Bandits get 8-year-olds’ Cup crown

Published 11:24 am Monday, July 30, 2012

The older kids showed the youngsters a thing or two Sunday at the Governor’s Cup.

Taylon Smith hit two home runs, Tyler Sanders went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, and the Vicksburg Bandits routed the Mississippi Jammers 16-3 to win the 8-year-olds’ championship at Halls Ferry Park.

The Bandits had a perfect 4-0 record in the Cup and outscored their opponents 59-16. In the championship game, they scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, five more in the second, and were never challenged.

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The Bandits reached the semifinals in two other tournaments this summer, and the championship game once. The Governor’s Cup was the first tournament they’ve won, however.

“It’s a good one to do it,” Bandits coach Joe Graves said. “The four games we played this tournament were probably the best we’ve played all summer. Confidence can do a lot with the way you play. We got lucky and got hot at the right time.”

The Jammers, a Vicksburg-based 7-year-olds’ team that was playing up an age group this weekend, have a 54-15 record this summer with more than half the losses coming against 8-year-olds’ teams. They were undefeated in the Governor’s Cup until running into the Bandits.

Chase Smith went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Jammers, who took a 1-0 lead in the first inning but never recovered from the Bandits’ early onslaught.

“I thought we played well. I was disappointed in the championship game, but you have to give a lot of credit to the Bandits. They just crushed the baseball and never really gave us a chance to get ourselves into the ballgame with the way they were swinging the bats,” Jammers coach Randy Wright said. “I’m proud of our team with our effort this weekend.”

Two other teams from Vicksburg lost in the championship games of their respective age groups.

The Vicksburg Stars outscored their first three opponents 58-18 but lost to the Louisiana Thunder in the 6-year-olds’ title game. In the 10-year-olds’ bracket, the Vicksburg Billies fell 11-3 to the Red River Prospects.

The Prospects’ Peyton Lewis scored three runs and hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning that ended the game by the mercy rule. Kade Garmany went 2-for-2 and scored twice, and Bryson Connell allowed one run in three innings on the mound.

The Billies had also lost to the Prospects — a select team comprised of players from the Shreveport area — in pool play, but battled back to win two elimination games to reach the final. The Prospects, however, scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruised to the win.

“The pitching was great, defense was great and we hit the ball pretty good,” Billies coach Tim Shelton said of his team’s tournament run. “We just ran up against great competition and ran out of gas, too.”

The Brookhaven Blazers scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to beat the Madison Marlins 6-5 in the 12-year-olds’ championship game.

The Louisiana Showcase, a select team from Lafayette, won the 14-year-olds’ title with a 4-3 victory over the Mississippi Cardinals.

The Governor’s Cup resumes Friday night with games in the 7-, 8-, 9-, 11- and 13-year-olds’ age groups.