The Murfreesboro Elite 9U travel baseball team has joined elite company as one of the best in the state in their age division.
Murfreesboro Elite players celebrate June 23, 2012, after winning a baseball game at Barfield Crescent Park in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted)
This weekend was no different as they continued final preparations for the upcoming BPA World Series by competing in the state tournament this weekend at Barfield Crescent Park.
“We play like champions, we win like champions, and when we lose, we lose like champions,” Elite head coach Matt Toone said Saturday after the Elite won back-to-back games during pool play.
So far this season, the Elite have played in seven tournaments, finishing with four championships. They were hoping for one more title before the team heads to Chattanooga in two weeks to defend their BPA World Series championship from last year.
Each team qualified for the division tournament by playing three games in its pool Friday and Saturday, with the Elite being placed in the 9U-Sliver age division.
Their first game opened up with a 12-4 win over the Mad Mudcats.
The following day, the winning continued.
The first game was played bright and early Saturday morning against the Lincoln Warriors. The game was tied at 7 heading into the final inning.
Toone said his team lacks size but is built on speed, which they used to their advantage to pull out the 8-7 win.
Alex Garrett got the inning started with a base hit. His speed was then put to use. He stole second and third, and when the Warriors catcher allowed a pass ball, Garrett sped home for the winning run and moved the Elite to 2-0 on the weekend.
“We try to get our runners in scoring position,” Toone said. “I knew once we got one kid on base, we would win the game.”
The Elite did not have much time to celebrate, because they had to get ready for another game against the Fayetteville Extreme a few minutes later. The result in the second game was the same, but the process was different.
The Elite got a balanced attack and defeated the Xtreme 14-4.
Starters Jack Nedrow and Caleb Brown led the Elite pitching staff and Harrison Toone came in relief to finish off the two victories.
Everybody said they were happy with the team’s performance, including the Elite’s kid general manager Whitman Czajkowski, who was speechless when asked about the team’s weekend sweep.
The tournament portion of the event was Sunday, and the Elite earned the No. 1 seed in the 9U Sliver Major Tournament.
Toone liked his team’s chances heading into Sunday’s action. He said his team has gone 10-for-14 in games played on Sunday this season.
“We seem to come together at these tournaments,” he said. “We peak at the right time.”
On Sunday, the 365 Baseball produced an upset against the Elite, finishing with an 8-5 victory during the state tournament. However, the Elite coaching staff said players are already preparing to come back from the loss for the upcoming games in a few weeks.
About 90 percent of the players who won the BPA World Series last season is back and will be looking to repeat as champions in a couple of weeks.
“Our kids are excited to be going, no matter what,” Toone said, “and we are ready to go.”