The Bugs took the field on Saturday with excitement.  The Coaches were so excited that two almost arrived 2 hours early, 6:30am.

We awoke early.  Put on the sleeves.  Dressed quickly.  Loaded the cars.  Got to the park.  Warmed up.  And then, the players froze.  Not due to the 60 degree temperature, but due to their first tournament in 2009 AND their first time to face real pitching from other 9 yr old kids.

The first inning was a struggle for Bugs hitters.  The first defensive inning much the same.  But then they hit their stride and won 11 to 4.  The rest of Saturday was much the same, tight defense of strike outs, plays at first, pick-off moves and even run-downs.  The offense began to settle in with patience for walks and quick bats for the hits.

Hats off to: Aaron pitching 3 innings allowing only 1 run;  Dayton for the triple.  Steven for hardest hit EVER.

Note worthy:  Double-play off grounder to Dylan at 2nd throws to Aaron at 1st to Chase at 3rd.  The four pitchers combined for a 13-4 win:  Ryan, Dylan, Dayton, Alex.  The closers were Chase & Brandon.

Sunday was a different story.  We are one player short, Bryce was out sick for the day. We faced our ole rival, the Ravens from Franklin.  A tough game facing a fast pitcher.  Brandon was pitching his heart out, keeping the score low. But the game was mostly in the hands of the Ravens who led 4-0 through the 4th inning.  Then, as usual the Bugs bats came alive, thanks in part to Chase and Steven who drove line drives to the fence.  Dylan, Ryan, Aaron, Brandon all added to the fun as they got on base in the 5th and 6th innings. With the bats getting hotter, Gresham was brought in to pitch.  The Bugs were able to shut down the Ravens scoring.

A walk for Chase who stole 2nd and 3rd and a hit to right field by Dayton tied the game.  Dayton stole 2nd and 3rd and the game winning RBI goes to Alex.  The Bugs secured their place in the championship game by scoring the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the last inning.  Emotions were so high the kids were bouncing and the parents running all around the dugout cheering.  Gresham, running to meet his Dad who missed the entire game, stated with teeth shining “Dad, we were down 4-0 and we came back!”  Well, he did hit his highest speed ever and held one of the strongest teams in Middle Tennessee to zero runs scored.  Dad teared up.

Then it was immediately on to the championship game against another rival, McNair Sports.  This game was a quick, low scoring game.  Gresham was starting pitcher with Dayton behind the plate for the second full game.  Brandon came in relief in the 3rd with Aaron finishing out the game on the mound.  Dylan playing right field, cut off two strong hits by McNair, just as he had done in the Ravens game.  Defense of Patrick in right, who went 5 for 8 on the weekend, snagged a line shot and then doubled off the runner at second.  Defense of Aaron tracking down a base hit to left, hitting the cut-off and the throw to second cutting down the runner.  Defense of Alex shoe string catch from cut-off and quick turn to tag the runner.  Defense of Steven running hard to track down a long fly ball.  Defense of Ryan scoping the final hit and throwing to a out-stretched Chase for the final out.

WOW, can you tell what brought the title Global Regional Champs to the Smyrna Bugs?  DEFENSE won the 2-1 game!

Monday morning quote from Head Coach Chris Vondohlen:  Never underestimate the things a motivated and determined person can accomplish.

The weekend ended in a dual team prayer at home plate led by Coach Pete.

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