As one might expect with all the talented teams vying for the title at the Triple Crown 11u World Series, upsets were part of the programming when bracket play began in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
In fact, the top two seeds lost their first games Friday, sending them into a potentially long journey through the loser’s bracket. By the time the winner’s bracket was whittled to two teams, it was seeds No. 5 (Oklahoma Mudcats) and No. 6 (Dallas Tigers-Bergman) left standing, with the Tigers wrapping up a long day with a 10-0 run-rule victory over the Saddleback Cowboys Black (CA).
With a 6-2 win over the Utah Devils and a 9-3 victory against the Stix Black (TX), the Tigers looked balanced and confident, knowing a win against the Mudcats on Saturday (1:30 p.m., Vanatta Field) puts them on the doorstep of the championship.
“I’m really proud of our pitchers today. Great pitching is a great equalizer, and I’m just real proud of the boys today,” said Tigers coach Brett Bergman. “We are definitely here for baseball. This place is amazing, and you get a little vacation in, but we came here for a reason. We want to win the championship.”
Against the Cowboys, the Tigers jumped ahead 6-0 after one inning; a two-run double from Caleb Hoover was notable, and two other runs came across on bases-loaded hit batters. Trent Bower added a finishing-touch two-run double in the third inning.
“I’m feeling good – we beat some really good teams. We’ve played good, hit good, fielded good – I think that will get us to the championship, and win it,” said Bower, who pitched four innings of shutout ball, scattering four hits and not allowing a runner past second base. “I haven’t had a hit in a while, and luckily I got it and was able to get to second. I wanted to throw strikes and pitch to contact, let the infield do their work because they have my back.”
“I was thinking, how can I help the team, and I saw a pitch I liked and put the barrel to the ball,” Hoover added. “Baseball is really fun, never gets old for me, so playing this much isn’t that hard. Colorado’s weather is a lot better than Texas, so we went out there and played our brand of baseball.
“Trent gives it everything he has when he’s hitting or pitching, and I think he did a great job today.”