Arriving from Colorado, one might expect the 13u Slammers team needed a game or two to adjust to Georgia’s hot and humid climate. However, Mark Holzemer’s team came racing out of the starting gate, earning a big win, 12-4, over the Dallas Patriots to open up its US Club Nationals campaign.
“We learned a good lesson last year,” said coach Holzemer. “We knew we couldn’t take anything for granted this year and we had to come out ready to go. The Dallas Patriots are a good team, but we were able to capitalize on a few of their mistakes.”
On the mound, Tyler Mejia earned the start for the Colorado Natives. In the opening frame, Mejia let a Patriot base runner reach second before picking him off to end the inning.
“It feels good to start off this tournament on the right foot,” said Mejia. “Blake (Young) was setting up in the right spots. I think we were ready for this all along.”
Slammers wasted no time jumping out to an early lead. Three straight walks loaded the bases, allowing for Brant Kragel to grab the first RBI with a single. Three runs would cross the plate before Dallas could muster the final out.
Mejia ran into a bit of trouble in the second inning, surrendering a lead-off triple. Back-to-back strikeouts kept the Patriots at bay until they finally produced a single, cutting into the Slammers’ lead.
The Slammers seemed undeterred, though, going right back to work in the bottom half of the inning. Loading the bases for the second time in as many innings, Chase Tompkins, Colby Cruser and Blake Young all notched an RBI. By the end of the inning, the Slammers had stretched its lead out, 7-1.
“You have to stay patient,” said Young. “I say to look away and adjust in. Once I had a pitch to hit, I just wanted to make solid contact.”
Slammers kept up the offensive production on the third inning. This time, Holzemer’s team utilized back-to-back hit by pitches to kick start the offense, before scoring three more runs, taking the commanding, 10-1 advantage.
With a sizable lead in hand, Holzemer opted to tab Hunter Holzemer to finish the game off. Holzemer had a bit of a hiccup in the fourth inning, giving up three runs on two hits, but calmed down quickly to end the frame without too much damage.
“We know how good the Patriots are,” said coach Holzemer. “We started with our number one pitcher but as the game wore on, we had a opportunity to save Tyler and go with somebody we knew could get the job done. It’s going to be huge for us in the long run to save our pitching.”
Two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning set the score at 12-4. All the Slammers needed was three outs to claim the first win of the tournament. Holzemer settled in for the quickest inning of the contest, grabbing a fly out, strikeout and a ground out to end the game.
Slammers continues its journey through US Club Nationals pool play with a game against the Georgia Bombers Wednesday afternoon in East Cobb.
Tags: Baseball, Triple Crown Baseball, US Club Nationals