The East Cobb Astros 10u Navy were the best team all tournament, and they finished their undefeated title run with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Banditos Black 10u to win the inaugural Perfect Game 10u World Series.
The Astros got the bats going early by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Roscoe Hayes started things off with a double, and then the Astros got clutch RBI singles from Grant Barden, Bru Milner, and Brayden Mentzer.
The Banditos showed fight and clawed their way back, cutting the lead to 3-2 by the bottom of the fourth inning. But the Astros’ Reid Shelton had other ideas, leading off the home half of the inning by launching a triple down the right field line, scoring on an overthrow and adding a huge insurance run.
The sixth inning brought the drama befitting of a championship game. Astros pitcher Bryant Hopkins started with a strikeout, but the ball kicked away from the catcher, allowing Banditos hitter Francisco Soria to reach base. But Hopkins was nails the rest of the way, getting a huge strikeout and then two ground balls to strand the tying run on third to preserve the victory.
“I’m really proud of the boys,” said Astros coach Tyler White. “We had three weeks off before this, but they came out here and went 10-0 in this tournament. Everyone did their part, whether that be pitching, hitting, and fielding. I’m especially happy we got to be the first team to win the 10u Perfect Game World Series.”
One player that really had himself a week was Austin Neese. He hit .579 over 10 games played, included three doubles, a home run, and five RBIs. For this performance, he was named tournament MVP. It will certainly be a week Neese, his teammates and coaches will surely not forget.
“There’s so many memories,” said White. “We had so many comeback wins earlier, including in our playoff game this morning against a really good CBA team. But probably my favorite memory will be watching these kids come out and finish the job they started. We went 29-1 in Perfect Game events this season. I’m just so proud of the way we finished. It makes me so happy to watch these kids celebrate and get their picture taken.”
As happy as White was to see his team dog pile, he was also appreciative of how his boys reacted to the trials and tribulations they faced along the way. The coach couldn’t help but smile as he reflected on the growth of his players and the lessons learned.
“We learned that you have to be a team player,” said White. “When your number is called, you have to go out and do your job, and we proved we could do that when we came back from a four run deficit in the bottom of the sixth in our first playoff game. It takes a unit to win, and sometimes you need to sacrifice what you want so your brother on the team can do his job. That lesson is going to prepare them for high school, college, and just for the rest of their life. And some of these kids faced adversity for the first time, but they handled it so well. I’m really proud of these kids.”
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