The 7U Bulls brought home first place hardware over the weekend in dramatic fashion at the All Star Showdown in Canton.
The road to success began with a mid-week scrimmage victory over the intown rival Buckhead Bucks, as the entire Bulls lineup crushed the baseball en route to a 31-14 triumph.
The bats remained hot heading into pool play, but the Bulls lost a heartbreaker to the East Side Tornados on Friday night and dropped a hard fought battle with the heavily favored Hopewell Broncos on Saturday.
Despite the 0-2 start, Coach Andy Hussion and the remainder of the Bulls coaching staff knew that the squad was destined for greatness on Sunday. Reminiscent of Ben Crenshaw at the 1999 Ryder Cup, Coach Eddie Overdyke told the Bulls Nation on Sunday morning “I have a good feeling about this”, all but promising a run to the title.
After both teams appeared asleep for the first inning of the quarterfinal match vs the Canton Noles, Coach Jason Mullins gave an impassioned dugout speech that awakened the Bulls players as well as their bats and gloves. Four innings later, the Bulls locked down a 20-12 victory and moved on to a semifinal rematch against the mighty Hopewell Broncos.
To prepare for the game, Coach Lige Gillis channeled his Inner Tiger by changing from the all-white uniform and into his Sunday Red jersey, bringing a wave of confidence to the Baby Bulls. The Bulls went to the dugout and brought Coach Kyle Hammond into the game as third base coach, who is quite familiar with the windmill move. Down by one run after three innings, the Bulls put up seven runs in the top of the fourth and never relinquished the lead. The Broncos put up a furious charge in the bottom of the fifth, but the Bulls held them to six runs with a diving catch at 2B, a catch on bomb to left field, and the final out thrown all the way across the diamond from 3B to 1B. The game lasted precisely one pitch more than the one hour, 15 minute time limit, with the final out giving the Bulls a 20-19 victory and sending them to their first championship game of the summer.
The Championship game presented the Bulls with a chance for redemption against the East Side Tornados, who had already bested the Bulls twice this summer. The Bulls refused a third defeat to the Tornados, striking early with a 4-0 lead after the first. As in the semifinal, the Bulls trailed heading into the top of the fourth inning, but found the right motivation from the coaches to score 7 runs in the inning and retain the lead to the finish. Once again there was final inning drama, but the Bulls made the final out on a hard line drive to pitcher, and were crowned champions with a 13-12 victory.
Front row, left to right: Fenn Birkel, Pierce Minor, Drew Hussion, Andrew Mullins, Daniel Zuckman, Carter Tittle
Second row, left to right: Carmen Overdyke, Knox Hammond, Charlie Gillis, Casey Shannon, Bennett Brown, Chase Hammond
Coaches, left to right: Andy Hussion, Kyle Hammond, Jason Mullins, Lige Gillis, (not pictured) Eddie Overdyke