Maypearl — IYAA 8U boys Italy White coach pitch baseball team, sponsored by Cate Welding, tried to avenge Saturday’s tournament loss to host Maypearl in a Sunday rematch with both sides answering one challenge after another. Italy head coach, Jackie Cate, Jr., along with assistant coaches, Ken Cate, and, Jackie Cate, Sr., and their team may have been the underdogs coming in, but with the game tied 12-12 late, Maypearl had underestimated Italy’s hearts of gold.
Desperate to hang on, Maypearl scored the maximum 5 runs allowed during their final about to apply the pressure. Unfortunately, Italy White could only manage 2 runs after a play at home resulted in final out of the game to secure the 17-14 victory for Maypearl.
It was a tough loss but Italy’s fans were proud of the effort and cheered from beginning to end. Italy’s heavy hitters were John Hall with two home runs and Brody Hugghins that had earned the respect of Maypearl’s dugout when faint whispers could be heard saying, “Here comes that good hitter.” Austin Cate was active offensively as well, blasting a triple early in the battle. Bryce Ballard added a double to help Italy keep pace and Dustin Duke hit his way on base consistently as did Hayden Ellis and Kross Cate.
Italy White finished the season in 3rd Place while Maypearl prepared for their second game of the afternoon against Italy Gold. Though Italy fans had hoped for and Italy vs. Italy final, the championship game between Italy Gold, sponsored by Stiles Land & Cattle, and Maypearl still proved to be exciting as a rivalry matchup.
Italy Gold, head coached by, Nick Copeland, and assisted by Salvador Ramirez, III, Clay Sparks and Jay Hellner, trailed 3-2 after the first-inning but outscored Maypearl 5-0 in the second-inning to go up 8-2. Italy Gold’s 5 run inning would prove to be difference by game’s end.
Italy Gold’s offensive was powered throughout by Jay Copeland, Jalyn Wallace with a homer, Easton Viator with a triple, Taylor Sparks with a double, Cohen Hodge scoring runs and player to watch, Clayton Hellner.
Defensively, left fielder Hagen Carr, did a good job keeping the balls in front of him and Hellner in right field did well relaying the throws back into his infield teammates. Wallace was solid at first base and Gavin Ramirez was a beast at third. Shortstop, Jay Copeland, was a top player in the tournament as were Viator and Sparks at catcher.
With Maypearl trying to rally during their last at bat, Italy’s Wallace, secured the ball and then stepped on his base for the first out. As the play continued, Wallace chased down a Maypearl runner rounding third, catching the runner between bases. Wallace then threw the ball to Ramirez, who made the tag as the runner tried sliding back to third. Ramirez had a pair of tag outs earlier in the contest but none was bigger than the one that left Maypearl facing two outs and still trailing by four runs. Italy’s fans roared with their little men needing just one more out to claim the top prize.
Maypearl’s final batter struck out swinging to end the game and the Italy players rushed off the field with their hands and mitts held high. The final score was Italy Gold 11 and Maypearl 7. While celebrating with their coaches, Italy found time to congratulate Maypearl after the game and then raced back to the dugout to celebrate some more. Both teams were presented individual player trophies during a post game ceremony.
Congratulations to both IYAA clubs with Italy Gold claiming the championship in the boys 8U division and Italy White finishing in 3rd Place.