The 12U Virginia Venom baseball team accomplished more during their first season than many teams ever will.
The Venom capped off their inaugural season last week with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Forest Flames in the championship game of the Triple Crown Summer Nationals Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The championship came roughly a month after they captured the Triple Crown Virginia State Tournament title.
With the Venom trailing 2-1 in the third inning of last Wednesday’s championship, Luc Lipcius came on to strike out nine consecutive batters which set the table for a gripping last-inning rally.
With the score still 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, after Scott Breeden and Andrew Barrow singled back-to-back to lead off the frame, Andre Lipcius drove in Breeden to tie the game 2-2 before his twin brother Luc drove in Barrow with a base knock for the game-winning run.
L. Lipcius was the hero as he provided the game-winning hit and delivered an flawless pitching performance to earn the win.
But the road to a national championship was nothing short of a group effort.
After dropping their first game of pool play 7-1 on Saturday, the Venom rebounded to take down the Georgia Lightning 11-1. Ridge Motley recorded two hits, and JJ Burns’ three-run homerun in the second helped the Venom to an early 9-1 lead. Garrick Colorado earned the pitching win and Gabe Bono tossed the final inning in relief.
In the final game of pool play on Sunday, Motley and Burns each homered and drove in three runs apiece to help the Venom to a 11-3 win over the Ohio Sharks. Seven different players contributed to the team’s 10 total hits.
The Venom came out with two close victories on Monday.
They beat South Carolina’s Coastal Crush 8-7 behind a two-homerun, four-RBI day at the plate from L. Lipcius. Cameron Mays, Breeden and A. Lipcius combined the pitching duties for the win.
Another collective effort helped them to their second win of the day, 9-7 over the Suwannee Bulldogs of Florida. They scored nine runs on eight hits from seven different players.
Tuesday morning, the Venom cruised to a 12-3 victory over the Forest Flames, who they would eventually meet again in Wednesday’s championship game. Burns hit his third homerun of the tournament and tossed a solid four innings on the hill to earn the win.
In the semifinals later Tuesday afternoon, the Venom escaped with an 11-8 victory over top-ranked Cherokee (Tennessee) who entered the contest undefeated. A homerun by Mays and three RBI’s from Barrow led the way offensively. The Lipcius twins tag-teamed the pitching duties.
After dropping the tournament opener, the Venom rallied to win seven games in a row en route to the club’s first-ever national tournament title.
Head coach Joe Barrow said that the come-from-behind victory in last Wednesday’s championship was a fitting end to his team’s resilient run through the tournament.
“We pulled them together after that first loss [on Saturday] and told them that this loss means nothing,” head coach Joe Barrow said. “This is a never quit team, and with the bats we have we felt like we were never out of it.
“This is a great group of kids, and for them to come together in less than a year’s time and accomplish what they did is truly phenomenal.”