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Hart Mustang opens with a bang

Local youth baseball team wins first game of national tourney despite scheduling issue

Posted: August 26, 2010 9:24 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A scheduling mix-up forced the William S. Hart PONY League Mustang All-Stars to rush through breakfast Thursday.
Once they got to the baseball field, they rushed right through their opponent.

Hart Mustang used a big second inning to defeat Shreveport, La. 11-1 in five innings in the opening game of the National Youth Baseball 10U Championship in Memphis, Tenn.

The local team will finish pool play with two games today, the first at 10:30 a.m. Central Standard Time against Houston-based Banditos Black, followed by a game at 3:30 p.m. CST against Team Florida AAU.

But Hart Mustang almost didn’t show up on time for the first game.

Head coach Jerry Miller said he and his assistants attended a managers meeting at 10 a.m. CST and found out the official schedules had been printed in Eastern time. Therefore, the 1 p.m. game they thought they were playing turned out to be at noon.

After calling and texting the parents at the team hotel, the players arrived at the field in time to warm up.

“We were worried about how their production was going to be, but they battled,” Miller said.

After scoring twice in the first inning, Hart Mustang blew the game open with a seven-run second. Shreveport’s pitching staff lost its control and Hart Mustang scored runs on both a wild pitch and a passed ball in the inning. Cody Jefferis had the biggest hit, a two-run single that plated Erik Distad and Nicholas Valdez.

Once the inning ended, Hart Mustang had built an insurmountable 9-0 lead.

The fields in Memphis are bigger than what Hart Mustang is used to, but it didn’t affect the team on Thursday.

In fact, Miller said he never expected such an explosive start.

“No, not at all,” he said. “You don’t know what to expect. Obviously every team that’s here won their own World Series. Our bats were hot.”

The top of the lineup did the most damage. Caden Miller finished 4-for-4 with three runs and an RBI, while Cole Roederer and Noah Cardenas combined for four hits, three runs and six RBIs.

Hart Mustang added two more runs in the fifth, when Roederer plated Miller and Valdez with a single. Jefferis and Timmy Josten also scored in the game.

But Hart Mustang’s pitching was equally good.

Josten held Shreveport scoreless over three innings of work, allowing just one hit while striking out four. Dominic Eberle came on in relief and pitched two innings, allowing one run.

Pitching and defense has been a critical component for Hart Mustang all season, and Thursday was no different.

“The defense really helped (Josten) out a lot,” Miller said. “We had four or five diving plays up the field, just some ESPN and highlight-type plays.”

Even with all the flare, Miller doesn’t expect his team to be overconfident heading into today’s games.

“We actually had five or six kids who scouted the other game with us,” Miller said. “They left saying, ‘Those guys are pretty good.’ They’ve been doing this long enough. They realize you can’t take anyone lightly.”


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