New teammates. New brothers. New beginning to a summer to never forget. The 12u CT Moose kicked off the summer at the PIT Summer Slam. This marked the first ever tournament and game of baseball that these boys had played together in, and boy was it a wild first weekend.
The action started Saturday with two double headers. Unfortunarely, the 12u CT Moose were unable to capture a win on day one. After losing 18-6 against the Shoreline Reds in game one followed by a 7-4 defeat against the EHLL All Stars in game two, the energy suddenly shifted overnight. With the tournament being structured the way it was, the 12u CT Moose were given a chance at redemption on Sunday.
Playoff Sunday came in hot. The 12u CT Moose met the Shoreline Reds in the quarterfinals for a highly anticapted rematch. This time, the boys came to play. After only scoring 10 runs on day one of the PIT Summer Slam, an answer of seven runs in the quarterfinal led to a 7-1 victory during the revenge match against the Shoreline Reds. Stellar performance from Colin Gish, who led the Meese bats with two hits and two RBI's. Grant Bialczak and Nolan Bialek were also big time contributors to the Meese lineup in the quarterfinal.
The bats weren't the only thing that was hot during the quarterfinal on Sunday. Reagan Corcoran threw a complete game, allowing two hits and one run, while striking out two. A much needed win during the quarterfinal allowed for the 12u CT Moose to continue tournament play and meet the Northeast Clutch in the semifinal.
Now, if you are new to the Moose baseball program, you might be surprised at the performance in the semifinal by the youngsters, but once you toss on the Meese antlers, a special comeback attribute is kicked into your DNA. Former catcher for the Moose, Conor Hawkins is now on the staff as a coach for the 12u CT Moose, and he is a seasoned vet at late inning heroics.
In the semifinal, the Northeast Clutch jumped out to a 6-2 lead after three innings, but that was nowhere near the end for the 12u CT Moose. No lead was safe in this one. In the top of the 4th, the Meese army charged back with 8 runs. Reagen Corcoran, Jacoby Romeiko, Colin Gish, Dylan Gunning, Connor Janis and Nolan Bialek all recorded an RBI in the monstrous top of the fourth rally. Dylan Gunning was able to knock in two runs, including the go ahead run to put the Moose up heading into the bottom of the fourth.
The Northeast Clutch had an answer, putting up six runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead heading into the last inning. Talk about handling adversity the right way, wait til you hear what happens next...
Two words. Grand. Slam. After Romeiko led the top of the sixth off with a single, followed by a Bialczak walk and a Gish single, the bases were loaded with no outs. In came Dylan Gunning. In his previous at bat he put the Moose up 7-6, but in the top of the sixth, with the pressure on, the dream moment was completed.
Gunning launched a Grand Slam to retake the lead and put the Moose up 14-12. It doesn't get any better than that. Shortly after, Manzo reached base and later scored, Bonin doubled, and Sydney McAdam knocked in a run to give the 12u CT Moose some much needed breathing room heading into the final half inning.
The Meese led 16-12 with three outs to head to the championship. After allowing two runs in the last half inning, the 12u CT Moose were able to close out the Northeast Clutch and head to its first championship as a team together. What a way to start the summer.
Unfortunately the boys ran out of gas in the championship and were unable to take home the gold medal, but any hardware is good hardware, especially during a teams first competition together.
An MVP award will be given to one player on the CT Moose team during every tournament, and for the PIT Summer Slam, the MVP award goes to Dylan Gunning for his heroic moments in the semifinal thriller. Gunning went 5 for 11 with a homerun, two doubles, six RBI's and six runs. Watch out Mike Demio, Gunning is coming for that Player of the Year award.
This summer will be unforgettable for the Connecticut Moose program, and thanks to the 12u CT Moose, the kickoff tournament hit the jackpot.