Crush goes from last seed to champ
May 04, 2014 | 617 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE Cleveland Crush, a 10-year-old select baseball team, won the USSSA Grab the Ring tournament held in Ooltewah.  Front row, from left, are Harrison Gilliland, Colton Higgins, Haydon Sells, Gavin Burnette  and Trevor Wyllie. In the second row are Emmett Hegland, Eli Sparkman, Kole Green, Hunter Duggins and Taylor Cannon.  Coaches, from left, are Tim Burnette, Brian Sells and Kevin Green. Coach Cameron Alday was not available for the photo.
THE Cleveland Crush, a 10-year-old select baseball team, won the USSSA Grab the Ring tournament held in Ooltewah. Front row, from left, are Harrison Gilliland, Colton Higgins, Haydon Sells, Gavin Burnette and Trevor Wyllie. In the second row are Emmett Hegland, Eli Sparkman, Kole Green, Hunter Duggins and Taylor Cannon. Coaches, from left, are Tim Burnette, Brian Sells and Kevin Green. Coach Cameron Alday was not available for the photo.
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When the Cleveland Crush began the Grab the Ring Tournament in Ooltewah, they were seeded last. That didn’t deter the team of 10-year-olds.

The Crush had entered four baseball tourneys in the area and managed to finish with two first place showings and one runner-up.

However, the Saturday of the Grab the Ring tourney, the Crush were having an off day. They lost both of the pool play games, which resulted in the last place seeding.

Some of the teams played on Saturday were not only strong, but very bad winners. In one game, which the Crush lost 20-9, every time a Crush player struck out the other team played “Another One Bites the Dust.”

On Sunday, the boys were back in the park by 8 a.m. and ready to play in the 9 a.m. game. In order to win the tourney, they had to win four straight games.

The Crush went to work. The first game resulted in a 12-6 victory over the Crusaders.

The second game was a rematch with the Chattanooga Baseball Club, which had beat the Crush 9-6 on Saturday. The Crush turned it around to a 10-7 finish.

The next game was also close, but ended with a Crush win (7-5) over the Diamond Academy Legends Gold.

The Crush was going to play for the championship. The team they faced — Alabama’s Cullman Chaos — was the same one who played the “Bites the Dust” song on Saturday.

A Crush parent noted, “The pitches were thrown with conviction, the gloves were stretched out that extra inch, and everyone could tell how much both teams were focused every time a ball left a hand.”

By the third inning, the Crush was trailing by one in the 3-2 game. They trailed until the bottom of the fifth inning when they tied the score 6-6.

Since Chaos had the “home” team advantage of last bat, the Crush went into its last bat determined to get scores.

With two runners on the bases, a Crush batter hit a high-flying double to within feet of the fence to drive in two runs. The score was now 8-6.

With good defense, the Crush was able to hold their lead against Chaos to win the Grab the Ring tournament.

Team members included Harrison Gilliland, Colton Higgins, Haydon Sells, Gavin Burnette, Trevor Wyllie, Emmett Hegland, Eli Sparkman, Kole Green, Hunter Duggins and Taylor Cannon. Coaches were Tim Burnette, Brian Sells, Kevin Green and Cameron Alday.