The Reds outlasted the Vikings, 10-8, to win the Virgin Islands Little League Baseball 18 and under Thanksgiving Day Tournament at the DC Canegata Ballpark on Saturday.
The tournament saw the Reds jump out to an 8-3 lead, and then withstand a late charge from the Vikings to preserve the victory.
The three-team tourney saw each team ending up with a 1-1 record after the first round, which required the implementation of the tournament’s tie break procedure: defense would be rewarded, and in the case of a tie the teams that gave up the least amount of runs would advance.
The third team in the tournament, the Diamonds, allowed 19 runs, the Vikings 10, and the Reds 9, putting the Vikings and Reds in the championship game.
After some shaky defense in the early going, the Reds were able to jump out to an 8-3 lead, and looked set to blow away the Vikings. However the never-say-die Vikings rallied to tie the game at 8, and with the momentum on their side, appeared ready to seize control of the game.
Reds manager, Eugene "G-Nix" Thomas, went to his bull pen for the hard throwing Diondre Simmonds to try and stop the bleeding. Simmonds, starting shortstop and one of the younger players in the tourney, took over on the mound and prevented any further damage.
The Reds followed Simmonds pitching with star catcher, and their most dangerous hitter, Lakish Plante, who stepped to the plate with bases loaded at the bottom of the 6th inning.
Plante, who had just missed hitting a home run in his previous at bat, delivered a two-run single to left-center giving his team what turned out to be an insurmountable 10-8 lead.
The Vikings came to bat in the top of the seventh needing to answer in a big way for their championship hopes to continue. Simmonds rose to the occasion on the mound, and with the help of an outstanding defensive play by third baseman Vance Carter, was able to pitch the Reds to the championship.
The Reds, easily the youngest team in the tournament, played strong defense throughout and avoided errors that ultimately were the undoing of the other teams. The Vikings committed ten errors in the championship game, compared to only four by the Reds.
Individual awards went to Lionel Danielson of the Diamonds, who was the tourney’s MVP. Cal White of the Vikings received the top hitter award, and Jamoy Williams, was presented with the Theovald “Rockdrill” McIntosh Award.
The McIntosh Award goes to the tournament’s best pitcher. Williams pitched a no-hitter for the Vikings against the Reds in an earlier game striking out 13 batters and allowing just 1 walk.