By Erin Canning
Ten games, nine wins, seven days and two championship wins. The Ramona Rattlers had an amazing Spring Break.
Not only did the baseball team wipe out the competition in the Bonita at the one-day U.S. Traveling Baseball Association Tournament on Sunday, April 5, by winning 3 of 3, but the team turned around for a trip to Las Vegas U.S. Specialty Sports Association World Series qualifier.
The first day of Las Vegas games began on a Thursday with a rough start and a bad call by the umpire. The boys couldn’t recover from the mishap and lost their first game to the Coyotes by a score of 4-3. It did not look promising.
Once the first-game jitters subsided, the boys settled into it and worked together to pull out their first win and the start of something as the score ended with a five-run lead and a score of 8-3 against the Las Vegas Titans.
It was hard to slow the Ramona players down once they got a taste of success, and Friday’s first game brought lots of cheers from moms and dads as the Rattlers rolled over the Las Vegas Hurricanes with a 7-1 ending score.
One field change and a new team brought added challenges to Friday’s second game with the first two innings chasing the Crew’s lead. As the boys huddled with hands in tight and yelled their customary team chant “Hits,” it all seem to fall into place. Finally, the boys pulled together their bats and strong defense to bring in runs and stop the other team in its tracks. The win was theirs with 8-3.
Saturday morning brought another early game and the scare of single elimination play. Neither team was willing to go home yet and a vicious fight ensued until the end. Once again, the Rattlers held their lead and walked into the semi-final game victorious.
The semi-final game brought the fiercest competitor yet, the Utah Rockhounds. The Rockhounds brought their bats and took the initial lead. Undaunted, the Rattlers called upon their strong defense to keep the Rockhounds stranded on base and showed them what they do in batting practice. The boys proved more than capable. Finally the last out was made and the Rattlers were headed for the championship game, winning 4–2.
After winning 8 out of the last 9 tournament games played, coaches and parents were begging for the elusive last win. The last game seemed like a miracle as the Rattlers pulled ahead early and maintained their strong lead. With a bit of protest from the Las Vegas Bandits and the 5th inning approaching, the game was suddenly over. They had won it all as the game was called due to an ”Eight-Run Rule” with a 10-2 score. They had outplayed the 11 other 12U teams from several states. Two championships, one week and 11 preteen heroes.
The team sends a big and hearty thanks to their unforgettable and generous sponsors, without whom little of this would have been possible: Dr Susan Homesley, Ransom Bros. Hardware, Barona Casino and Pott Belly Shop.