Southern Utah Slugfest Recap

What a weekend of baseball!! If you were not able to make it down to St. George for this tournament, well then, Im sorry…

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There is simply no way to sugar coat what you missed! The Jaxx played some of the gutsiest ball I’ve seen since Kyler and I were privileged to come join this family over a year ago..

Game 1 started simple enough.. the Jaxx put up a 7 spot in the second inning against Summit and they ran out of time trying to play catch up.

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Then we go into Game 2… After some pitching struggles and a couple bonehead defensive mistakes by our boys, we found ourselves down 6-2 to start the fourth… The Jaxx dug deep and decided they didn’t want a 1-1 split to start the tournament…So in the top of the fourth inning the boys stitched together some quality at bats, followed by clutch base knocks from Sanjay and Lucius to grab five runs and finish their half of the inning up 7-6 on the Dingerz.

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That, my friends, was the final score after the Jaxx held on and finished the day up 2 games to nothing!

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The next day had our first game of a double header playing against a team from Kanab.. To be quite honest, I looked at that team and formed all the judgments one would have looking at a group of kids obviously smaller than our boys. Perhaps they were a little out of their league?? Perhaps the boys from Kanab have never played in a big tournament before and they wanted to use this one to test the waters and find out just how tough teams like ours could be???? Well…….I was DEAD WRONG……These boys came to play..

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The Jaxx jumped to a 4-2 lead pretty quickly and the feeling of a win was fairly foreseeable, but then came the fifth inning when Kanab worked to put men on base and tie the game 4-4…. In fact thats were it stayed. The game was allowed to end in a tie as per the tournament rules. It’s not the most gratifying situation but as it turned out, with our two wins from the day before and the performance of some of the other teams in our bracket, a tie wasn’t a terrible thing after all.

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Game 4 started soon after….. This game will surly be responsible for the 37 gray hairs I now have in a new region on my head…

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Let’s recap–The Jaxx had two wins and a tie. Every other team had at least a loss in their schedule so we were in a pretty good position to play for a chance at the championship game… It just so happened the team we were about to play in Game 4 WAS the only other team which had an identical record as ours. In fact, they had not allowed as many runs to their opponents as we did so if we were to tie this game as well, this other team would advance to the championship game and we would go home…

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So the pressure was on the get a WIN!

Game 4 was against the Cedar City NASH. The first inning started with the Jaxx jumping ahead to a 4-0 lead and feeling good! The second inning passed without incident and was rather quiet. Then the baseball gods decided to work their weird voodoo and things just fell apart for the Jaxx in the NASH half of the third inning. They answered with eight runs of there own before the almost 45 minute long inning came to an end. The Jaxx were in trouble…We made some movement in the right direction with a single run in the bottom of that inning.

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So…..the score was 10-6 in the last half of the fifth inning and time was clearly running out. As home team, we had this seemingly last opportunity to at least answer back and make it a respectable loss..I admit… I was resigned to a loss. To pile on, after we were down to our last out, Isaiah just crushes a ball out to the gap and the NASH center fielder made a fantastic diving catch to SEEMINGLY clinch the win for them…

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……As they celebrated their “win” coming off the field, the base umpire looked in toward his home plate compatriot and signaled there were two minutes left in the game! TWO MINUTES LEFT???!!! No friggin way! I mean…. to be quite honest, I still felt pretty resigned to the fact that we had lost but I thought “Hey, why the hell not?? Let’s hurry and start the next inning and have ourselves one more try!” Coach Joe thought the very same thing and at the dismay of the other coaches, who just had victory snatched from their clutches–for another inning at least, Lucius took the mound to start the top of the sixth inning.

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Just to be clear, if there is still time left on the clock, a new inning can start and play out. Otherwise if time expires no new inning would be started.

The NASH half of the sixth inning came without incident. We had one more chance to catch up. The score was still 10-6……until Lucius lead off the inning with a solo shot over the left field fence…. This set the tone. The Jaxx were pumped up and so was the family cheering squad! There was an energy that rushed over the boys in the dugout that was conversely met with a stunned NASH team. Jaxx batter after Jaxx batter was getting quality at bats and getting on base.

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At last bases were loaded with the Jaxx down by one, and Connor works a crucial walk to bring the tying run home!

With one out, bases loaded and the winning run 90 feet away, Porter comes to bat and works the count 2-2. In comes the pitch and with one hard swing, Porter hits a dart that the shortstop cannot field cleanly…this scores the runner from third and wins the game to tremendous applause and celebration!!

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The Jaxx players started mauling Porter as the walk off hero and the Jaxx fan section were all over themselves as we snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat…..

Oh boy……

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With all that action who needs more drama??? Well….we do apparently!!

That Game 4 victory earned a trip to the championship game….which was going to be the third game of the day for these road warriors..

The championship game was against the Gulls. A scrappy little team from Northern Utah.

The game started in usual fashion with the Jaxx jumping out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning. Such was the case for the next couple innings. Notable mention goes to Wyatt for pitching an absolute gem of a game in a situation he is fairly new to…Wyatt really handled himself and took care of business!
But of course…..things cant just be easy right? After a few misplays by our Jaxx defense, the Gulls took advantage and was able to claw back to a 4-4 tie in the fourth…. That tie carried it’s way to extra innings in which the tournament institutes the “international tiebreaker rules”. This is when each team starts their half inning with a runner on second base. This obviously promotes scoring so as to break the tie, but it’s also extremely difficult for the defense of each side.

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Henry was placed on second and as was the case for Dom this tournament, he came through clutch and singled in Henry to put the Jaxx ahead 5-4. The inning then ended without us able to get in another run so the pressure was on the Jaxx BIG time to keep the Gulls’ automatic runner on second from scoring.

Lucius took the bump for his second straight inning of work and was able to get the first batter to pop out to SS..

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Then with one out in the bottom of the eighth, as Lucius begins his windup, ALL the lights in the entire field complex go out!! Every single light!

Yes……as weird as it seems in your mind….it was that weird! Both teams huddled back toward their respective dugouts and eventually met up around the home plate area to mingle a bit with the opposition… A league official was on hand making phone calls to the city officials and other tournament directors to find out the best course of action.

Many of the parents started going to their cars because not only was there zero visibility there were also 30 mph wind gusts bringing the temperature down to the 30-40 degree range… easily…

Just as the coaches had decided to call it a game, the lights started to come back on!!… At this point, despite the conditions, both teams really wanted to continue…..

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I guess I shall make a confession… I was 100% sure this was a terrible idea. I was positive we would regret them starting to play again after a 20 minute long, almost freezing delay in the game. All I could think about is Lucius not being able to throw a strike or a fielder not being able to make a long throw to first because of cold muscles…

Alas……the Jaxx took the field again. Lucius started hurling as if he had been chillin in a hot tub the whole time! He was pitching great… He got the next batter to ground out to 2B for the second out and finally with all the ups and downs this weekend of baseball provided, we were one out away from clinching the championship…. And so it goes…the batter hits a sharp ground ball to 3B…Isaiah fields it nicely and throws a BB to Wyatt at 1B to win the tournament and secure the Jaxx first First Place finish of the 2017 season!

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What a ride! These boys played with more heart than I have seen in a long time. When things got tough, they worked together to pull through…. When some kids had troubles putting good at-bats together, others picked up the slack and came through at the dish…. When errors or bonehead mistakes were made in the field, no one gave up.. Everyone kept playing for each other and that was an awesome sight!!

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Special shout out to Porter, Sanjay and Dom, whose clutch at-bats throughout the tournament put the tying or go ahead runs across the plate. I mentioned Wyatt above for his great work on the bump during the championship game, but I also want to mention one guy who really came up in big situations for the Jaxx all tournament long and that is Lucius… Lucius’ pitching appearances only really came when the stress level was already high and he managed to stay cool and collected and gave the team a chance to win…. Great job!

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Well…… I believe that is all!! See you Tuesday for our next game!!

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5 Comments

  1. Great story! You crack me up!!! “This game will surly be responsible for the 37 gray hairs I now have in a new region on my head…” Really happy for the Jaxx to experience this kind of win!!! Good work boys!

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  2. Matt ~ You are superb! Thank you for writing that up and for taking those incredible photos. SOOOO grateful 🙂
    PHENOMENAL job this weekend Jaxx boys!

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  3. Thank you Matt for writing this up and capturing such a great time for this team. Really was amazing!! I was so impressed with each and every player!! True GRIT!!

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  4. Way to go Jaxx! The fans stuck at home were glued to GameChanger, cheering the team on, and biting a few nails along the way. Thank you Matt for the great weekend summary.

    Liked by 1 person

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