‘Bats were hot’: Summit City Spartans 14U claim first Slumpbuster victory

June 21, 2024

When you know, you know.

When Summit City Spartans 14u’s John Blair and assistant coach Evan Shoppell were asked about their team’s offense, they had the same exact response. Darn near verbatim.

“The bats were hot,” Spartans player John Blair said.

“The boys’ bats were hot,” coach Shoppell said.

With an 0-2 record to the Spartans’ name heading into the pool play finale, the squad from Fort Wayne, Indiana, woke up the bats and played solid defense on their way to a 6-3 victory over Midland Springfield (Habel) on Friday afternoon at the La Vista Sports Complex.

“They played really well today,” Shoppell said. “They showed up and have played some tough games thus far. It was really cool to see them win here today."

After Midland took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Spartans took leads of 3-1 in the second and 4-2 in the third. But Midland shortened the lead to 4-3 in the fourth before Blair hit a big two-run double down the first base line in the fifth for the ultimate 6-3 advantage.

“That felt amazing,” Blair admitted. “It felt great to get that insurance for the team. I was just hoping that dude wouldn’t get it.”

“He found a hole and it was good to see,” coach Shoppell said. “He was actually talking about his double celley (celebration) before that hit and I told him that he had to get on first. And he did it and it was cool to watch.”

Ben Hardin collected two hits and an RBI while Ian Shoppell had a two-run single to his name. Connor Diederich also had an RBI. Drew Teixeira tossed 3 1/3 innings of three-hit, three-run ball with four strikeouts. In relief, Jaxon Balf allowed just two hits and no runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.

“I believe we played a great day of baseball,” Bair said. “We played all three phases of the game – pitched, hit and played great defense. And then each inning we just didn’t stop. We kept the pressure going all game.”

Unaffiliated with an organization, the Spartans are a group of players who have played together since they were nine years old. So trips like the Omaha Slumpbuster are not only memorable but essential to their journeys.

“We’re loving it here,” coach Shoppell said. “Most of these boys have been together since they were nine, so they’ve been together for a while; just a bunch of brothers playing some ball.”