By Tony Adams
The Belton 10U Ducks swept through the field at last week’s 2016 Texas Teenage Baseball Association District 9 Tournament in Cameron to earn a spot in Monday’s 2016 TTAB Boys 10U Tight Base State Tournament field.
The Ducks won the championship with a resounding 8-1 win over the Cameron D-Backs last Thursday, just one night removed from a bizarre 9-5 win over D-Backs.
The 9-5 win involved a protest about a potential non-rostered player, a player ejection in the first inning, a host of questionable calls and off-field accident that sent a four-year-old child to the hospital.
“It was the craziest, strangest game I had ever been a part of, either as a player or coach,” Ducks’ assistant coach Joe Lopez remarked on Facebook following the game. “I have been involved with a lot of them.”
The Ducks took an early 3-0 lead in the championship game, as they batted through the lineup. Cade Higginbotham, Ashton Farris, Trap Johnson and Kadyn Martinez all scored in the frame. Cooper Mees, Collin Taylor and Truitt Costine were all stranded on base to end the inning, signifying the success of the team’s at-bat.
Meanwhile, Martinez was electric on the mound for the Ducks. He retired the D-Backs on nine pitches in the first inning.
Belton staked Martinez with another pair of runs in the second, As Higginbotham and Farris scored again. Johnson, Martinez and Mees loaded up the bases with no one out, but the Ducks were not able to score again, taking a 5-0.
Martinez breezed through the second inning and were able to wriggle out of first-and-third situation in the third inning, keeping the lead at five runs. Martinez added a solo shot to lead off the fourth to bump the Ducks’ advantage to six runs.
After retiring the D-Backs in order in the fourth, the Ducks quacked across two more runs in the fifth. Conner Haun walked, Johnson doubled and Martinez’s two-run double upped the score to 8-0.
The D-Backs broke the shutout in the bottom of the sixth with a run, but the margin was too great to overcome, as the Ducks took home the District 9 championship.
The Ducks outscored its opponents 48-7 in the four tournament games, with an average score of 12-2.
Johnson hit .733 for the tournament (11-of-15) and scored nine runs. Martinez hit .727 for the tournament (8-of-11, three walks, HBP), Farris hit .600 (6-of-10, four walks) and Mees hit .583 (7-of-12, three walks).
The Belton A’s finished in third in the tournament, falling to the D-Backs in the loser’s bracket final. It gave Belton two of the three top finishes in the tournament.
The members of the Keegan Costine’s Belton Ducks are: Truitt Costine, Gage Flores, Conner Haun, Cade Higginbotham, Tyler Johnson, Samuel Johnson, William Knight, Austin Lopez, Sebastian Magana Avila, Kadyn Martinez, Aden Villegas, Ashton Farris, Cooper Mees and Collin Taylor.