COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA – In a windy and abnormally cool June day at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex, the Lone Tree Halos from Colorado gutted out two wins over the Dirty South Venom from Virginia in the best-of-3 series to win the 2017 Omaha SlumpBuster 10U TCSB DI championship.
The Halos opened the morning with a come-from-behind victory in Game 1, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth in a walk-off 5-4 victory. The Halos then jumped to an early 6-0 lead in Game 2, as it looked like the Venom had not recovered from the day’s opener, a game which it had lead up until the bottom of the sixth.
But two runs in the third and then a monster fifth inning, in which the Venom tallied five hits and three walks on the way to eight runs, forced Game 3 with a 10-6 victory.
In the third game, Trevor Gottsegen hit a lead-off single and eventually scored on an error to give the Halos a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
The Halos added six runs in the third inning, which was sparked by leadoff hitter Gottsegen who blasted a single and then stole second base. Hayden Stranak would knock in Gottsegen with an RBI double. The next three Lone Tree batters would reach base on errors, followed by a hit-by-pitch on Braedan Reichert. With bases loaded, Presley James would crush a shot over the outfielder’s head scoring three more runs to push the lead to 7-0.
The Venom would tally two runs in the fourth off of back-to-back doubles by Mason Yovich and Dylon Wood. They would add one more in the fifth and another in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough as the Halos would prevail, 7-4.
“Being able to come out here and play eight great teams was unbelievable. Every game was a battle,” said Halos head coach Paul James. “In the second game, I think we got a little confident and let down a little bit. I told those guys you can’t do that when you play good competition. A good team will come back and beat you when you let up.”
Lone Tree pitcher Carter Landen was solid from the mound, allowing eight hits and four runs in a complete-game effort. The final out came on a Landen fastball for strike three against Venom hitter Thomas Wilson, who was caught looking.
“I feel really happy and glad we won,” said Landen a fifth-grader from Centennial, CO. “Before heading out to the mound in the sixth inning, I told myself to try my hardest, don’t give up and keep on going until you get the last out.”
“He (Carter) was phenomenal today. He threw strikes and was consistent. You can’t say enough about a kid who can have complete game in a game like this. Very impressive,” said James.
It’s the second straight year that the Halos are heading back home with Omaha SlumpBuster hardware. In 2016, the team captured the 9U D1 championship after defeating the Dallas Tigers in the championship, 10-9.
“It’s the most fun tournament of the year. It’s a great experience the kids love it. The umpires were phenomenal, the fields are in great shape, you (Triple Crown) do a great job,” said James.