Building Champions fights way into TCSB D-I 14u title mix

With the way matchups have fallen for the 14u Building Champions Navy squad, they’ve already played the Dallas Tigers twice in the TCSB Division I Championships.

Both of those games at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex were losses, but the Navy is more than happy to take another crack at it, having come through the loser’s bracket Saturday to earn a berth in the best-of-3 title series beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Complex.

The Navy made the cut with a run-rule 8-0 victory over the Omaha Royals, who had won three games in the loser’s bracket before running into the determined Navy unit. The Royals were held to one hit and one walk as Navy pitcher Chase Jans had total command of the moment.

“I like to just throw the ball and spot it up. When the offense works like that, you can just go out and be loose,” said Jans, who also had two hits and two RBI. “Throw it and let them go to work in the infield and outfield.”

The bottom of the order delivered for the Navy as the final three hitters – Johnny Pascuzzi, Tony Padron and Dawson Goe – each scored twice. Goe had two hits, and Jace Peters did nice work in the leadoff spot with two hits including a triple, and two RBI.

“I felt we had to make it to tomorrow, and so we did what we needed to do,” Peters said. “Make sure we are playing clean so we can win and get to tomorrow’s game. We’ve been hitting good all year, and when we play good defense we seem to be rolling through teams. We’ll try to win tomorrow and put it to them.”

The game ended with one out in the fifth inning, when an error by the Royals allowed the final two runs to come across. Navy coach Matt Wagner said his team will take some inspiration from playing well in the final innings of their last loss to the Tigers and simply try to execute what they know is possible.

“Our team has been resilient all year; we’ve done a good job of keeping a level head and just playing the game. You’re not going to have good innings sometimes,” said Wagner, who is new to coaching this team and took over after some of the players’ parents wanted to get out of the dugout and get another voice involved. “If you don’t get on the roller coaster of emotion, the game usually works out for you.

“Tomorrow is a fresh start. We have some pitching left, which is good especially after all these games, and it comes down to pitching and defense like it always does. I was fortunate to get this bunch; it’s a great group of kids, and they play the game the right way.”