The 15 and under Thomaston Warriors Baseball Club completed their fifth year together this past week with a strong third place showing at the 2012 Grand Slam World Series in Panama City Beach, FL. Last year, the Warriors finished fourth in this tournament at 14 and under. The Warriors have been together representing Thomaston for the past five years and have played in close to 200 games over that time period in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.
The tournament started with the Warriors playing the Bluegrass Buzz out of Florence, KY. The Buzz play in the Southern Ohio Elite programs that covers Ohio and Kentucky. The Warriors got a jump on the Buzz early and led 4-1 after four innings. Keon Thompson singled with two outs in the top of the first, and Chris Duncan followed with a two run Home run to give the Warriors an early 2-0 lead. Joseph Carney kept the Buzz in check and only allowed three hits and one run over four innings. Going into the bottom of the seventh, the Warriors had an 8-2 lead thanks to hits by Ben Spillers, Matt Millen and Logan Fowler. Things looked good for the Warriors, however five walks and a couple of big hits kept the Buzz in the game. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Buzz won the game on a walk off double leaving the Warriors with a very disappointing game one loss. The Warriors would then lose to the Southern Crush from Dothan, AL 14-0 to complete the first day of play, and leave the Warriors with a very disappointing seventh seed going into the bracket portion of the tournament.
On Thursday, the Warriors were matched up against the #2 seed Cincinnati Patriots from Ohio. The Warriors had their work cut for them, as this was a very strong team. Kyle Kelly led off the top of the first with a base hit and later scored on a double by Keon Thompson. Kelly and Andrew Timmins each scored two runs in this game. Behind strong pitching by Joseph Carney, the Warriors held off the Patriots for the 6-2 win to advance in the winners bracket. Game two of the day put the Warriors in a rematch with the Bluegrass Buzz. In what was a nice bit of revenge, the Warriors were able to hold off the Buzz, 7-2. Bennett Pardue had two hits for the Warriors, and Elijah Hill pitched a complete game to shut down the Buzz. This win gave the Warriors a shot at the Southern Crush from Dothan.
The game against the Crush started out with the Warriors giving up a 3-run double in the top of the first to go down 3-0. Keon Thompson made a diving attempt at the ball but came up a little short. That would prove to be the difference in the game, and the Crush would send the Warriors to the losers bracket with a 6-2 win. Outside of the first inning, Levi Long settled in and pitched a great game keeping the bats of the Crush in check. He only gave up 1 earned run the rest of the way. This was a great effort against a showcase team that is comprised of all Division I prospects. The Warriors would then fall to the losers bracket with a match against the 2011 champion Chain Baseball from Columbus, GA.
In the last game of the tournament for the Warriors, the Chain got off to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning with four straight hits including a two-run home run. Joseph Carney then settled down and kept the Chain bats in check. The Warriors left the bases loaded in both the first and second innings. This proved to be harmful, and the Warriors went on to lose, 6-0. On a bright note, Brandon Blount, who suffered a knee injury in an earlier tournament, was able to play and contribute to the Warriors with a couple of hits. With the loss, the Warriors were eliminated from the tournament, but with a third place finish. After a disappointing start to the tournament with two losses, the Warriors played very good baseball for the remainder of the tournament.
The 2012 Warriors are as follows: Ben Spillers, Matt Millen, Andrew Timmins, Levi Long, Elijah Hill, Bennett Pardue, Chris Duncan, Brandon Blount, Joseph Carney, Kyle Kelly, Keon Thompson and Logan Fowler. Coach Derek Pardue, Coach John Duncan and Coach David Millen.
The Warriors would like to thank the following supporters: Game Castle, Northside Superette, Northside Drugs, Pediatric Associates, First Franklin Financial, Big Chic Uptown, Envy Hair Studio, Thomaston Prescription Shop, Colony Bank, West Central GA Bank, Kay Robinson State Farm, Thomaston Hospice, Thomaston Dental, Ken Brown Georgia Farm Bureau, and Flint River Radiology.