Therefore, it was hardly surprising that two teams in the minor league division, the Marauders and the Mudcats, staged an epic battle at the Parque de Vida on May 27.
After five innings of back-and-forth baseball, the scoreboard favored the Marauders 9-8, thanks to solid late-inning pitching and a walk off hit by 9-year-old Elijah Lee.
Long before Lee’s walk off hit however, momentum rested with the Mudcats, who, showing patience at the plate, scored five runs in the top of the first inning.
The Marauders battled back in the bottom of the first inning, cutting the Mudcats lead to 5-3 after 8-year-old Braden Hallman opened the inning with a single and several subsequent batters walked and later scored.
The Mudcats hung tough in subsequent innings however, scoring one run in the third inning and one run in the fourth inning to extend their lead to 8-5 entering the bottom of the fourth inning.
“We did good,” said 9-year-old Mudcats first baseman Gabriel Crowley.
“Good” was not quite enough to keep the Marauders down, however, and after a two-run single up the middle by Hallman in the bottom of the fourth inning, the game was tied, 8-8.
“I was happy,” said Hallman of his run-scoring hit.
After holding the Mudcats scoreless in the top of the fifth inning, the Marauders came to bat needing just one run to secure the win.
That run was delivered courtesy of 9-year-old Elijah Lee, whose two-out single to center drove home the game-deciding run.
“We had a bad start, but we had to keep fighting through it,” said Lee.
Clearly disappointed by their loss, several Mudcats players appeared disappointed. After a spirited pep talk by Mudcats manager Josh Cornett, however, smiles soon dotted players’ faces.
“Keep your heads up,” urged Cornett. “You all played well. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”