by Jason Hanes
As Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” For 757 Dirtbags Platinum 9u, the wait was two-fold Friday; however, the results turned out to be excellent from their perspective.
After winning a 10-8 early morning contest over Fielder’s Choice Baseball – Miller, the Dirtbags had to wait over four hours for their next contest. Then, once the contest fired up with Venom Stars from Hickory, N.C., the Dirtbags had to wait for the offense to get going as they trailed 4-1 after an inning of play.
Finally in the second, patience at the plate paid off as a series of walks, stolen bases, and wild pitches led to five runs and a 6-4 advantage. Then the bats got going in the third and fourth innings, as big hits helped lead 757 Dirtbags Platinum to a 13-5 victory in 9u bracket play at the Triple Crown Summer Nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“We played first thing this morning. We got here at 7 a.m. this morning for the early start. It was hot,” said 757 Dirtbags Platinum head coach Shaun House. “Then we had a four-hour break that was closer to five hours. A lot of times, kids will shut down after that long of a break.
"But something this team has been fighting is when you get down early, to fight back and get back into the game. We were down after that first inning, but we fought all the way back, and we had a good positive attitude that helped us take control of the game.”
Leading 6-4, the Dirtbags pushed across three runs in the third thanks to three run-scoring hits. An RBI single by Noah Brooks made it 7-4, then a double to left-center by Ryan Waddell made it 8-4.
“I was just trying to pick up my team and get them going,” Waddell said of his double.
Two batters later, Levi Deshazo singled home a run to give his team a 9-4 cushion.
Waddell would come through with another big hit in the following inning to help stretch the lead. Earlier in the inning, a sharply hit by Matthew Kenick would go off a lunging second baseman’s leg and kick all the way to the wall for an RBI triple. Brooks would then single home Kenick to make it 11-4, with Waddell following suit with another RBI single for a 12-4 advantage.
A wild pitch would bring Waddell home after a couple of stolen bases to cap the scoring at 13 runs in the game for the Dirtbags. The Venom would scratch across a run in the fifth inning.
“When our best hitters were up, we just had to keep going, and get the dugout up,” Waddell said.
The win keeps the 757 Dirtbags Platinum in the winner’s bracket for another early-morning contest, this one Saturday at 8 a.m. against Beaver Valley Red.
Waddell is hoping there will be time for more fun away from the field like he’s had already in Myrtle Beach. When asked what the most fun thing he’s done away from the field has been so far, Waddell had the answer: “Putt-putt with my grandpa!”