By 9u Longhorn Nation
Johns Creek, GA
The NYO Longhorns 9U team picked up their first hardware of the season with a Second Place/Runner Up finish in the Ocee Slam held at Ocee Park on Sunday in Johns Creek, in an exciting Championship game against the AYBA Eagles in extra innings settled using “California Rules”.
In the opening game of the tournament the Longhorns finished in a 11-11 tie against host team Ocee Black. It was a back an forth duel with 5 lead changes in the 4 inning contest. The NYO longhorns led the way with 11 runs on 9 hits, with a necessary offensive onslaught in the 4thframe scoring 6 runs with critical hits from Julius “Jet” Thomas, Holsten Hayes, Cole Negro, Lucas Murphy, and capped off with Towle Hosmers 2 run inside the park home run putting the Longhorns in the lead 11-8 headed into the bottom half of the frame. Unfortunately, the Longhorns gave up 3 unearned runs despite Cole Negro & Julian Hendrix striking out the side, ending the game in tie. Hudson Nelson, Towle Hosmer, Cole Negro, and Lucas Murphy all led the way with 2 RBI apiece during the contest.
During the second game of the tournament the Longhorns faced the Sandy Springs Cyclones an opportunity to avenge a loss to the team a week prior. Will Martiny got the nod to toe the rubber for the Longhorns, Will threw 3 strong innings with 1 earned run and going 1-2-3 in the first frame putting the Longhorns in a great position to take an early lead putting up 4 runs in the first with timely hitting from Lucas Murphy and Julius Thomas. The Longhorns were active on the base paths all night tabbing 5 stolen bases led by Hudson Nelson with 2. Fletcher Black and Julius Thomas had pivotal RBIs that put the Longhorns up for good in the contest, while Cole Negro and Juliun Hendrix were able to seel the victory in relief as the Longhorns defeated the Cyclones 8-6, securing the #2 seed after pool play and earning a first round bye.
The well rested Longhorn players and coaching staff began bracket play against the Murphy Candler Blue Sox. The comeback kids showed their grit and determination with a roaring comeback win 8-7. Hudson Nelson got the nod for the Longhorns pitching 2 strong innings giving up just 5 hits, 3 runs, and striking out 3. Meanwhile Liam Rabideaux came in clutch relief in the 3rdwith a 1-2-3 inning, keeping the Longhorns in a tight semifinal game. The Longhorns bats finally warmed up in the Bottom of the 3rdwith Carson Dietz’s RBI single scoring Will Martiny bringing the game to 3-2 entering the 4th. The Blue Sox fought back in the top of the 4thscoring 3 runs extending the Blue Sox lead to 6-2. The bottom of the 4ththe Longhorns came alive with 5 straight hits from Julian Hendrix, Lucas Murphy, Julius Thomas, Liam Rabideaux, and Holsten Hayes scoring 3 runs. The Longhorns took the lead on RBI’s from Cole Negro (2) and a Carson Dietz single (1), ending the inning with the Longhorns up 8-6. Juliun Hendrix once again appeared in relief giving up 1 run and striking out 2 to send the Longhorns to the Championship with a 8-7 victory.
In the Championship Game the Longhorns would take on the #1 seeded AYBA Eagles. Leading up to the game Coach Rabideaux and his assistants huddled discussing strategy, and a great one they had sending Julius Thomas to the bump for his first pitching action of the young summer tournament season. Once settled in Julius pitched three strong innings surrendering 2 runs on no hits striking out 4 in his debut. The game was a defensive masterpiece as Juliun Hendrix and Liam Rabideaux only surrendered 2 hits, while Towle Hosmer made a headfirst diving catch in CF in the 4thand a Javy Baez’esque play at 2ndbase by Fletcher Black, each resulting in critical outs for the Longhorns. The Longhorns had to fight through the elements with 2 rain delays, but remained focused sending the game into extra innings. In the end the Longhorns came up short during the “California Style” extra innings losing 6-5. Towle Hosmer, Lucas Murphy, Fletcher Black led the Toros each with a hit and clutch RBI sacrifice fly by Holsten Hayes.