EULESS – The Texas Rockies 12U - Black came into the spring looking to build off its success attained from a season ago that consisted of the ball club seizing twenty-two wins, two championship titles, and were awarded a promotion by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) to compete at the triple-a level. Appearing to be poised and ready to begin a new era, the Rockies wrapped their first tournament of the 2019 spring baseball season on what turned out to be a cold and wet weekend at The Parks at Texas Star with a 3-1 record and a runner-up finish in the March Into Spring NIT tournament.
The event attracted sixty-eight teams across eight total age divisions and classifications, making it one of the largest youth baseball tournaments held in the DFW over the weekend, and followed a typical USSSA format: two game pool play schedule on Saturday then seeded based on record and average runs allowed serving as a tiebreaker metric into a single elimination bracket that would be played on Sunday in order to crown a champion. Slated with a double header pool play schedule on Saturday afternoon, the Rockies began the two-day event with an impressive 13-1 victory over the TCR Bobcats in the season opener, highlighted by a dominating pitching performance from left-handed pitcher Lennox Byrd who recorded the 24th no-hitter in the history of the Texas Rockies Baseball Organization. Following the monumental feat in the tournament opener, southpaw Wallace Archie provided his ball club with another superb outing on the mound to guide the Rockies to a 12-3 win against the NTXBC Dirtbags. The Rockies' sweep in pool play merited the ball club with the top overall seed and a first-round bye heading into Sunday's single elimination bracket, where they would await the winner of the "4 vs. 5" matchup. With their tournament hopes now on the line, the Rockies opened bracket play on Sunday afternoon with a hard fought 12-5 victory versus the NTXBC Dirtbags to clinch a birth into the championship game for a shot at capturing the March Into Spring NIT title. The Rockies would unfortunately endure their first loss of the weekend at the most critical time, falling at the hands of the TCR Bobcats to evaporate their aspirations of claiming their first championship of the new season. Shortly after the conclusion of the title game, the Rockies' players were presented with silver rings for their second-place finish in the tournament but the team exited the park with their head held high knowing the future remained bright for the ball club.
In their first event of the season, the Rockies posted a .397 team batting average on the weekend and outscored its opposition by a combined total of 49-32, while tallying twenty-seven hits that resulted in the ball club scoring at least twelve runs in each of their four contests in the tournament. John Stephen Hohmann earned the program's Offensive Player of the Week following his 4-for-9 performance at the plate that included two RBI, nine runs scored, five stolen bases, one walk, and one hit-by-pitch. Cooper Rabin, too, had a terrific weekend swinging the bat by going 4-for-8 (.500) with one double, one RBI, and four runs scored in the tournament. A few other players of note were Lennox Byrd, Wallace Archie, Bryce Laczkowski, and Jack Frary, who each contributed to the offense's surge with at least three hits a piece.
Despite contending with some unfavorable weather conditions throughout the weekend, the Rockies' pitching staff continued to flex its dominance on the mound. Left-handed pitcher Lennox Byrd, who was tabbed as the program's Pitcher of the Week, set the tone in the season opener by tossing the 24rd no-hitter in the history of the Texas Rockies Baseball Organization. Southpaw Wallace Archie and right-hander Deven Pietrzak also provided their ball club with superb outings of their own, as both of the Rockies' hurlers turned in complete game performances that allowed them to register their first victory of the year. The success attained by the Rockies' pitching staff was amassed by the valiant efforts exhibited by the team's defense. The Rockies' defenders accumulated sixteen assists and forty-two putouts in sixty-seven total chances across the team's four games played in the tournament.
The Texas Rockies 12U - Black baseball team will take the next two weekends off for spring break and will look to resume tournament play on March 30-31 by contending in the Can't Fool Me April NIT tournament in Dallas, Texas.