BANGS - After three ball games and more than five hours of action Thursday morning and afternoon at the Bangs Event Center, the Early Twins emerged as the TTAB 8U Machine Pitch District 3 champions.
The Twins began the Fourth of July with a 22-16 triumph over the Bangs River Bandits to advance to the championship game, where they rolled to a 21-6 victory over the Brownwood Pirates, creating a second title tilt. In the tournament finale, the Twins squandered a 10-run lead but caught a second wind late in the game en route to a 20-16 victory.
Early is now headed to the TTAB 8U Machine Pitch state tournament, which will be held at Brownwood's Massey Sports Complex beginning Monday, July 15.
The Twins never trailed in their two games against the Pirates, but Brownwood scored 10 runs in a row at one point to create at 14-all tie after three innings of the second contest.
Early regained a 15-14 edge in the top of the fourth as Liam Strickland reached on a one-out single and scored on Tavin Seaman's two-out RBI single over shortstop.
Again Brownwood drew even at 15 in the bottom of the fourth when Korben Haws tripled with one out and came home on Kaden Peek's RBI infield single.
The Twins took another one-run lead, 16-15, in the top of the fifth as Anson Kilgore led off with a single and scored when Logan Ingram reached on a two-out throwing miscue.
Early then held Brownwood scoreless in the bottom of the fifth and boosted its lead to 20-15 with four more runs in the top of the sixth. Strickland and Oren McMillian singled to start the sixth, then Seaman followed with an RBI infield single ahead of Braxden Moya's two-RBI double to center field. Caiden Vargas then drove home Moya with the final run on an RBI ground out.
Needing six runs to secure the victory in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pirates were limited to one as Corban Choate led off with a single and scored on Ian Barnum's two-out RBI base hit.
The Twins jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Strickland led off with a triple and scored on McMillian's RBI ground out. Seaman, Moya and Vargas then reached on consecutive infield singles to fill the sacks before Kilgore delivered a bases-clearing three-RBI triple. Following an infield hit by Jeremiah Pacheco, Maddox Stockman followed with an RBI single, as did Ingram and Strickland.
The Pirates closed the gap to 7-4 after one inning as Donovan York's RBI infield single plated Cord Toft, who reached on a fielder's choice; Kathan Kinsey's RBI single knocked in Kolby Mitchell, who reached on an infield hit; Aaron Villegas' RBI single up the middle brought home York, who also singled; and Choate's RBI fielder's choice allowed Villegas to come home.
Another seven-spot in the top of the second by the Twins resulted in a 14-4 advantage. Singles by McMillian and Seaman began the frame then Moya reached on a miscue that allowed both base runners to score. Vargas followed with an RBI double and Kilgore contributed an RBI single. Later in the inning an RBI fielder's choice and RBI single by McMillian and Seaman extended the advantage to double digits.
The Pirates crept within 14-7 after two innings as Peek singled and scored on Mitchell's RBI fielder's choice; York singled home Mitchell; and Kinsey later knocked in York with a base hit.
Brownwood's defense kept Early off the scoreboard in the top of the third inning and responded with the maximum seven runs in the bottom of the third to create a 14-all tie.
Choate, Haws and Peek reached on consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs, then Barnum followed with a two-RBI base hit. Toft picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice while York later contributed a two-RBI single ahead of run-scoring base hits by Kinsey and Villegas.
In the Twins' 21-6 win over the Pirates earlier Thursday, Early again scored the max 14 runs over the first two innings to build an 11-run advantage.
Down 2-0 after Brownwood's Kinsey drove in a pair with a two-out, two-RBI triple, Early's first eight batters reached base. Strickland and McMillian singled ahead of an RBI double by Seaman, then Moya knocked in a pair of runs with a single to left field. Vargas followed with a base hit then Kilgore picked up two RBI with a triple to right field. Pacheco reached on an infield single then Stockman singled home a run while Ingram plated the seventh run on an RBI ground out.
The Pirates mustered just one run in the top of the second as Haws reached on a two-out single and scored following an infield single by Jago Nance.
The Twins boosted the advantage to 14-3 in the bottom of the second as Strickland singled and McMillian doubled, then Seaman drove in both with a double to center field. Moya followed with a single, then Kilgore ripped a two-run home run down the right field line. Infield singles by Pacheco and Stockman set the stage for a two-RBI triple by Strickland.
Brownwood again scored just one run in the top of the third, making the score 14-4 after York singled with two outs and scored on an RBI infield single by Villegas.
Early extended its lead to 19-4 in the bottom of the third as McMillian singled, Seaman reached on a miscue and Moya delivered a two-RBI single up the middle. A couple of miscues later in the frame allowed Pacheco and Stockman to cross the plate.
The Pirates tallied their final two runs in the top of the fourth as Haws singled and scored following a base hit by Barnum, while Toft singled home Barnum.
Early enforced the run-rule in the bottom of the fourth as Seaman led off with a home run, then Moya singled ahead of Kilgore's game-ending RBI triple.