zach Lewis: Z Lew has always been a morning person so it is no surprise he knocked in a couple of runs in the first game of the day against the Explosion. He also spent the weekend filling the utility gap on defense in the outfield and at second and first base. Lewis had a highlight play in the semifinal at first base. With a runner at second, he dove to his right to backhand a hard ground ball, then bounced up and dove to touch the bag before the runner while also making sure the runner remained at third base after the out.
As you can see, by the time sun was setting and we were all headed, there were plenty of big and gutsy plays from the Bombers to wrap up another memorable weekend. After beating the Vipers, the Bombers are now 5-1 on the season.
Next up: The Bombers play the Indiana Aces at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at OYO.
The 12U Bombers bounced back after a disappointing loss earlier in the day to beat the Indy Vipers Blue, 8-3 at the Hoosier Spring Swing tournament in Columbus, IN.
The Bombers are often able to find ways to win even with their bats are up for delivering the path of least resistance to a W. Some combination of pitching, defense and applying pressure on the base paths often does the trick and on this warm, sunny Saturday afternoon all three factors came together nicely for the boys in blue. Matthew Lood, Ty Johnson and Patrick Mastrian combined on the mound to keep the Vipers under wraps, making their heat more effective with an efficient use of off-speed pitches and then letting the defense behind them take care of the rest.
The Bombers showed great patience at the plate, forcing the Vipers' pitchers to numerous deep counts and while working their way on base enough to plate nine runs on just three hits. Smart, aggressive base running kept the Vipers D out of sorts and while giving the OYO trio of pitchers the run support they needed to go for the kill on the mound. Just a solid, quality, bounce-back win.
Let's go trophy hunting!
Favorite Play of the Game: The Bombers broke things open in the bottom of the fourth inning by scoring three two-out runs. Walker Stull came up with the bases loaded and two outs, as the Bombers were trying cash in on another scoring opportunity that seemed to be slipping away. After Nolan Bowser snuck home on a pass ball, Stull smoked a shot up the middle to score Lood and Zach Lewis. An actual timely hit to score two actual runs. Baseball in its purest form.
Next up: If you are reading this on Saturday night, go to bed. The Bombers have a long day planned in Columbus which will begin with their first loser-out tournament game at 8 a.m against the Indiana Explosion. A win puts the Bombers in the semis at 12 p.m. with the championship game at 4 p.m.
The 12U Bombers opened pool play at the Hoosier Spring Swing tournament in Columbus, IN with with a 14-4 loss to the Yorktown (IN) Tigers.
A beautiful Saturday morning turned ugly early for the Bombers as the Tigers took advantage of a few early scoring opportunities to jump on the Bombers for an early 4-0 lead. Timely hitting would tell the tale in this one as the Bombers struggled to string together the requisite amount of hits to spark a real rally, while the Tigers kept the Bombers chasing them all game with a few key, dispiriting hits.
The loss puts the Bombers in a bit of a bind for the trophy hunt in tournament play on Sunday which will now require three wins. Fortunately, this team has had to travel this path in the past, so taking care of their next pool play game and then showing up ready to roll will always make the Bombers a tough out in any tournament they play.
Favorite Play of the Game: The Tigers had their share of big hits but Matthew Lood and Walker Stull teamed up to deny one Yorktown batter of an extra-base hit. On a deep drive into the left-center field gap, both Lood and Stull made a fantastic effort to get to the ball. Lood arrived first, but decided to reward Stull's effort to chase it down and tipped the ball to Stull who was ready to catch the carom off Lood's glove. At least, that's how I saw it.
Next up: The Bombers continue pool play on Saturday when they face the Indy Vipers Blue at Lincoln Park.
When I was in college, one summer I painted houses on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. One of our clients had a chain link fence going around the back half of the house which also kept the home owner's two doberman pinschers from roaming the neighborhood. These dogs were vicious and the owner made sure to keep them housed when we had to work on the back of the house.
So one morning, I arrived with my crew to work on the back and checked out the yard to make sure the coast was clear. But shortly after going through the gate, the owner opened the back door and the two dogs burst out and before I could retreat a step, they were within three feet of me barking and slobbering, held back from mauling me by the grace of God that they heard the owner's command to not kill me.
The Bombers reminded me of those dogs on Wednesday night as they burst out onto the 2014 season ready to maul anything in their path with an impressive 18-3 win over the Diamond Cutters. Lead dog, Walker Stull fired up the hit train in the first AB of the season by smoking a line drive that crashed into the center field fence which sparked a 12-run first inning to stun the Diamond Cutters with a vicious hitting display highlighted by a towering home run off the bat of Mason Montgomery.
Jake Stadler added another home run in the third inning, part of a 5 RBI night for the lethal lefty. The Bombers finished the night hitting a collective 17 for 33 while also delivering a solid defensive effort to support a combined two-hitter on the mound by pitchers Matthew Lood, Ty Johnson, Walker Stull, Jacob Graff, Mason Montgomery and Patrick Mastrian.
1-0! Who's next?
Favorite Play of the Game: There were far too many laser shots at the plate to mention and even several PoG-worthy plays in the field, by Ty Johnson turned in a real beauty while holding down the hot corner in the fourth inning of his Bomber debut. Johnson dove to stop a hot shot down the third-base line and then popped up to fire a strike across the diamond to get the out at first.
The Bombers begin their first trophy hunt this weekend when they play in the Hoosier/Eagle Challenge at Lincoln Park in Columbus, IN
. Pool play begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning when the Bombers face the Yorktown Tigers, followed by a 1 p.m. game against the Indy Vipers Blue.
After a fabulous and fun 11U campaign, the now-12U Bombers return to the diamond at OYO Memorial Park on Wednesday evening to open the season against the Diamond Cutters.
The brutal Indiana winter is finally over after leaking into the spring and limiting the opportunities for the Bombers to get in a lot of practice outside. But don't worry, the boys have put in plenty of work, leaving them primed and ready to roll.
Indoor workouts at the pole barn started with a bang back in January as Patrick Mastrian woke up the joint as the first hitter in the cage by blasting a line drive to the back of the net. The sound of the ball banging off the sweet spot of the bat set the tone for that first workout with BP and one after the other, the boys took their turns crushing the ball. L-screen holes are now lethal with these guys.
In addition to all of the work inside on all facets of the game, the Bombers gathered one night a week for a core strength workout which kept the boys, and some of the parents, in tip-top shape. Speaking of the parents, they too had a phenomenal offseason, highlighted by organizing a spaghetti dinner fundraiser that was a ridiculous success. The boys showed up to the dinner in trophy hunting mode, serving all of the guests efficiently without no errors nor dropped meatballs.
So now it is time for the Bomber family to start the real season against the Diamond Cutters followed by the Hoosier/Eagle Tournament in Columbus, IN this weekend. A lot of miles along with plenty of challenging games lie ahead this season as we push this group to continue raising their level of play. After what we saw in their preparation for the season, they're looking forward to the challenge as much as we are.
Thank you to all of the players and parents who attended this year's Bomber tryouts. This was the most competitive group of players we have seen during our Bomber tryouts. In the end, we could only select eleven for this team. Congratulations to the following players, who have earned a roster spot on the 2014 - 12U Oaklandon Bombers:
The 11U Bombers ended the 2013 season with a tough 16-15 loss in extra innings to the Noblesville Heat to earn the runner-up trophy in the Bomber Bash.
A relentless effort by the Bombers, playing down to the last out salvaged what otherwise would've been a truly disappointing blow-out loss and turned it into a memorable classic when the Oaklandon 11refused to give in despite the trying circumstances. Noblesville jumped on the Bombers for three runs in the top of the first, but the Bombers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first and then another in the second to tie up the game.
In the top of the third, the Heat flipped the game in their favor scoring seven runs on six hits, capped off by a home run to take a 10-3 lead while leaving the Bombers stunned. The Bombers didn't lay down, though. Instead they started chipping away by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third as Jake Stadler, Patrick Mastrian and Nick Taylor all knocked in runs.
But rallies in the fourth and fifth innings came up short for the Bombers, while the Heat added three more runs to leave the Bombers staring at a 13-6 deficit heading into their final at bat of the season in the bottom of the sixth. Fortunately (well, depending on your point of view), the boys in red had been in a similar situation when they rallied to beat Triple Crown Blaze (OH) in the Spring Longball Championship
and earlier in the day they scored 13 runs in one inning against Zionsville. When Jake Stadler stepped to the plate to lead off the inning the Bombers tapped into all of that experience and went to work.
Here's how it broke down along with some extra inning craziness that eventually left the Bombers one run short.
- Stadler earns a walk and then Mastrian smokes a hot-hopper the Heat second baseman can't handle. Two on and no out. (13-6)
- With runners on second and third, Taylor rips a single to score Stadler and Mastrian. One on and still no one out. (13-8) Hmm, five runs seems much less daunting than seven and still no outs.
- The Bombers are in no hurry to swing unless they see a perfect strike. As the tension mounts, Mason Montgomery, Walker Stull and Matthew Lood all earn walks which pushes Taylor across the plate. Sacks full, still no outs (13-9)
- Griffin Lohman nearly earns a fourth walk, but ends up flying out to right field for the first out. Sacks still full, one out (13-9)
- After Zach Lewis took an up-and-in called strike two, he came out swinging on the next pitch and sizzled a single to right field to score Montgomery and put the tying run on first base. Bases loaded and one out (13-10)
- Now things would get really wild as Dawson Gabe stepped to the plate. Gabe represented the winning run and after taking a strike the big fella belted one over the left-fielder's head...wait a mintue! Is that getting outta here?!?!?! Bang...the ball peppered the fence two feet from clearing the top for a walk-off Granny. Wow! The loudest single any of us will ever witness. Stull scored and everyone moved up a base. Sacks full and one out. (13-11).
- Jacob Graff earns a walk to score Lood and move Lewis to third with the tying run. Sacks full, one out. (13-12)
- Nolan Bowser then hit a ground ball to shortstop and made it to first before Noblesville could turn a double play which brought Lewis home safely to tie the game. Runners at first and third, two out (13-13) With the comeback complete it was time to go for the win.
- Right back where the rally started, Jake Stadler worked an 0-2 count to full before hitting a shot to right field, but the Heat defender was able to track it down and send the game into extra innings.
- Simply another spectacular comeback effort by the Bombers, somehow finding a way to stay in the game.
- With a tie-breaker rule in effect, putting a runner at second base to start the inning, both teams were scoreless in the seventh inning which is a rare feat.
- The Bombers didn't go as quietly as it appears, though. Nick Taylor was unable to knock in the winning run as the second hitter in the seventh, but he did knock the first pitch he saw out of the park but it was foul by about the same amount as Gabe's shot in the sixth was short of going over the fence. Another walk-off denied in this game of inches.
- The Heat scored three in the top of the 8th which would hold up after the Bombers rallied for two runs behind four walks, but just couldn't get one more hit get the win.
- All credit and respect goes to the Noblesville Heat for their impressive win which included 12 hits and a strong backbone to hang on and hold off the furious rally by the Bombers. Truly an epic championship game to end the Bomber Bash.
The loss ended the Bombers season with a 40-16 record with plenty of great memories to take into the offseason.
Favorite play of the game: After Nick Taylor cut two runs off the 7-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth, the Bombers were thinking big and the natural instinct was to start counting up which player would tie the game and win it. While taking the temperature of the players to see if anyone needed some "you-can-do-it" motivation, I mentioned to Zach Lewis that he was currently the winning run. He replied, "Yes, I am!" with a level of confidence bordering on cockiness that surprised me. That spirit was pervasive in the dugout with none of the players shrinking under the pressure but instead looking to rise to the occasion. I knew we had a chance to complete the comeback if the baseball gods would cooperate. That they did, and this group of 11-year-olds just collectively willed themselves back into the game. They are still stunned they didn't end up winning, and that's a great thing.
The 11U Bombers won their second game of the day on Sunday, beating the Derby City (KY) Prospects, 3-1 to earn a third game where they will play for the Bomber Bash championship.
The tough Prospects team had the Bombers chasing early with sound defense and crafty pitching which kept the Bombers off balance and scoreless in their first three at bats. The Prospects took an early 1-0 lead with a timely two-out hit in the top of the second. That would be all of the runs the Bombers would surrender as Dawson Gabe stayed strong on the hill through four innings before Patrick Mastrian came on in the fifth inning to close out the win, including striking out the side in the sixth.
The Bombers just needed some runs and finally in the bottom of the fourth, they were able to scratch across two runs to take the lead. Nolan Bowser started the inning off with a hit, then a Jake Stadler was hit by a pitch and Mastrian earned a free pass to load the bases. Nick Taylor then hit a hot shot that the third baseman couldn't handle to score a run and leave the sacks full. Mason Montgomery then sold out to lay down a suicide sacrifice bunt to score Jake Stadler.
The Bombers picked up an insurance run in the fifth inning when a bases loaded situation turned nutty on a play at the plate. After a trio of walks with one out, Jacob Graff hit a ball back to the pitcher whose low throw to the plate appeared to be dropped by the catcher. Griffin Lohman was called out on a force play, but when the catcher kicked the loose ball away from the plate, Zach Lewis quietly scooted home without a play at the plate.
The win ensured the Bombers would end their Bomber Bash trophy hunt with some hardware but after logging their 40th win of the season, that first place trophy is the only thing in focus now.
Favorite play of the game: With the bases full in the fourth inning and the Prospects pitcher working out of the wind up, Jake Stadler drew his attention when he started racing home from third. As the Derby City pitcher rushed his delivery to throw the ball home, Mason Montgomery put his bat on the low throw to lay down a perfect suicide bunt and let Stadler slide home without a play. The play was executed so well it looked like it had to be illegal from the other side.
Next up: The Bombers play the Noblesville Heat in their last game of the season for the Bomber Bash championship.
The 11U Bombers advanced to the semifinals of the Bomber Bash with an impressive 16-3 win over the Zionsville Eagles on Saturday morning.
The Bombers turned a tight 3-2 game into a blowout when they started pounding the ball all over the park to score 13 runs in the bottom of the third inning. The eleven Bombers all hit and most hit twice as the Bombers had 18 at bats in the marathon half inning. Patrick Mastrian rose up to put away the Eagles with not one, but two big home runs in the 13-run barrage. Other Bombers to log hits in the run-rule rally included Mason Montgomery (twice!), Griffin Lohman, Zach Lewis, Jake Stadler and Wakler Stull. Patience at the plate and applying pressure on the base paths helped turn all of those hits into a lot of runs.
Jake Stadler kept the Eagles in check on the mound through three innings, then Zach Lewis recovered from a lead-off homer to retire the next three Eagles in order and end the game early on the 10-run rule. The win improved the Bombers record to 39-15 for the season and set up a semifinal matchup with the Derby City Prospects.
Favorite play of the game: After Nolan Bowser and Jake Stadler drew walks to open the bottom of the third, clean-up hitter Patrick Mastrian worked his way to a full count and then just unloaded on a fast ball for his first home run of the season, to jump-start the game-deciding rally. That ball bounced out of the park in a hurry and put a bounce in every Bombers' step to get a Sunday trophy hunt off on the right foot.
Next up: The Bombers play for a shot at the Bomber Bash trophy round when they face the Derby City (KY) Prospects in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon.