Outlaws' 14u team battles adversity to win Sports on the Beach tournament
By Chapin Jewell
In recent weeks, the Keyser Outlaws 11 u squad has been profiled for their most excellent tournament play, including a second-place finish to open the season and then a first-place finish in the Backyard Brawl Tournament.
This past weekend, however, it was another Keyser Outlaws squad, the 14u unit, that made a big splash, finishing first in the “Sports at the Beach” 14u tournament in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Founded in 2002, Sports at the Beach is a 16-field, all Bermuda grass complex covering 100 acres in Georgetown, Delaware, near Rehoboth Beach. The complex also includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, playgrounds, and other amenities making it a huge draw for summer tournaments.
Teams that participated in the “Sports at the Beach” 14u tournament in Rehoboth included the Keyser Outlaws, Perrysburg Yellow Jackets, Mid Atlantic Shockers Shockley, High Voltage and the NJ Axemen.
On the first day of the tournament, the 14u Outlaws looked to get off to a hot start. At the end of the day, the Outlaws’ start could best be described as only mediocre; not the start they had hoped for. The good news, the Outlaws suffered no losses. The bad news, the Outlaws didn’t capture any victories, instead, ending the day with not one but two 3-3 ties.
Over the two games on the first day, the Outlaws managed only 12 hits and suffered 13 strikeouts. Gunnar Riley and Logan Rotruck excelled at the plate with multiple hits on the day. On the pitcher’s mound, Hayden Jones and Dylan Ours both had impressive performances, but were stymied with too many errors in the field, with six errors committed in total. Day one concluded with the Outlaws standing with a record of 0-0-2.
On day two, the good news is that the Outlaws really got the bats cracking as the Outlaws produced 17 runs on 18 total hits and more importantly, only four strikeouts over the two-game stretch. Sam Viani was red-hot from the plate, going 5-6. Viani’s offensive efforts were combined with those of Gunnar Riley, Hayden Jones and Noah Broadwater with multiple hits as well.
On the pitcher’s mound, Gunnar Riley, Ryan Rock and Trevor Bigelow put up a strong effort. Despite their strong effort, six walks, two hit batters and more importantly five errors in the field stymied the Outlaws once again as the finished day two with one loss and another tie, bringing their two-day overall record to 0-1-3.
Day three can best be described as crunch time as the Outlaws faced a literal win or go home situation entering pool play on day three. The situation was dire. One more loss or tie would mean a trip to the loser’s bracket, the most undesirable of places. Adding to the drama, on day three, the Outlaws faced a double-header with High Voltage, a team that was 4-0 heading into day three after having demolished their opponents by a combined score of 51-7.
With their backs against the wall, the Outlaws delivered. Game one of the double-header saw Keyser deliver both from the plate and on the mound in a combined team effort. Brody Whitehair, Sav Viani and Bryce Madden delivered critical RBI’s and Viani pitched a strong six innings, followed by Madden and Riley in relief in the seventh and eight innings to give the Outlaws their first win of the tournament.
In game two, the Outlaws exploded offensively to produce 11 runs, while at the same time, staunch pitching on the mound from Ours and Riley, coupled with a perfect game from the field, yielded only three runs to High Voltage in the victory. Noah Broadwater excelled offensively, garnering five RBIs; Broadwater was joined by Logan Rotruck, Sam Viani and Dylan Ours, each with multiple hits. Hayden Jones excelled defensively with his play at first base.
With two wins on the day, the Outlaws concluded day three with a now combined record of 2-1-3, and most importantly, placed the Outlaws in their desired spot in the winner’s bracket. Of equal importance, day two’s sweep of High Voltage dropped them into second place and into a championship day matchup with the Outlaws, the third straight game between the two rivals.
The Outlaws would dominate that matchup with High Voltage to open up championship day with Bryce Madden delivering a clutch performance on the mound. Madden went seven innings, struck out seven, and gave up only four hits. Brodie Whitehair excelled defensively for the Outlaws, and the Outlaws’ offensive production was led by Whitehair and Cam Lynch, each with multiple RBIs. With the victory, Keyser was on to the championship game against the New Jersey Axemen.
The Outlaws versus Axemen matchup was a do-over for both teams as they had battled to a 10-10 tie two days prior. Storm clouds clearly showed that rain was imminent, and the umpire had declared that in the event of a rain cancellation, one inning would be enough to declare it a completed game. Nothing says you better get off to a hot start than a pronouncement like that.
The Axemen took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Outlaws knocked on the door in the second inning but still no runs. Dylan Ours shut down New Jersey in the second inning and at the end of two, the Outlaws still trailed 1-0.
In the third inning, the Outlaws got started. Rylan Rock started off the third with a base hit to centerfield. Gunnar Riley doubled on the next pitch to put runners at second and third with no outs. Sam Viani then hit a ground ball which scored Rock to tie the game and advance Riley to third. One pitch later, Noah Broadwater delivered a sacrifice fly to score Riley and give the Outlaws the 2-1 edge.
From there, it was off to the races. To this point, the championship game had been played in a driving rain, which finally began to slow in the fourth inning. The halting of the rain in the fourth, however, would coincide with a massively productive inning for the Outlaws at the plate. Eight hits and a couple of walk later, the Outlaws had produced nine runs and extended their 2-1 lead to 11-1. Dylan Ours shut down the Axemen in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Outlaws the convincing, 11-1, championship-garnering win.
Cam Lynch had the hottest bat in the title game with three hits, followed by Rock, Madden and Riley, all with multiple hits. Dylan Ours delivered four strong innings of pitching with no earned runs to thwart any offensive attack from the Axemen. For his efforts, Ours would win championship game MVP honors.
The 14 u Outlaws finished the tournament as champions with a record of 4-2-3, very impressive considering they ended day one with a record of 0-0-2, day two with a combined record of 0-1-3, that’s no wins in the first two days. Those two wins on day three against High Voltage set the tone for what was to come, four straight victories to seal the deal and earn the hardware.
It’s not just that they won, but the manner in which they battled through adversity and a tough first two days that makes the tournament win even more impressive. With plenty of baseball left to play, the 14u Keyser Outlaws have shown they have all the characteristics needed for success.