After dropping an 11-1 decision in Game 1 on Wednesday at US Club Nationals, the 9u 6-4-3 DP Athletics had reason to feel a bit surly looking ahead.
A date with the East Cobb Colt .45s in the heat of the day was not going anywhere, however, and the Athletics got back on track with a robust 15-11 victory at Kell softball field that featured some great hits. More importantly, the team got some timely relief pitching and made precious outs when it seemed both teams would run wild until sundown.
Ben Hill wriggled out of severe trouble for 1 2/3 innings, and Danya Naturman allowed one harmless run to wrap up the victory for the Athletics, who took a 9-1 lead but saw East Cobb tie it at 9-all.
“We just didn’t hit well this morning. What helped us out here, the first inning we just pounded the ball,” said Athletics coach Kelvin Knight. “That kept their energy up even when (East Cobb) came back. They didn’t drop their heads, they stayed in it, and we actually ended up playing good defense at the end.”
Extra base hits from Isander Poventul, Seth Geter and Joshua Butler fueled the first-inning burst of nine runs for the Athletics, but East Cobb had an answer. Braden Barrett and Blake Spivey each had two-RBI hits as the .45s used everything from stolen bases to balks to get back in contention.
Geter had another double, and with East Cobbs pitchers walking eight batters in the final 2-plus innings, enough runners were available to regain the lead before the relief crew shut the door.
“It’s because of the coaches – they kept us hydrated, kept us moving and running,” said Geter, who had two RBI. “I’ve been swinging pretty good, not nervous at all. We came into this playing pretty well.”
“I was saying to myself, lock on the glove and throw strikes,” said Naturman, who also drove in two runs in the first inning. “Strikes are king for pitching. I didn’t want the ball to hit the ground, because it gets away and lets the other team score runs. I was a little down in the dumps (after the first game), but we came back.”
East Cobb’s Drew Harmon scored a run in the final inning, but Naturman rang up the final three outs in succession – a line drive to third (and a nice catch from Poventul), a popout to the pitcher and then a tapper to the mound.
“Love to get those outs. Throwing strikes is key, because once you starting walking people, give up a base hit, the floodgates open,” Knight added. “They did a tremendous job.”
The Athletics are back in action Thursday at 9 a.m. against the Central Alabama Nationals at Kell softball field. The 45s (0-2) will also play the Nationals at Kell, at 11:20 a.m.
Tags: Baseball, Triple Crown Baseball, US Club Nationals