By Kyle Koso
CHINO HILLS, CA – Putting up double-figure runs totals usually hints at a power-packed offense, going to work and launching balls all over the yard.
For the 18u Batbusters-Stith squad, Thursday’s resounding 13-1 victory against Sorcerers-Gabales/Rodruguez was rooted in the little things, where quality at-bats and steady pressure led to good fortune as play continued at the TC Nationals event.
The Batbusters started the second inning with three infield hits and two fielder’s-choice plays way in front of the outfield turf, a testament to the damage done by small ball. Ultimately, a costly error that would have been the third out at home plate opened the door for more, and a couple more hits of the firm variety capped the push at seven runs.
“We take pride in swinging at strikes, and sometimes it’s tough out there. You can win an at-bat hitting it hard, but a base hit is the (goal),” said Batbusters catcher Alexis Ramirez (a UCLA commit), who reached base in all four of her appearances and had a single and double in the big second inning. “It’s good to know I can produce for my team and help my pitcher get comfortable. She can give up a hit or two then, no big deal.”
Ramirez’s second double of the game brought in a run in the fourth, and the muscle showed up in the fifth inning with a five-run outburst – Ella Parker (Oklahoma) drove in two runs with a single, and Jocey Erickson (Oklahoma) ended all debate with a long three-run homer.
In the circle, Ryan Maddox (heading to play at Arizona this fall) was in full command and control, allowing three hits and two walks to go with seven strikeouts.
“I was throwing them off-balance with the changeup; I did start to struggle a bit with the strike zone, but I trusted my defense,” Maddox said. “Threw them strikes, got some ground balls and a few swing-and-misses. The big lead made me feel better. I just tried to hit the corners and keep them off-balance, and I know my teammates have my back if they do put it in play.
“At the top of the lineup we have some slappers, and if they can get on base, our big hitters will drive them in. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”
“Ryan is always a dog – I can count on her to throw strikes. Every time there is a big moment, I feel like she steps up even more,” Ramirez added. “It’s her time to time; I have all the confidence in the world with her, and she’s great to work with.”
Ailani Agbayani (BYU) had two hits and two RBI for the Batbusters. Alexis DeBoer had two hits for the Sorcerers.
The Batbusters-Stith will face Firecrackers TJ on Friday with the winner earning a spot in the 18u championship bracket, while the other team can still make it through in a loser’s bracket game on Saturday.