MARIETTA, Ga. - Small ball is what is keeping the Diamond Devils 15u Blue alive in pool play of the 2013 15u WWBA National Championship. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh of a 2-2 game, AJ Sessions did something nobody saw coming: he placed a bunt down the third base line. With the third baseman back, Sessions knew he would have a strong chance of reaching first base and winning the game.
“The third baseman was probably 20 feet back of the grass so I figured if I could just lay one down the third base side he had no play,” said Sessions.
“He did that on his own,” said head coach Banks Faulkner. “That was a heck of a job by him.”
Faulkner might not have called for the bunt, but with Sessions up they figured there was a chance Sessions would lay one down. “We spent some time with him a couple weeks ago working on his short game,” Faulkner said. “It’s good to see him taken to that.”
“It keeps our week alive,” Sessions said. "We feel like we're the best team in the pool and we should win it."
With the 3-2 win over the Banditos of Austin 15u this morning, the Diamond Devils 15u Blue improves to 4-1 in their pool, with their only loss a 2-1 game against the undefeated Kentucky Baseball Club Billingsley.
“We definitely have shot,” Sessions said about their playoff chances. “I feel like we have the pitching to do it, we have the hitting to do it, and we have the defense to do it.”
“We’ve won a lot of different ways,” said Faulkner. “We always talk about three things: you gotta pitch, you gotta play defense, and you gotta hit with two outs.”
The Diamond Devils 15u Blue jumped out in front in the first inning, scoring two runs, which, for the longest time, seemed like it could be enough. The Banditos of Austin 15u fought their way back in it, scoring runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 2-2.
The defense provided a lot of big plays and kept Austin at bay. “Hogan Kelly, defensively, made some unbelievable plays,” Faulkner said. “Hogan had some big plays that gave us some energy.”
The bottom of the seventh started with a walk, then a single by Jeff Gottesman. Robert Byrd then sacrificed the two runners to second and third. Following the sacrifice was an intentional walk and an infield fly, which set the stage for Sessions to be the hero.
“I just try to be a good team player,” said Sessions. “I just get out here and play baseball the way I play baseball.”
“It was a wild one,” Faulkner said. “Sort of like every game down here has been for us.”
This is the third one-run game the Diamond Devils 15u Blue have played in through five games so far. On Saturday, they battled back from four runs down to beat the Doubleday Yankees, 6-5.
Their sole loss came in a one-run game on Saturday as well. Kentucky Baseball Club Billingsley scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to win 2-1.
The Diamond Devils 15u Blue play the Dirtbags Gold and the Chain Pirates to close out pool play.