Reds rally to beat Braves
By Ed Shepherd
A nice little rally, off a 2-0 deficit after half an inning of play, helped the Reds come back and defeat the Braves, 14-2, in a 10-run-rule championship game of the South Highline National Little League End Of Season tournament for the Minors division at Normandy Park City Hall Sunday.
The Reds, who finished with a league best 16-5 record, move on to play in the Tournament of Champions that South Highline National hosts starting June 13.
Maybe the nice little rally happened for a reason and these 9-10 year old boys for the Reds were already knowing and believing in themselves to erase that deficit, and, quickly.
"We preach to the whole team, it's a long game, don't let an error or getting behind in the game get them down. It's a long game, they can battle through it," said Reds manager Chad Parker.
First off the Braves made noise, scoring two runs on two hits as Owen McLean singled and Tristen Trujillo walked and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 for the Braves. Then, Ian Ritter's RBI single made it 2-0 Braves after the first inning completed.
Showing immediate moxy, the Reds came back in the bottom of the first inning with five runs on three hits and two of the hits were home runs.
Saverio De Simone singled a looping ball to right field, dropping in front of the fielder before Ronan Bishop singled a hard bouncing shot up the middle. Runners were at the corners but where they were on the bases. It didn't matter as Sean McLaughlin launched the ball over the right fielder's head and the ball kept rolling all the way to the fence, which was far enough for McLaughlin to round first, second, third and home before the ball was relayed in. That gave the Reds a 3-2 lead.
"I missed hitting it out, I wished I had," said McLaughlin.
The Braves would not see things get any easier for themselves as the next batter, Cole Fenton, benefited when the ball got under the second baseman's glove and into center field.
Then Mason Hayes hit the ball to third, routinely, but the ball was thrown past the first baseman and then trying to get Hayes rounding second and heading to third with a throw, the ball was thrown past the third baseman. Hayes went home. One runner was on base, so that throwing around of the baseball led to a 5-2 lead for the Reds.
"When you're nervous you can throw the ball around, be over-excited," said Parker, who admitted his team could do that themselves and has done that same thing in games this past season.
"On average, in a Minors game during the season, there can be six to eight errors," said Parker.
Beside errors, walks also did in the Braves in this game as the next inning, they helped lead to a few more runs for the Reds, who led 10-2 after the bottom of the second inning was completed.
"We emphasize to the kids that if they make a mistake don't worry about it, let it go, and keep on playing," said Parker. "Don't compound it so you make more mistakes after the first one."
Tate Parker, one of two sons on the team for Chad, whose other son is the youngest member of the squad, knew his kid would not be shaken by the Braves early hitting of his pitching.
"Tate's been through it, he knows how to handle it," said Parker. Tate threw a four-hitter and two of the four hits came in the first inning. He also struck out six and only allowed one walk.
McLaughlin leads his team in batting average, and, power, hitting around .600 for the season but it's not average that Parker says is most important -- and that's one more reason why this team had its success.
"Batting average is not as important as other things, like on-base percentage," said Parker. "We want the kids to hit the ball and make the other team play defense. Good things happen when you put the ball in play."
The defense for the Reds was what Parker would want to see at this point in the season.
"Defensively, we were the best all year," he said. "We worked pretty hard in practice, knocking balls down, making routine plays."
The Reds did more hitting than anything else happening to end this game with their bottom of the third batting which included Hayes with a single, Bishop with a single, De Simone walking, and Jackson hitting a 2-RBI single followed by Brayden Pedersen's exclamation point of an RBI single for the final score.
This Reds team was going to be hard to beat and the other managers of the Minors teams in the South Highline National charter must have known these facts by Parker.
"We had nine returning players, we won the championship last year," said Parker. "Our coaching staff is together again this year after last season."
All those things greatly contribute to a well run machine and last year before the season ended Parker and company, like the parents, etc. bought trophies for the team with their names engraved on them.
"We believed in you, guys, and we did that," said Parker, talking to his players after the game.
This year we didn't order trophies before the championship and engrave your names. But we had medallions made for you instead with your names on them."
So pretty much the same thing. The players know that their parents, coaches, manager, and everyone else believes in their abilities.
And,they couldn't be beat.
And, Parker knew that, too, as he continued to talk to his players while holding shiny medallion necklaces in his hand.
"We knew if you guys came to play you couldn't be beat," said Parker.
He was right, again.
"The parents and coaches are all very proud of them," said Parker.
Players for the Reds are Cooper Parker, Cole Fenton, Mason Hayes, Tanner Jackson, Brayden Pedersen, Ronan Bishop, Saverio De Simone, Ulises Godinez, Tate Parker, Nicolas Balladone, Jahmir Jackson, Brayden Jackson and Sean McLaughlin. The manager is Chad Parker and coaches are Gildo De Simone and Bjorn Jackson.
Players for the Braves are Andrew Kubik, Declan O' Grrady-Graham, Mason Quinjano, Ian Ritter, Alexis Santos-Andrade, Garrett Gracey, Colson King, Owen McLean, Colin Olmstead, Zaire Polee, Tristen Trujillo, Daylen Whited and Cole Hennig. The manager is Dave McLean and the coaches are Abner Banwer and Nathan Wammer.