With one game left in their season and for some the last baseball game they'll play before moving up to the high school ranks, the 13 to 14-year-old Craig Dodgers knew what they needed to do throw strikes and play defense.
The 12-1 Dodgers did just that as they defeated the Hayden Wildcats 11-2 in the tournament championship game for the Craig Little League 13-14 division.
"This was by far our best defensive game of the season," coach George Wilson said. "Our pitchers had good control and the guys behind them had solid gloves."
Kyle Wilson started on the mound for the Dodgers and went the tournament limit of four innings, giving up no hits and no runs. Wilson was given five runs of support from his teammates and that was all he needed.
"The game went better than planned," Wilson said. "All the games leading up to this weren't that serious, but it was nice to play an actual baseball game."
Reid Hanneman came in to relieve Wilson and pitched a strong three innings. The two runs he gave up in the fifth inning to make the game 5-2 were quickly forgotten when the Dodgers scored six in the bottom of the sixth.
"Everyone either scored or had an RBI," coach Kurt Sorensen said. "The whole team was together tonight."
The Dodgers' (Kyle Wilson, Hanneman, Jared Lowther, Kyle Sorensen, Kyle Kopsa, Andrew Magas, Bryan Rhodes, Joe Muldoon, Korey Kostur and Brett Lindgren) will to play quality baseball was evident in more than just hits and pitches. In a league where some of the teams wore jeans and windbreaker pants with their uniforms, the Dodgers looked like a team and played like one.
"This was the best team I've coached," George Wilson said.
George Wilson and Sorensen said they had been coaching many of the same kids for seven years and as most of them will be playing ball in high school next year, this may be their last summer in the dugouts.
"We brought these kids up and taught them how to play ball," Sorensen said.
"There has been the ups and downs that come with teams, but it has been a pleasure," said George Wilson.
They then reminisced about the good and bad times in Triple Crown, the future in high school baseball for their proteges and the possibility of starting a legion team in the summer.
"We would have to have a big group of kids since their simmers become more involved in high school," Sorensen said. "But I think we could do it."