Marietta, Georgia -
Congratulations to the 6-4-3 DP Cougars 14U squad for winning the Triple Crown North Atlanta Open I tournament this past Sunday (Mothers Day)! The theme of the weekend for the 14U Cougars was resilience. The 14U Cougars showed great resilience in both elimination games and displayed grit and determination to not give up and keep playing until the final out.
In their semifinal game versus the talented Georgia Bombers, the 14U Cougars got off to a slow start and trailed 6-0 going into the 3rd inning. Dawson Campbell entered the game from the bullpen and threw five scoreless innings to allow the Cougars to get back in the game. In the top of the 4th inning, outfielder Druw Jones saved a run on a fly ball with a runner at third base. Druw caught the fly and gunned the advancing runner out at the plate to end the inning while starting a huge momentum shift in favor of the Cougars. In the bottom of the 4th inning with two outs, Josh Katz was hit by a pitch and Parker Lester walked before Champ Davis hit a double over the right fielder to cut into the 6-0 lead (making it a 6-2 score). Hayden Smith led off the bottom of the 5th inning with a line drive to right field. Trent Ringer walked…putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Davis Hodges laid down a successful sac bunt to advance both runners. Taylor Shultz then hit a double to right center scoring both runners making it a 6-4 score. Druw Jones then hit a double of his own to score Shultz making it a 6-5 ball game.
At this point, the Georgia Bombers were forced to go to their bullpen. According to coach Jamaal Hawkins, “We were facing a very good pitcher for the Bombers and we needed to drive his pitch count up in order to have a chance to get back in the game. I told the hitters to take until we get a strike, and that really helped. He started throwing more pitches, got fatigued and we started to put good swings on him before they had to go their bullpen.” In the bottom of the 6th inning, Josh Katz led off with a base hit to center and eventually advanced to third base with one out. Champ Davis hit another double to center that plated the tying run to knot the score at 6-6 going into the top of the 6th inning. In the 7th inning, both teams went scoreless. The Bombers put up two runs in the top of the 8th inning. In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Cougars continued to show their resilience. The Cougars’ Parker Lester connected for a two-run home run to tie the game again in the bottom of the 8th. Later with the bases loaded, Trent Ringer hits a sac fly to win the game for the Cougars and propel the team into the championship game.
In the tournament’s championship game versus the perennially strong Georgia Jackets, the 14U Cougars got off to a good start (unlike in the semis). On the mound, Parker Lester threw four scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. Meanwhile, at the plate, the 14U Cougars jumped out to a 5-0 lead going into the 6th inning. Druw Jones and Parker Lester led the way with two hits each.
The Jackets answered in the top of the 6th inning by putting six runs on the scoreboard to make it a 6-5 game. The Cougars’ Dawson Campbell came up with a huge two out RBI in the bottom of the 6th inning to score Parker Lester from second base after a sweet hook slide allowed him to avoid the tag at home plate. The Jackets answered back in the top of the 7th inning and took the lead back by a score of 7-6.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Cougars had runners on first and second base with two outs. Druw Jones, who had to leave the game earlier with a hip injury, re-entered for his third at-bat of the game. Druw hit a line drive off the left centerfield fence that scored Jae Williams from second base and Taylor Shultz from first base. As clutch as Druw’s hit was, Taylor Shultz showed great baserunning by going on contact with two outs which enabled him to score from first base on a smaller high school field. In short, Druw and Taylor combined for a dramatic and impressive winning run!
Congratulations again to the 14U Cougars players and coaches on their fine weekend performance and tournament title!