by Jason Hanes
Trying to bounce back after a tough loss in their opening game, Colorado Slammers 13u found its offense in a big way, earning a 14-2 win over the Dallas Raiders in pool play at the Triple Crown U.S. Club Nationals Wednesday afternoon.
"The kids were patient in the box," said Slammers head coach Darin Carr. "The zones today were tight, but they were consistent. Our kids did a good job of being patient, waiting on their pitch, and then banging it out when they got it."
The Slammers got the scoring started in the home half of the first with four runs touching the plate. Ashtin Gilio, Ashton Perry, and Connor Cholez each had extra-base hits with one out to start the hitting spree. After a Thomas Munch RBI single to left made it 3-0, Gavin Hunt's squibber down the line at third stopped in fair territory and allowed the fourth run to come home.
Dallas would get on the board in the top of the second thanks to Walker DeBord and James Hines drawing bases loaded walks to cut the lead in half, 4-2.
In the bottom of the second, the flood gates would open and the Slammers would shut the door with a nine-run frame. Gilio and Perry would each plate a run, then Cholez punched a shot into left field for a two-run single to make it 8-2 with still no one out in the inning.
Cholez knew if he was patient, his pitches would come during his at-bats. "I knew I would get a strike, even if the pitcher was being inconsistent," Cholez said. "So I took the fastball [in the first at-bat] and pulled that one, and then went opposite field on the other one."
Austin Carr, Gavin Hunt, and Sawyer Amato would each add an RBI in the inning, with two errors leading to two other runs as the score sat at 13-2 after the second. An error allowed the Slammers to tack on another run in the third. The game would come to a time limit conclusion one inning later.
"It's a big win for us," Cholez said. "A lot of teams can shut down when they go 0-2. To get a win, no matter the competition, was really important."
"We probably should have won our first game," coach Carr said, "but this group is a resilient bunch. They knew they needed to wash away that first game and come back and go 1-1 on the day."
The Slammers will continue pool play Thursday morning against Dallas Tigers East. The Dallas Raiders close their Wednesday against the Canes before facing 6-4-3 DP Thursday morning.