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Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 5:33 AM

Ducks 6U back to back regional champions

Ducks 6U back to back regional champions

After inning regionals, the Taylor Ducks 6U team is headed back to the world series.

With only two returners from last year’s team, they had a new core that worked to get them back to big game.

“These kids exhibited great teamwork and sportsmanship on the field, showcasing their passion and determination,” said Coach Colby Hilton.

To reach the world series, the team had to go through the Directors Tournament in Austin, where they placed third behind Hays and Hutto. The Ducks then headed to the Sectionals Tournament in Hays, and again placed third behind Hays and Hutto. The top four teams advanced to regional to battle for a spot in the Pony World Series.

The Ducks had an opportunity to go on a “revenge tour” to earn a spot in world series. Taylor faced Hutto in the first round of regionals, winning 20-15 before facing Hays in the next round.

“The kids were hungry for a first place finish,” said Jake Ness. “They began turning practice up a bit to accomplish the goal of getting first place in this tournament.”

Taylor defeated Hays 24-18, but would face them again in the championship of the double elimination tournament.

Hays opened the scoring five runs in the top of the first thanks to four singles. The Ducks tied the game in the bottom courtesy of a triple by Brooks Hilton, an inside the park home run by Anthony Pierce, an inside the park home run by Kaleb Knapek and singles by Cameron Ness and Jayleen Gonzales.

Hays pushed the lead to 10-5 in the second inning on five runs, including an in the park home run.

The Ducks rallied behind a triple by Tristian Hancock. Weston Massey and Hilton followed with singles, and Knapek rounded out the inning with a triple of his own to knot the game at 10.

Five third inning runs gave Hays a 15-1 lead, but the Ducks would not go away. Taylor scored five runs on eight hits by Hilton, Gonzales, Hancock, Jaxon Herring, Jackson Williams and Henry Rieger.

The game continued back and forth until the final inning where Taylor had to fight from behind to gain control.

The Ducks were down 24-20 coming into their final chance on offense.

Kaison Millican hit a bomb that was caught by the Hays shortstop.

Rieger triples on the ground ball to short stop. The next play Hilton singles on a ground ball to bring Rieger home.

With the score at 24-21, Pierce hit a single on a ground ball, which resulted in Hilton being thrown out at second base. A home run by Knapek kept Taylor close. Herring hit a single to get on base.

With two outs, and the season on the line, Cameron Ness steps to the plate and hits a home run to secure the Pony Regional Championship and a spot in the world series.

The Ducks had 35 hits, including multiple homeruns.

“The resilience and determination displayed by these young players is truly inspiring. They never gave up and fought until the very end,” said Coach Alyx Martinez.

The team will compete in the Shetland/Pinto World Series July 17-20 in Louisiana.


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