The Eagles 10U Travel Team played up into the 11U division at the Dodge City Cowboy Classic over the weekend losing in the semifinals of the 10-team tournament. Pictured are (front l to r) Brantley Buller, Luke Barnett, Mason Sierra (back l to r) Madyx Hough, Jax Cordova, Chael Cordova, Will Barnett, Jaxon Bohlander, Dallas Alley, Liam Eder, Mayz Gourley.
It was the third time the Eagles 10U travel team consisting of mostly Eads players traveled into Kansas to take on teams from across the region. In the past two tournaments, one in Dodge City and the other in Garden City, the Eagles 10U dominated the competition in the 10U division winning all but one game and carrying a 7-1 record into this past weekend’s Cowboy Classic at Legends Park in Dodge City, KS.
This time, however, they were entered at a whole other level than what they have been used to as they were one of 10 teams in the 11U bracket where lead off is allowed, the pitching mound is further back, and the bases are much further apart. Being up against bigger and stronger players and in a big setting was a major challenge for them. Add in temperatures soaring well over 100 throughout the tournament and you’ve got a situation where weak individuals might just throw in the towel and get back to their air-conditioned comfort zone.
The Eagles were far from their comfort zone as they lost their first two games on Saturday against Knights 11U (8-6) and Pampa Bombers 11U (12-2). But after acclimating themselves to the size of the field and the speed of the game, the Eagles 10U came out the next day and work themselves into the semifinals winning two games, including eliminating the best team in the tournament. They would beat the Dodge City 11U in a score of 6-1 and then had to come from behind to defeat the favored Scott City Outlaws, 9-7.
Unfortunately, in the semifinals, a game they were forced to play back-to-back after the Scott City game, the young Eagles ran out of steam losing to the eventual champions, 7-1.
The Sunday comeback games saw Dallas Alley on the mound for the Eagles 10U going for 2 innings and giving up just 1 hit and 1 run to the Dodge City 11U batters. He would walk six, a fact that got the Eagles into a jam a couple of times, but also managed to strike out 4 batters.
Liam Eder came in on relief for the final 2 innings giving up no hits and not runs and striking out 3.
While the Eagles 10U pitchers were holding off the Dodge City batters the rest of the team used 7 hits and 5 RBIs to win the game 6-1. Eder helped himself out with 2 hits and a run. Alley added a hit, 2 RBIs and 2 runs. Jaxon Bohlander, Chael Cordova, Mason Sierra and Mayz Gourley all added a hit in the game.
Eder also had 2 steals, while Gourley and Alley each had one.
In order to stay alive in the tournament and advance to the Final Four the Eagles 10U then had to face off against the Scott City Outlaws 11U group who had mowed down the competition thus far in the tournament. The Eagles 10U snagged a late lead and defeated the Outlaws, 9-7. The Eagles had been behind the whole game until they had finally tied the game in their top of the fifth, 7-7. Brantley Buller then singled on a 3-0 count and scored Alley and Chael Cordova.
The Eagles 10U outhit the Scott City 11U group 5 hits to 4 in the game.
Buller had two hits for 2 RBIs in the game. Other hits came from Sierra, Chael Cordova and Bohlander. Will Barnett and Alley each added 2 RBIs.
Buller was the winning pitcher going four complete innings giving up 4 hits and 4 earned runs, walking 4 and striking out 7.
Alley came in for one inning of relief and did not give up a hit or run on the save, walking one and striking out two.
Eads committed 6 errors in the contest, a fact that almost cost them the game.
After that big win, the Eagles 10U battled in the semifinals but the turn-around was immediate and they never got a chance to regroup into another important contest. They held their own, but the pitching staff struggled a bit with fatigue as all five of the Eads pitchers had seen a lot of time on the mound over the weekend.
The Finney County Titans would put one run across in the bottom of the first inning and then added six more in the next inning.
Their ace pitcher controlled the Eagles 10U batters giving up just one hit to Alley, who would also score the only run for the Eagles 10U. There were only 3 strike outs, but the Eagles 10U team grounded out multiple times to the strong defense from Finney County.
Mayz Gourley took the loss on the mound going 3 innings and giving up 6 hits and 5 earned runs, walked 3 and struck out 5 batters. Chael Cordova came in for one inning of relief giving up no hits, one run, walking 2 and struck out 1.
The Eagles 10U Travel Team will be back in another tough tournament in Dodge City when the Wild West Showdown will be held on June 25 & 26.