8U Aces, 8U Knights and 10U Astros win titles in CCPARD City Championships

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

The 8-and-under Aces softball team and the Astros 10-and-under baseball team completed their undefeated seasons with a City Championship on Thursday and Friday, respectively, while the 8-and-under Knights rallied from second place in the regular season to the top team in the postseason with their win on Friday.
The Aces were the first to keep their perfect streak going with a double-header win over the Bandits 6-1 in the semifinals and the Blazers 9-3 in the championship game after a short break between games.
Aces head coach Paul Hartwell knows it’s tough to keep any players attention for that long, especially players that young, but is proud of the way his team stayed focused on the task at hand despite the sweltering conditions.
“A lot of them just have the love of the game, they listen and they’re discipline,” said Hartwell. “We have three or four girls on the team that have played travel ball so they know the discipline it takes. They are the leaders on the team and, when someone is not paying attention, they tell them.
“That’s the beauty about kids this age. They want to be disciplined. If they do something wrong and you show them the right way to fix it, they respond for the most part.”
Winning is obviously important to any coach and team but for Hartwell it’s more about getting the kids teaching and building a passion for the game.
“This is why I coach – getting them to love the game, learn the game and have fun while they’re doing it,” he said. “That’s why we have the three rules – have fun, love the game and get dirty by giving that extra effort.”
The Aces already earned their trip to the Texas Teenage District Softball Tournament in Moody next week by virtue of their 9-0 regular season record but Hartwell wanted to finish strong so they are ready for the next step towards state.
Hartwell knows the task only gets tougher from here and realizes to keep their win-streak going they must keep improving.
“We definitely have to improve on our fielding and we should get three strong pick ups and fill out our field,” he said. “We really need to improve in the outfield because a bunch of balls are going to be hit there. 
“We also have to improve the power on our hits. We are putting the ball in play but we need to get it through the infield because we will be going up against teams that can throw them out from third.”
In Thursday’s title game, the Blazers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning but the Aces responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to take control. Singles by Gillian, Janell, Madden and Kiki and a ground out RBI by Skyela accounted for the four runs. 
The Aces again hit around in the bottom of the third inning with Gillian, Fianna, Madden and Kiki singling and Janell scoring on an in-the-park two RBI home run for a 9-2 Aces lead.
The Blazers got one of the runs back in the top of the fourth but that was as close as they would get.
The Aces outscored their opponents 93-9 on their way to an 11-0 record.
On Friday, the regular season second-place Knights and third-place Bats battled for 8-and-under city bragging rights on City Park’s field 1 while simultaneously the top two teams of the 10-and-under East division battled for the 10U crown.
The Bats took out the East’s top team, the Storm Chasers, in the 8U semifinals to earn a spot in the title game against the Knights while the Knights beat the West champion Threshers to reach the title game.
The Bats took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning before the Knights doubled up that output in the bottom half for a 6-3 lead.
After a quick top half of the second inning, the Knights opened the game up with seven more runs in the bottom of the inning for a 13-3 lead.
The Bats pulled back within six runs with a four-run top of the third but another seven-run inning by the Knights secured the 20-7 win.
It was a much different scenario in the 10U title game as time expired in a 4-4 tie, setting up a possible walk off scenario.
The White Sox scored a run in the first and three more in the second to take a 4-0 lead over the undefeated Astros. A double by Caldron and five walks accounted for the runners.
The Astros earned one run back in the bottom of the second on shots by Jirah Anzaldua and Seth Pronovost and added three more runs in the bottom of the third to knot the game at 4-4. Singles by Kamren Rodriquez and Matai Anzaldua and a two-RBI double by Hayden Welch pulled the Astros within one before Welch scored on a passed ball to knot the game.
Neither team could muster a run in the fourth inning as time expired.
Both teams had one final opportunity to win the game in the fifth inning but the White Sox went three-up, three-down leaving the door open for the Astros.
J.R. Sanders beat out the throw to put a runner on before Rodriquez singled to put two runners on.
Matai Anzaldua then connected with the game-winning base hit that scored Sanders for the 5-4 win.
The TTA Softball tournament begins the week of July 3 with the 12U girls playing in Rogers, the 10U girls playing in Harker Heights and the 8U girls playing in Rogers.
The TTA Baseball tournament begins the week of July 10 with the 14U boys playing in Harker Heights, the 12U boys playing in Troy, The 10U Tight Base boys playing in Gatesville and the 8U boys playing in McGregor.
For more information visit http://www.texasteenage.org/pages.aspx/Tournament%20Info. 

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