The RiverRats invaded Myrtle Beach last weekend, winning seven straight games to add a USSSA 13U Global World Series Championship to their already impressive resume.
The team has an overall record of 42-6 and has won eight out of 11 tournaments this season.
“This team has played together for three years which is very important,” said Head Coach and Manager Jeff Bailey. “Our team communicates well and has good work ethics. I attribute this to their success.”
Bailey said that upon entering the series, the team and coaches made a commitment to each other to play to the final out and never give up.
After a third place finish in the Majors Division last year, the RiverRats approached the World Series tournament with a purpose. This time, they were going all the way.
Pool play began with the RiverRats edging out the Chapin-based Talons, 4-3. When the opposition scratched three runs across in the fourth inning it lit a fire under the RiverRats. Cameron Hall led off the bottom half of the inning with a single and Ethan Bailey reached on a fielder’s choice. Brandon Seay and Cameron Green drew back to back walks to load the bases and Justin Brasher singled to score Bailey. Ryan Vaughan and Will Brown followed with RBI singles to give the RiverRats a 4-3 lead that was never relinquished. Vaughan and Hall were each 2-3 at the plate, leading the offensive charge. Brandon Seay earned the win from the hill with four strikeouts and three walks.
In the second game, the RiverRats snatched a 7-5 win over the Charlotte Megastars and then sprayed seven hits to pick up a 4-3 win over the Connecticut-based Gooses Gamers.
When the RiverRats met up with the Barn Brawlers in their fourth appearance, the bats got really hot. The RiverRats combined for a total of 16 hits against the Brawlers’ battery of pitchers and took a 11-4 win.
On Monday, the RiverRats entered into the championship portion of the tournament as a 2-seed. Shy Smith hurled a one-hitter for the RiverRats, shutting out the Carolina Sabercats 4-0 before the team met back up with the Megastars and grabbed a 2-1 win that set up the championship game.
The RiverRats took the field against the TC Athletics, determined to finish the job.
“Going into the championship game I reminded the players how hard they worked to get in this position,” said Bailey. “It was up to them to finish the game.”
After three and a half innings of lead exchanging, the RiverRats went on a scoring spree and broke the game open with a 10-run fourth. Brown and Hall had two hits apiece in the single inning and each crossed home twice. Debo Woods also scored two times in the inning.
“Once we had runners on base, the players stepped up hitting the ball along with a couple of squeeze plays,” said Bailey. “That was a big inning.”
The Athletics tallied three in the fifth but it was too little, too late and the RiverRats added a final run in the sixth to earn a 13-8 win and a World Series Championship title.
“This was a big day for all the kids, coaches and the RiverRats organization,” said Bailey. “I am very proud of their accomplishments this season. All the work during the off-season paid off.”