Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

14-and-under Lansing squad off to red-hot start

June 7, 2007

The Lansing Reds 14-and-under baseball team is hitting the field, and the road, running this summer.

The Reds, a traveling team that is coached by Jim Stratton and Mike Haller, have the goal of preparing youths to play baseball at the high school and college level. Based on their on-the-field success so far, this summer could be a big step toward achieving those goals.

After a slow start to the season at a rain-shortened tournament in Kansas City in mid-April, the Reds have ironed out the wrinkles in their pitching and hitting. They needed a few games to settle in, but their winter of hard work has begun paying off.

The Reds rolled into the second tournament of the season posted a 4-2 record. That earned them second place for the tournament, and they collected their first trophy of the season.

The next weekend the Reds traveled to Blue Valley to play in their third tournament in as many weekends. They only allowed one run in four games while going 4-0 and claiming first place. In the title game, the Reds rolled to a 3-0 victory over the Overland Park Falcons. Matt Stratton struck out 15 in the victory, and received strong offensive support from teammates Parker Gibson and Scott Moore.

After a week off, the Reds returned to action May 12-13 at the Diamond Classic "AA" Tournament at Billard Park West in Topeka. Matt Stratton struck out 12 in an 8-0 victory in the opener. Then Zak Haller and Gibson split time on the mound during a 12-0 victory in game two. In bracket play, the Reds used a 17-1 run-rule victory to advance to the semifinals. Scott Moore threw five strong innings in a 9-1 victory over the Great Bend Marlins that sent the Reds into the finals. Matt Stratton returned to the mound for the title game against the Topeka Titans, and struck out nine as the Reds claimed an 11-5 victory in five innings. Matthew O'Brien had the Reds' most outstanding weekend at the plate as he reached base in each of his eight at-bats.

The Reds spent May 18-20 in Martin City, Mo., chasing down their third straight tournament title. Competing in the Southtown Showdown, a "AA" tournament, they posted a 4-0 record and improved their record to 17-4.


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