By Geoff Smith
The Sierra Valley Storm 12’s incredible run this summer reached its peak last Thursday night in the Bronco World Series Championship game against perennial power Chinese Taipei.
The Storm was a perfect 5-0 going into this game, and after outscoring opponents 64-12 in 5 games, they knew they had the firepower to go hand to hand with the disciplined Taipei squad. The Storm flexed their muscles early in the game with a three-run home run well over the 250-foot fence by Philip Apodaca in the first inning. However, the Chinese Taipei team answered back with three runs in the bottom half of the first.
From that point forward it became a pitchers’ duel; one that the Taipei team would eventually take charge of. The pitching staff from the Taiwan team kept Storm hitters guessing all night long.
“They did an excellent job in keeping the ball down, locating and pitching backwards when they needed to,” said Storm manager Ryan Rodriguez. “That’s a very well coached team over there. You have to give them credit; they out-pitched us tonight.”
The game ended with a score of 11-5 after a three-run home run by Taiwan in the bottom of the sixth inning sealed the championship for the international team.
The Storm received the title of U.S. Champions. On their way to the championship they managed to shatter three long-standing World Series records (total RBIs by a team — 64; individual batting average — Patrick Smith (.875); and individual single hame RBIs — Johnny Welch (9)), and tied another (grand slams — Johnny Welch (1)).
“This by far is the strongest 12-year-old baseball team Northern California has seen in a long while, if ever. They play the game hard and practice even harder. Just wait until these boys get into high school in a couple years,” said Rodriguez.
Overall, the Storm was 17-1 in their all-star run this summer winning 15 of 18 games by the 10-run mercy rule.
The Storm now prepares to represent the PONY Baseball organization as the 2012 U.S. Champions in the National Youth Baseball Championship in Memphis, Tenn. The team will take on the national champs from the top youth baseball organizations: AAU, Super Series, USSA, AABC, Babe Ruth, Dixie, NABF and PONY. The NYBC is the most competitive 12U youth baseball tournament in the country featuring teams from all over the country. It is hosted by Gameday Baseball and the city of Memphis, providing all teams with an all-expenses paid trip giving the players a chance to go head to head with truly the best in the country.
For more information on the NYBC visit mlb.com/youthmajors.