MARIETTA, Ga. – Thursday started off promising enough for the number three seed Colorado Slammers Black as they won 5-2 in their first round playoff game against the number 14 seed Showcase Baseball Academy Canes White at Kell High School. But the team went right back to battle at Kell against the number 11 seed Orlando Scorpions 14u Purple (6-1) and lost the five-inning quarterfinal affair by a 11-2 score, ending the Slammers’ (6-1) run at the 2012 14u WWBA National Championship.
In game one, the Slammers rode right-handed starter Paul Tillotson’s pitching and a three-run fifth to break open a 2-2 game. Three of those five runs came on balks or wild pitches. In game two, however, the Slammers failed to keep the game close, falling behind 5-0 by the third inning.
The Slammers opened the tournament strong, winning six straight games by a combined 31 runs. Team owner and head coach Mark Holzemer said the team’s hitting was crucial to their success.
“We usually pitch well, but the difference with these guys is that they can hit,” said Holzemer, who has been with the organization for 10 years.
Pitching depth also carried the team far.
“Every guy on this team can pitch so that definitely helps us get deep in tournaments, and that’s really helped us in this tournament,” said Holzemer following game one. “I think there’s only one guy who hasn’t thrown yet for us in this tournament.”
Composed of mainly players from the Denver, Colo., metro area, this Slammers team came out to Georgia on a mission to prove Colorado can hang with other states in the travel baseball circuit.
“They wanted to come out here as a Colorado team and get some respect because usually the Colorado teams come out here and get looked over,” Holzemer said. “I think they’re making a name for themselves.”
Six states represented in quarterfinals
Teams that traveled here from six states were represented in the quarterfinal round of the WWBA 14u National Championship.
The Dallas Patriots Stout and the Texas Drillers advanced to the final eight after making the trip over from Texas. Florida was represented by the West Boca Panthers and the Orlando Scorpions Purple.
The other quarterfinalists were the Northeast Ruffnecks (Massachusetts); East Cobb Astros 15u (Georgia); San Diego Show (California); and Colorado Slammers (Colorado). The Dallas Patriots Stout, East Cobb Astros 15u, San Diego Show and Orlando Scorpions Purple advanced to the semifinals giving four states representatives in the tournament's final four.