Keyser Outlaws 11u squad takes second place in first tournament
By Chapin Jewell
On Thursday, it was announced on social media. On Saturday, it was formally announced with an article in the paper.
By “it,” we’re referring to the fact that the Mineral County Little League had voted to play their season.
As Little League gathers participants, assigns teams, and begins the large undertaking of planning out the season, one local travel ball organization, after this weekend, already has a tournament under their belt.
Under the direction of Kelly Madden, the Keyser Outlaws 11u squad traveled to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, for No Offseason Sports’ Steel Town Showdown. After weekend play had concluded, the Outlaws finished with an overall tournament record of 3-2, reached the championship game, and finished in second place.
“Baseball is back,” Kelly Madden excitedly proclaimed. “The boys expressed how much they missed playing baseball and how glad they were to finally be back on the field.”
In the 11u division, the Steel Town Showdown was comprised of an eight-team field, consisting of the Keyser Outlaws, Hardcore Elite Red, Marauders Baseball Club, Beaver Valley Grey, PVS Baseball, Hardcore Elite Black, Guardian Angels and the TCT Kings.
The Outlaws were coached by Madden, Trenton Bradshaw, Adam Wharton, Dustin Rice and Brian Hott. The Outlaws’ roster is composed of players Kohen Madden, Owen Rotruck, Channing Wilt, Kyran Freeman, Gunnar Bradshaw, Cole Ricker, Trevor Baldwin, Jake Rice, John Delaney, Kane Williams, Brennan Wharton and Drew Stahara.
In Saturday action, the Outlaws fell behind early and had to come from behind late to defeat the Guardian Angels 9-5. In their second game on Saturday, the Outlaws fell to Hardcore Elite Red by a score of 4-3.
On Sunday, the Outlaws opened the day with two straight victories. First came a 9-5 victory over Hardcore Elite Black. Second came a 10-2 victory over the Guardian Angels to propel the Outlaws into a championship game matchup with Hardcore Elite Red, the team they had fallen to on Saturday in a close 4-3 contests.
In the championship game, the Outlaws would fall to Hardcore Elite Red 10-2 to claim the second-place trophy for their weekend performance.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament play was modified in several ways to keep things in accordance with existing safety guidelines and protocols.
“The tournament was modified by only allowing two fans per player and having the umpires behind the pitcher’s mound calling balls and strikes. The umpires didn’t touch the balls, and coaches had to have hand sanitizer available for the players. There were also no handshakes after games, with teams just lining up and tipping their hat to the opponents. There were also no mobs around a player who hit a dinger at the plate,” Madden explained.
Sure there were modifications, but it was baseball, finally, and it felt great, even surreal to the players, their parents, and most certainly their coaches.
“As a coach and dad, I made sure to take a few minutes to ‘just take it all in,’ Madden stated. “With everything that has been going on the last few months, I wanted to enjoy my time on the field with my Outlaw Family. Life felt normal again and we all appreciated being out there a little more than we normally would.”
For the Outlaws, one weekend tournament gives way to the next. This coming weekend, the 11u Outlaws will travel back to the Pittsburgh area, Monroeville specifically, for the Flood City Summer Open.
Baseball is indeed back! Travel ball clubs like the Keyser Outlaws are already seeing action and Mineral County Little League allowed for practice beginning yesterday, and still has open sign-ups running through June 14.
While baseball is certainly not the cure for a global pandemic, as long as it is being played with precautions, simply returning our youth to the fields for the sports they love will certainly pay dividends for their collective psyche. Play ball!