Early Glory at the USSSA Spring Training NIT
- Written on Thursday, 07 March 2013
- Written by Brian Chin
|USSSA Spring Training NIT
|Team Russell at West Cobb 14U AAA - Kennesaw, GA|
|Team Russell at West Cobb took honors of their first USSSA title of the spring in the Spring Training NIT. The 14U squad from Kennesaw, Georgia came away with a 4-3 win against the Swamp Cats thanks to a game winning single by AJ Diaz in the championship game.
It was back and forth the entire game. Tied at 3-3, Team Russell had a lead-off hit and the runner moved to second due to a pass ball. AJ Diaz came up swinging and lined one past the first base line which scored the winning run to end the game.
Team Russell brought energy to both sides of their game, as both the offense and pitching were on
par. The bats put up 11.25 runs per game in the series, including a 16-4 victory against the Crossroads
Gladiators in the semifinals. They had beaten the same Gladiators team, 10-4, in the second game of
The 14U squad was able to play through some freezing, un-baseball-like temperatures.
"We faced a great pitcher in the championship game, we stayed composed and didn't get rattled. I also told the boys, the more you stay out on the field, the colder you'll get, so let's hurry up and get us out of innings", an enthusiastic Coach David Miller said.
The pitching was brilliant, as the boys on the mound surrendered only 2.75 runs per game, including
a 15-0 shutout over the Swamp Cats in game one of pool play. Team Russell puts a mark on their first
tournament of the season, as they went 4-0.
|SEB - South East Baseball 13U AAA - Buford, GA|
|Playing their first tournament of the season was South East Baseball. The SEB outlasted the Covington Sting with a 13-8 victory in the championship game.
This was a match that South East Bastball trailed 7-0 in the first inning. Trey Felt came in relief in the first with no-out and went the remainder of the game allowing just 1 run. SEB stored back with a miraculous run as they put across 13 runs to claim victory in the game.
"This is a group of boys that work hard. They keep on hitting, never get down or discouraged, they showed a lot of character", coach Adam Brandenburg said after the comeback.
SEB Baseball put up heavy offense throughout the series. Their bats led the 13U squad to a 14-4 win over the Georgia Nationals in the semifinal. They defeated the Covington Sting, 10-8, and the North Georgia Dirt Devils, 11-3, in the first two games of pool play.
Major contributors included starting pitcher Daniel Westbury and Brandon Clinton who led the team offensively.
Despite allowing 5.75 runs per game, the offensive support scored 12 on average. All four matches came against in-class opponents, as the team from Buford, Georgia is 4-0 to start the spring.
|Social Circle Storm 12U - Social Circle, GA|
|Social Circle saw their first USSSA action in 2013, as they continue their season from the fall. The Storm immediately got off to a great start, as they captured the title for the 12U division with an 8-7 nail-biter over the Crusaders in the championship game.
The Storm trailed 3-0 early in the top of the first, but came right in the bottom of the inning with four runs. The Crusaders regained the lead, 5-4, in the third inning, but Starter Clay Branan got out of a bases loaded jam for the Storm.
It was in the 5th inning when Social Circle pushed across several more runs to give their team the edge for good. The Storm closed out the 8-7 win in the sixth.
"We have outstanding pitching and it was a good game for both teams. It was totally a team effort. We play as a team and we lose as a team", Coach Jim Peters said about his club.
The Social Circle kept a consistent pace throughout the tournament, as their offense averaged 8.5 runs per game. The 12U squad finished off the Georgia Stars American, 8-3, in the semifinals. Their pool play included a 12-7 win over the Georgia Select Navy in game two and a 6-4 victory over the First Strike Force in game one.
Despite allowing 5.25 runs per game, the Social Circle Storm finished the series 4-0 and captured their
second USSSA title dating back to last September. They improve to 14-6.
The skipper keeps his team in good spirits, "we take it one game at a time and keep heads up. Every weekend we look to win the championship game".
|Grayson Rams 11U - Grayson, GA|
|After coming away with their first USSSA title of the season in the First Pitch Freeze two weekends ago, the Grayson Rams followed it up with a title at the Spring Training NIT. Make it 2-for-2 in 2013 for the squad from Grayson.
The Rams finished off the tournament with a 9-4 victory over the Gwinnett Storm in the championship game. They also had a 7-5 win over the SEB in the semifinals. Grayson defeated the Georgia Crackers, 5- 2, and the Jackson County Panthers, 7-4, in the first two games of pool play.
Despite a game three loss in the series, the Grayson Rams went 4-1 in the series. All of their matches
were decided by 1 run or less. The Rams 11U are rolling at 7-3.
|Orange Crush 10U - Milledgeville, GA|
|An intense championship game saw a riveting match between two notable organizations. Coming away with a 10-9 victory however, was the Orange Crush, as they defeated the Grayson Rams in the championship game.
Their consistent offense has kept them above the competition as they took out the Athens Aces, 10-2, in the semifinals. They also defeated the Aces, 10-1, in game two of pool play and the Sharon Springs Spartans, 6-2, in game one.
The offense scored 9 runs per game, while the pitching limited the opposition to 3.5 runs per game. The Crush post a 4-0 record on the year.
|East Cobb Mets 9U - Marietta, GA|
|The East Cobb Mets from Marietta, Georgia, wiped the Augusta River Bandits, 11-2, in the championship game. The Mets are USSSA champions for the second time this season, as they continue action from the fall.
East Cobb outmatched the Oconee Cubs, 13-7, in the semifinals. The quality pitching limited opposing offense in pool play with a 14-1 win over the Oconee Crabs and a 15-1 victory against the NGBA Aces.
"Players played hard and pitching was key. We worked hard all winter, everyone stayed focused, we came out and won", a proud Coach Randy Fricks said after the victory.
The offense amassed 13.25 runs per game and the pitching and defense combined for a 2.75 ERA. The
Mets finish with a 4-0 record and improve to 11-6 on the season.
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