Bruins finish 2nd in USSSA Tournament

Published 6:34 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Bogalusa Bruins 14U all-star team took runner-up on a tiebreaker rule at the United States Specialty Sports Association State Tournament that took place June 11-12 at John Startwell Memorial Park in Livingston Parish.

Rain got in the way throughout the tournament and affected the championship game as well.

Pool play, which is used to determine seeding, took place on June 11. The Bruins lost the first game to the Slidell Storm, 5-4. It began raining about halfway through that game. They were scheduled to play Franklinton next, but it began storming, so the tournament cancelled the rest of pool play.

Bogalusa was seeded fourth or fifth out of five teams.

The Bruins began single-elimination bracket play at 8 a.m. the following day. They got down in their first game to St. Bernard, 8-2.

Bogalusa Bruins coach Brady Mitchell said there were six minutes left on the one hour, 40 minute time limit when they began the final inning. As long as there was time left when the inning began, it had to be completed.

Bogalusa was down 7-2 to St. Bernard going into that final inning, but St. Bernard added another run to make it 8-2.

The Bruins needed a big comeback and they got it.

Hunter Blackwell opened the frame with a single to left. That began a nine-run rally.

With the game tied, 8-8, Jarmaine Alexander stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners and nobody out.

Alexander got hold of a pitch and sent it out to left centerfield for a three-run walkoff homer.

“It couldn’t have happened to a better kid,” Mitchell said. “That kid deserves it. The kids were ecstatic. He’ll remember that for the rest of his life and so will I. It made history. For my first year coaching, I couldn’t be more proud of the kids I’m coaching. It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Later that day, Bogalusa faced Pearl River with the winner heading to the title game. Bogalusa trailed 4-2 halfway through the time limit when nature intervened once again. After the delay, Bogalusa came back with four unanswered runs and took a 6-4 lead.

Chas Smith took the mound and closed out the game with two shutout innings to wrap up the victory.

In the title game against Slidell, the teams played three innings with the contest tied at 1-1.

Mitchell said that as Bogalusa was about to take the field for the bottom of the third inning, lightning struck a tree about 35 yards from their dugout. The rest of the game was cancelled because of the lightning.

Mitchell said that Slidell finished first because they were the higher seed, which is the tiebreaker, but added that the both coaches decided that neither team won or lost, so both felt like they were co-champions.

The team is back in action June 29 in the USSSA 14U World Tournament in Gulfport, Miss.