Bay baseball team uses heart, hustle to become champs
Capping a long season of highs and lows, the 11U Bay Rockets made the trek to Medina July 14-16 to compete in the Cuyahoga Valley Baseball Association’s year-end tournament.
The Rockets arrived as one of two teams that had to win a play-in game on Friday, July 14, to qualify as the 16th seed. Bay won, 11-10, squeaking past the Parma Heights Wings.
The next morning, minus their leadoff hitter and starting pitcher, as well as a key member of the coaching staff, the Rockets shut out the No. 1 seed Berea Braves, then later in the day bested the Premier Jammers of Brunswick. Sunday was the Final Four and the climb just got steeper.
The Rockets battled and were victorious against the Northern Ohio Hurricanes to gain a spot in the championship game against the Hudson Explorers.
As the tournament’s lowest-seeded team, the Rockets had to play as the “visiting” team all weekend, allowing their opponents the last at-bat.
For the championship, the game came down to the bottom of the final inning. The Rockets scored in the top of first inning, then the Explorers threatened. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Bay turned a triple play to shift the momentum. Each team rallied for big innings and pitching was running thin. In the bottom of the seventh the Rockets closed out the game with a double play to secure the win, 15-13.
Through inspired pitching, timely hitting and an undying sense of team – these boys carried the coaches, their parents, and even other teams in the league who became fans to heights we could never have imagined.
They play a hard sport at a really high level, and deal with stressful situations that kids their age don’t typically see. They faced adversity throughout the tournament and handled it with poise and class.
In a game where failure rules the day, and the lessons are often about how you bounce back from disappointment, these young men enjoyed three days and five games with the baseball gods smiling upon them. If it never happens again, for now they are the champions, and no one can take that away.
The success is much deserved. Four years of hard work paid off for the good guys.