Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 New England AAU Championships - The Lost Weekend

Free baseball!  I guess I wouldn't call it free baseball since I pay through the nose for this stuff, but it was free in that both boys received at least 4 more games of baseball without me having to pay for it.  In our neck of the woods, playing AAU baseball meant playing some division games, some out of division games, and then if you are good enough at the end, playing in the New England Regionals. 

We were lucky because both of their teams made the playoffs.  Neither of the boys' teams last year made the playoffs, so it was exciting to see that BOTH of them made it this year.  The format was round robin with 4 teams in each pool.  The best four teams would then go on tot eh Championships the following weekend.  Although we could never afford going tot he US championships, it was fun to talk about Kansas as the next stop if either team won the New Englands.

Welcome to Connecticut!
U10 Team's Path.  I watched the first game at Little Fenway in Freetown, MA on Saturday afternoon.  We played the Lakeville Cardinals earlier in the season here and it was fun to see all of the same angles and the Green Monster.  Although we did not play at the Little Fenway park for the first game that I saw, it was still interesting to walk around the complex.  I Game 1, we played one of the tougher teams, the Northeast Gators.  We split with them in the first doubleheader earlier in the season so despite being the #1 seed, we thought we could take them.  Our ace was out of gas, though, almost immediately and gave up 8 runs in three innings.  G pitched and gave up one run and didn't do anything at the plate, himself.  Sunday was a different matter though, while Mom was with him, the boys won their second game on a walk off Grand Slam in extra innings.  G hit TWO home runs that game to keep it close.  Game 3 was won in a walk over.  It appeared that we were going to be a wild card entry.

U12 Team's Path.  Mom took C on his doubleheader on Saturday to Mansfield, MA.  Only a couple of miles away from the local Buffalo Wild Wings.  They split their doubleheader so they had to win to move on.  C pitched in Game 2 and while garnering the win, had to struggle to get there.  I took C to his final make-or-break game on Sunday.  It was against the Mass Hurricanes, the team that swept C's team in the regular season.  In what has become known as the telephone pole game, C and one of his teammates both hit home runs to left field striking the telephone pole that sat behind the fence.  Behind some strong pitching, we took that game 4-3.  C's home run was an absolute bomb that probably would have traveled 280 feet if not for the pole.  It was a tense game throughout and it was great to see the boys step up when they had to with big hits, big fielding plays and big pitching.  With that win, C's team won their pool and was moving on to the New England Championships.

Mound where G's HR landed
U12 Championship Game.  This was a tough one against the New England Storm.  We got slaughtered ignominiously.  C gave up a grand slam.  The other team's pitcher pitched a perfect game (although to our credit, it was only a 4 inning perfect game because of the slaughter rule).  It was tough.  To top it all off, we were in Brooklyn, Connecticut, which is in the middle of nowhere.  Oh well, it was still a great season.

U10 Championship Game.  G's team played much closer to home in Hanover, MA.  our first game was against the East Cobb Expos - a team from North of Boston.  G topped of a great playoff run with a bomb of a home run and 3 RBIs on two hits.  G's team won the first game to make the Championship Game.  Unfortunately, the run ended their as we again lost to the Northeast Gators.  Even though we had our other ace going, it was a tough row.  G's team kept it close but things fell apart in 4th inning as the Gators scored 9 runs to again defeat G's team by a slaughter rule.

Still a lot of fun.  Forget about how both Championships ended, we were both very proud of the boys.  Yes, it would have been nice to win the whole thing, but they learned a lot about where they are in pecking order.  Not a bad experience at all. 

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