On the hottest day of the summer, perhaps the only thing hotter than the temperatures were the bats of the Dallas Tigers. After a loss to the East Cobb Astros the day before in pool play, the Tigers struck back in a big way with a 20-4 (4) win to advance to the winner’s bracket semifinal game in the 13u division of the Triple Crown U.S. Club Nationals.
The Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring eight times to stake starting pitcher Josh Livingston to a big lead before he ever stepped on the mound. Livingston helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single to keep the inning going.
“Pitching with the lead is a whole lot different than not,” said Tigers coach Chad Polk. “The Astros are a good, quality team that can hit the ball too. Even when we scored those eight runs, I still felt we had a lot of game to go. We didn’t treat it any differently than a tight game.”
“My team helped me out with some run support, because yesterday we played this team and didn’t do so well,” Livingston said, referencing his squad’s 13-7 loss to the Astros in pool play. “Going out and hitting around in the first inning really helped out.”
The Tigers would go ahead 11-0 after hitting in the top half of the second, but a grand slam in the bottom of the inning helped the Astros cut the lead to seven. With the Astros threatening to draw closer with two men in scoring position and one out, Livingston got out of the jam to keep the Astros stifled.
From there, the Tigers would roll the rest of the way. At least eight batters came to the plate in each of the final two innings as the Tigers would jump out to a commanding 20-4 victory.
“We were able to string together some good at bats,” coach Polk said. “That just shows focus. Our kids were focused to be able to do that.”
For Livingston, it was important to go the distance on the mound. “I just wanted to get through the game so we could save pitchers for tomorrow. Getting through with just one pitcher was big because we need all the pitchers we have available for tomorrow.”
Coach Polk knows his team is focused and ready for tomorrow’s 9 a.m. contest with 6-4-3 DP (GA), which will see the winner move to the championship game of the division. “This team has been in this position before,” he said. “We know when we get this deep in the bracket, they’re going to have a good pitcher to throw against us, and we’re going to have a good pitcher to throw against them. The team that can execute and can make a couple of plays will win the game.”
Tags: Baseball, Triple Crown Sports, US Club Nationals