By DAVID GRAVELY
SWT Sports Editor
Yet another team with Pulaski County athletes has made their mark in a major tournament, as the NRV Tigers took first place in the Nations Baseball East Coast World Series tournament this past week in Rocky Mount, NC.
The team was created in September 2012, and is made up of players from Pulaski, Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Riner, Tazewell, and Princeton. Finishing their first season with an impressive 33-13 record, the young squad won three first place and two second place finishes while competing in USSSA and Nations Baseball torments. Even more impressive is the fact that the team started the year competing in the 13 and under age division, and the entire squad will move up together to compete in the 14 and under division in August.
The Nations Baseball East Coast World Series was held July 19-21. The Tigers started the tournament against a team from the Virginia Beach area known as Breakers Red. The team was led in hitting by Jordan Lytton with 2 RBI’s, Camden Underwood went 2-3 with two RBI’s, and Landon Lawson who finished off the 10 run rule in the fourth inning with a double that scored two and finished his day 2-3 with three RBI’s. Pitching for the Tigers, Austin Parker and Jacob Rose combined to give up just two hits and one earned run. The final score saw the NRV Tigers win, 12-1.
The next game found the Tigers facing off with the Apex Avengers from Apex, NC. The game was a tight one entering the fourth inning, with the score tied 2-2. The Tigers rallied for seven runs, but the Avengers answered with four runs of their own. William Stout came in pitching to shut down the Avengers, allowing just one unearned run the next three innings to give the Tigers a 9-7 win . The Tigers were led in hitting by Jordan Lytton, who went 2-3 with a double, Ethan Webb who went 1-2 with 2 RBI’s, and Austin Parker who ended the game 2-3 with a double.
Those two wins helped the team avoid playing extra games and put them on the road for the semifinals. There, they played the North Wake Outlaws from Raleigh, NC. The Outlaws recently finished runner up in the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, a huge travel tournament here on the east coast. The Tigers got one run in the first and one in the second to take a 2-0 lead into the fourth where the outlaws scored 2 unearned to tie the game. The Tigers then scored one in fifth and took control in the sixth with a four run effort. The pitching combo of Trent Pennington and Jacob Rose combined to strike out 12 and allow only one hit in the game. Camden Underwood went 2-3 with 2 RBI’s, Jacob Rose went 2-3, and Jordan Lytton had 2 RBI’s and a double.
The title game found the Tigers facing off with the NWO Raptors from Rossford,OH. This team was 33-8 on the year, and were just coming off of a second place finish in the Great Lakes World Series. The Raptors had only allowed four runs entering our tournament and were ranked 3rd in Nations Baseball in points earned for the year.
The game started with the Raptors scoring on a wild pitch, but the Tigers answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning! one in the third, and one in the fifth while shutting the Raptors down at the plate. William Stout pitched a complete game, allowing only one run and three hits, striking out nine. Jordan Lytton was 3-3 with just a home run shy of the cycle and scored 3 runs. Austin Parker went 2-3 with an RBI, Sid Willis was 1-2 with two RBI’s.
For the tournament Lytton was 8-12 with 5 RBI’s and 9 runs. Underwood was 6-12 with 6 RBI’s, and Austin Parker was 7-12 with 4 RBI’s.
“This was a team in our first year that played like a true team and every kid contributed to each and every game one way or another,” said Coach Todd Davis. ”Out of 13 kids, 11 saw the mound this year. It’s hard to find a team where 11 kids can pitch. The future is bright for the team and we look forward to raising the bar starting in August. Thanks to all the support of our parents and sponsors. Special thanks need to go out to Cornelia Underwood, without who our team wouldn’t look good as a team with the great uniforms we wear. It was just a great experience for everyone.”