Lamorinda Baseball Club
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2008 Season Archives – Cougars 11U

 Updated 8-20-08

2008 TBS Final 11U Rankings –

1. (6) Lamorinda Baseball (CA) – The Lamorinda Cougars were dominating at the Elite World Series against the strongest field assembled in one tournament.  They conquered these top ranked teams: TABU (3rd), West Chester Sluggers (5th), Florida Fire (7th), Houston Lightning (10th) twice, and RBA Seahawks (19th).  The Cougars finished with an 87 – 21 – 3 record, 43-17-3 record against the older boys and a 44-4 record against teams in their age group.  The Cougars were a pre-season favorite (ranked 3rd in first ranking by TBS), traveled across the country and slipped at the rain shortened BITS tournament (2-2), made some adjustments to the team and finished strong with an impressive Championship at the Elite World Series. A successful season has created an interest from top players who are looking to join the Cougars in the fall.

August 9, 2008 – Orlando, Florida

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA TEAM WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE

The 11 and under Lamorinda Cougars capped off an exciting week of fierce baseball competition at the 2008 USSSA Elite World Series in Orlando, Florida by taking home the National Champion title.  This is the first time a team from Northern California has won the national title in any age division.

The Elite World Series brings together the nation’s top 24 elite travel baseball teams in each age division, to face off in a week long battle for the National Championship title at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida.

The Cougars, of the Lamorinda Baseball Club in Moraga, blazed through the tournament undefeated, despite facing some of the top ranked teams in the country.  They were seeded first after pool play, having defeated the #3 ranked Florida Fire and the North Alabama Giants.

Entering the double elimination playoff round, the Cougars first met the RBA Seahawks from Corpus Christi, Texas, ranked 10th by Travel Ball Select.  The Cougars then had to beat the Houston Lightening (#5 nationally) twice.  The first game was a 9 run shut out, but the 2nd game was a come from behind win late in the game.  The Cougars, down by 6, scored 7 runs in the 5th inning to take the lead.  The scoring marathon was capped off by Walter Tucker’s two out game winning hit.  The Cougars held on tightly to their one run lead, getting 3 quick outs in the top of the 6th to end the game.

In the semi-final game, the Cougars met their Northern California rivals, TABU (#2 nationally), which lived up to expectations as being the game of the tournament.  The Cougars and TABU have met on their home turf three times this season, with the Cougars coming out on top with a last inning come from behind win each time.  The semi-final game did not disappoint.  The game was a defensive battle that remained scoreless through 3 innings.  The Cougs pulled off yet another come from behind win in the 5th inning, with Tucker once again providing the game winning hit, to propel the Cougars on to the Championship game.   Pitcher Daniel Slominski allowed only two hits and two unearned runs, striking out 9 in a complete game victory over the nation’s #2 ranked team.

In the Championship game vs. the West Chester Sluggers of Ohio, the Cougars took an 8-0 after 2 innings.  They easily held on to win the game 10-4, taking home the National Championship crown.

Slominski was named the tournament MVP with 3 complete game wins and a save over the nation’s #2, #3, #5 and #10 ranked teams and giving up only one earned run in 18 innings.  Joe DeMers led the Cougar’s offense in most categories and was named the Elite 24 Offensive MVP.  DeMers also pitched the Cougars to 3 wins and a save, including a perfect game.

The Cougars finished the 2008 season as the #1 11 under team in the nation with a record of 80 wins and 18 losses (only 4 of the losses were to 11U teams, as the Cougars played up most of the season, dominating in the 12U division and winning several 12 U tournaments).


June 29, 2008

The 11U Cougars continue to win when playing up in the 12U division.
After pool play the Cougars came into the championship round as the #1 seeded team. The Cougars won their semi final game by a score of 8-0.   Their Championship opponent was the Brentwood Boys where the game remained close for the first three innings until the Cougars broke it out in the bottom of the 4th ending the game by a final score of 9 -1.
Championship Game MVP – Daniel Slominski
Tournament MVP – Connor McNally
Next stop – Twin Creeks Annual Stars and Stripes Tournament July 4-6, where the Cougars will once again play up in the 12U division.

June 15, 2008

It was quite a weekend for the Cougars and an extra bonus for the dad’s. It was Father’s Day, there was baseball being played and their boys were the TOC Champs!
Saturday started off with the Home Run Derby where Lamorinda had a good showing with Tyler Petite blasting 5 home runs taking 2nd place followed by Joe DeMers who placed third with 4 home runs.
Loaded with powerful pitching, top to bottom offensive players, and a rock solid defense, the Cougars played throughout the weekend in dominating fashion going 5-0 and outscoring their opponents 56-3, each game won by slaughter rule!
Tournament MVP – Drew Downing
 
Next stop – Brentwood Ballin Tournament June 28-29, the Cougars will play up in the 12U division.

May 26, 2008

 
Memorial Day Weekend is one of America’s favorite past-times, “Baseball”.  The 11U Cougars traveled to Elk Grove, CA this weekend with a team of 10 and continued to display their remarkable skills even when playing up in the 12U division.  Pool Play games would be especially important as only 4 teams out of the 12 would advance to Monday.
On Saturday the Cougars broke in their bats as they beat North Area 12-1.  The Starmaker Diamonds would not make it s easy.  In an offensive contest, both teams would end in an 8-8 tie.  On Sunday the Cougars were victorious against Family First and the Benecia Baysox .
After pool play the Cougars came into the championship round as the #3 seeded team where they were set to play the #2 seeded Golden Gaters.  The Gaters had a 4-2 lead at the end of five.  The Cougars battled back in the top of the 6th to tie up the game and then held the Gaters in the bottom of the 6th.  Neither team would score in the 7th and 8th innings.  The Cougars came up with 2 big runs in the top of the 9th and went on to win the game by a score of 6-4.
This set up a face off against the Elk Grove Thunder in the championship game.  With great defense from both teams and a pitchers duel, this game went 7 innings and ended in a 2-1 Cougars win.
Tournament MVP’s
All around – Walter Tucker
Offensive – Tyler Petite
Defensive – Eric Benedetti
Honorable mention goes out to the entire team for their outstanding play and contributions.  This win was most certainly a team effort and could not have been won without the many key hits and spectacular defensive plays that made this a triumphant weekend.
Next Stop for the Cougars is the State Championship, a prerequisite to the Elite 24.
April 13, 2008
The Cougars went 4-0 to win the 12U USSSA “Heatin’ Up” tournament April 12-13. The highlight was a 6-4 come from behind win over the 12U Bay Area Boys (last season’s 11U Solano Storm squad that went to the Elite 24). John Breidenthal allowed no earned runs in pitching the complete game win.  He was selected the tournament MVP.

March 13,2008

March Madness was a rematch of the USSSA California Fall State Championship, California’s top two 11U teams, winners of all three west coast Super NITs, and ranked #3 and #4 by Travel Ball Select — faced off in the final of the 12U USSSA March Madness Tournament.TABU took a 1-0 lead in the third on a two out triple and a daring steal of home.
The Cougars scratched back with two runs in the fourth and one in the 5th to take a two-run lead to the sixth inning.  TABU, down to their last out and trailing the Cougars 3-1, rallied to score 3 in the top of the sixth forcing the game to the home half of the 6th. The Cougars loaded the bases with no out – on a swinging bunt, a line drive single and an intentional walk.  But after an out at the plate and a strikeout, the Cougars were down to their last out.
Then, on the next pitch, tournament MVP DB Vidal launched a line drive to right centerfield.  TABU’s centerfielder made a diving attempt but the ball glanced off the tip of his glove, two runs scoring, to give the Cougars a dramatic 5-4 win.Both games played between the two teams in the 2008 season have ended in bottom of the 6th inning with come-from-behind victories by the Lamorinda Cougars.

For the 2008 season the Cougars are now 28-1 against 11U competition and 20-8 playing up against 12U teams.  The Cougars are winners of eight tournaments including three 12U events, one Super NIT and the Las Vegas Desert Classic.  Following the victory this weekend, USSSA elevated the Cougars to 12U Major.


 Travel Ball Selects 11U Featured Team

11U Lamorinda Cougars (CA)The 11U Lamorinda Cougars managed by Rick Rider and coach Guy Tucker, have added more talent to their roster since Cooperstown and have been turning some heads nationally. At Cooperstown Dreams Park this summer the Cougars finished in the Elite 8, losing to the highly talented  East Cobb Astros 2-0 in the quarter finals . The loss to the Astros came after a draining 9 inning win against the Arizona Desert Blaze 4 -3 .Since Cooperstown the Cougars have won eight tournament championships while going 26-1 versus 11U teams and 11-6 versus 12U teams. The Cougars are currently tops in the West and second in the nation in both USSSA Power Ranking and Points.  Along the way, the Cougars have had two outstanding contests against the always strong and talented San Diego Stars teams a 4 – 3 victory to claim the Thanksgiving Super NIT, and a 3-2 extra inning victory in the semifinals of the 17th annual LVBA Desert Fall Classic.

At the USSSA Fall State Championship the Cougars beat TABU 3 – 2 to claim the title (TABU – winners of the MLK Super NIT and the 2007 10U Runner Ups at Cooperstown Dreams Park known as T.S.B.) The Cougars have also played up this fall and won two 12U USSSA events.

The Cougars will resume play in February and are looking forward to competing in the Battle in the South in Tennessee and the USSSA Elite 24 World Series in Orlando in 2008 . Watch Out for the very talented Lamorinda Cougars team when they travel to the East to do battle against more of the nations top teams.

November, 24, 2007
COUGARS CONQUER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – ORLANDO BOUND
The 11-year-old Lamorinda Cougars feasted on some Southern California competition over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. By winning the USSSA Thanksgiving Super NIT in Chino Hills, the Cougars not only captured the season’s most prestigious tournament, they also earned a berth to the Elite World Series in Orlando, Florida.
            In the championship game of the Super NIT, the Cougars defeated the San Diego Stars 4-3 behind a strong starting pitching performance by Daniel Slominski. Slominski pitched four innings, allowing one run and striking out three, for the win. Matthew Bicker earned the save by pitching the final two innings, shutting down a late Stars rally in the bottom of the 6th inning. With two outs and the tying run at second base, a hard grounder was smashed to the left side. However, third baseman Mitchell Tom made a diving stop and then hopped up to throw the runner out at first base by half a step as the Cougars erupted in jubilation on the field.
            The Cougars got off to a quick start in the championship game. In the first inning, Bicker doubled, was advanced to third on a grounder by Joe DeMers, and then scored on a passed ball. The Cougars added two more runs in the third inning as DeMers’ triple knocked in Tom and then a grounder by Slominski scored DeMers. Then, with two outs in the fourth inning, Walter Tucker singled, stole second, and scored on DB Vidal’s single for what would prove to be the winning run.
            Tom’s defensive heroics were not reserved for the championship game. Earlier in the quarterfinal match against the top seeded Temecula Tides, Tom was responsible for bringing an extra-inning game to an end. Down by two runs with one out and a runner on third, the Tides put on a squeeze play. Tom, who was catching, caught the bunt attempt before it hit the ground and fired the ball to third to get the charging runner out for a double play that preserved the 9-7 victory. DeMers pitched six strong innings for the win, allowing only three earned runs and striking out five Tides batters. Bicker pitched the scoreless seventh for the save.
            The Cougars had trailed the Tides for most of the game, but rallied in the fifth in dramatic fashion to take to the lead. Singles by Tucker and Vidal and then an intentional walk to DeMers set the stage for Matthew Tarantino. Tarantino, the Cougar’s regular starting shortstop and sparkplug for the team, had been slowed throughout the tournament by a pulled hamstring. However, in a scene reminiscent of Kirk Gibson in Dodger Stadium, Tarantino limped to the plate and blasted a shot over the center fielder to clear the bases. Jake Rider added a crucial two-out RBI single in the sixth inning to score Slominski who had reached by a walk and then had stolen second.
            The win against the Tide advanced the Cougars to the semifinals where they were able to avenge their only pool-play loss by beating the San Gabriel Valley Cobras, 8-5. The cougars got off to an early 8-0 lead behind the starting pitching of Remy Fujioka who pitched four strong innings for the win. After the Cobras rallied to close the deficit, Slominski came in and struck out four out of the six batters he faced to earn the save. Offensively, DeMers powered the Cougars going 3-3 with a triple and a double.
            In the pool-play round, the Cougars went 1-1-1, defeating the eventual semi-finalist North County Longhorns 14-6 and tying the defending champion South Gate Democrats 3-3, in addition to losing to the Cobras 12-5. Against the Longhorns, the Cougars trailed 6-5 before exploding for nine runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by RBI hits by Rider, Conner McNally, and catcher Eric Benedetti. The Cougars also trailed the Democrats 3-2 going into the last inning before Bicker tripled to lead off the inning and then scored on Tarantino’s grounder to tie the game. Drew Downing, who allowed no earned runs during the entire tournament, came on to pitch the bottom of the sixth and shut out the Democrats’ powerful hitters. Downing struck out the last batter to strand the Democrat’s possible winning run at third base. Without that tie, the Cougars would not have advanced to the playoff round.
            The Cougars, who won the Northern California Fall Championship in October, currently hold title to the most important Fall tournaments in both Northern and Southern California. The Cougars will now begin preparations for a trip to the Elite World Series in Orlando in July where the best 24 teams in the country will assemble for a week-long tournament to decide travel baseball’s national champion.

October 28, 2007
The Lamorinda Cougars 11U won the prestigious 17th Annual Desert Fall Classis, hosted in Las Vegas October 25th through the 28th.   The annual event draws the top club baseball teams throughout the western United States and Canada.  The team went 4-0 in pool play, and then ran the distance right to the championship game and ultimately wining the tournament.  The Cougars are part of the elite Lamorinda Baseball Club organization.

October 2007
Cougars win USSSA Fall State Championship in a fashionable win against TABU