Opening day of the 2017 Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat, Colorado, wasn’t particularly kind to the 13u Texas Patriots. An 0-2 start to the tournament left Nick Camp’s team in a tough spot, but his boys responded in a big way on Thursday afternoon, taking victory by the horns over the Golden State Sliders, 19-2.
“The biggest thing that we preached last night after the games and this morning is that we wanted to compete,” said Camp. “We wanted to make sure that we were doing the right things on and off the baseball field, and the kids did a good job of that today.”
Golden State came out firing right away against the Patriots. A double combined with a walk and a hit-by-pitch brought in the game’s first run. With the bases loaded for the second time in the opening inning, Texas was faced with a tough situation with only one out. Starting pitcher Nicholas Tanguma breathed a little easier when his middle infield turned its first double play of the contest, ending the inning.
“Our pitchers did a great job of forcing bad contact,” said Camp. “We practice those things every day and it was nice to see it executed.”
Trailing by one, Tanguma got things goingin the bottom of the second inning with a lead-off single. Texas’ offense snowballed as five of the next six batters reached aboard safely, including a two-RBI single from Gabe Garner. The Patriots pushed across four total runs, taking its first lead of the game, 4-1.
“I think getting out of that bases loaded jam and giving up only one run really shifted the momentum to our side,” said Simon Hughes, who was a perfect 3-3 at the dish. “It energized our dugout, got things rolling and really carried on from there.”
Tanguma watched his defense work for him a second time in the bottom half of the second inning. Again with the bases loaded, the Patriots defense then turned a nifty 1-2-3 double play to end the frame.
As the pendulum of momentum swung fully towards the Texas side of the field, the Patriots offense continued what it has started an inning earlier. Ten total batters came to the plate in the third inning, including Travis Brick who finished with four hits, four RBI and two runs scored.
“I saw a lot of inside fastballs that just looked perfect to me,” said Brick. “I just wanted to get ahead of it and drive somewhere deep.”
Six more runs crossed home plate as Texas took a commanding grip of the game, 10-1.
The third inning would not be complete without the Patriots’ third double play of the contest. Putting the clamps on the inning once again, the Texas defense cashed in a double play of the 6-4-3 variety.
“Those guys are fun to watch,” said Hughes. “They work really well together and I think we all have a lot of fun when we’re playing like this.”
While the defense remained stellar for the Patriots in the fourth inning, turning its fourth double play, the offense also continued to be stout, grabbing three runs in the fourth and an additional six in the fifth, stretching the Texas lead, 19-1.
Needing just three outs to secure the win, Nick Camp went to Adrien Pacheco to seal the deal. Though Pacheco did surrender a run, he managed to find the final out via a strikeout to end the contest, 19-2.
“We preach about controlling three things in our organization,” said Camp. “If we can bring our effort, our attitude and our energy firing at all cylinders, we’re going to have a chance to compete.”