COLORADO SPRINGS – The Slammers-Cronican got exactly what they wanted out of their Pathway Games experience.
The 16u baseball team from Centennial, Colorado, was constantly tested over the four-day tournament at Security Service Field (Sky Sox Stadium). They measured their abilities against some of the best clubs from across the country, many of which were older, 18u teams.
But in Saturday’s finale, the Slammers ended their trip on a high note with a pair of victories that led to them winning the silver bracket championship title.
“We went from a six-game losing streak to a two-game winning streak today, so that’s always good,” coach John Cronican said with a laugh. “We wanted to get to play those older teams with more experience, and we got that here.”
Originally placed in Pool A, the Slammers went 0-3, which placed them in the silver championship bracket of the inaugural tournament. But they responded with a 3-2 win over the Marucci Bears (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) in the semifinals and followed that up with a 6-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks Scout team in the title game.
“It’s always good to play that tough competition because it’s only going to help us get better,” said Jake Porter, who hit a two-RBI double in the fifth inning of the championship game. “When we take that into playing more teams our own age, it will show.”
Saturday’s championship was a tight-knit battle that remain scoreless for the majority of the game.
The Diamondbacks drew first blood in the top of the fifth inning when Braden Thomson connected on a ball that went to left-center field that scored Alex Bumpus on a two-RBI double.
Swift to respond, the Slammers got their bats going in the bottom half of the frame, which ultimately blew the game open. An RBI single from Henry Rock that allowed Aaron Berkhoff to cross home plate started it off. Porter’s double then scored Clay Burke and Rock.
Blake Hart added to his team’s scoring run when and RBI single from Riley Cornelio brought him home.
From there, the Slammers led 6-2, which they carried with them through the rest of the game.
“The experience was awesome. I’ve never played on a field this cool before,” Porter said. “What we took away is that we can compete with those top teams. It’s just the small, little details we have to work on.”