Weston Russel threw a perfect game against the Barnstormer Stix striking out 14 in route to a 8-0 quarter-final win
The Minnesota Blizzard program's youth program (9u-14u) played well this past weekend in Central Iowa Sport's NIT Kick-Off Classic winning two titles at the 12u and 13u age level while taking home two 3rd Place finishes at the 9u and 14u age level. The 12u Black team also won the Consolation Championship in the Des Moines-based tournament.
This is the 15th time since 2007 a Blizzard team has won a championship in the NIT Kick Off Class and the 27th time they have finished in the top 4.
BLIZZARD 12u BLUE (Record 5-0) - CHAMPIONS
The 12u Blue team got off to a fast start in Des Moines, winning their two pool play games 18-2 and 14-3. Weston Russel threw a perfect game in the quarterfinal round, striking out 14 of the 15 batters he faced to help send the team to semi-finals. In the semi-final round the team pounded out 13 hits, led by Dylan McClure's 2-2 effort. That backed up another strong pitching performance from Brayden Olson, who struck out 7 batters over four innings. The championship game vs the Iowa Outlaws was a tense affair, as the teams traded runs throughout the game. A key double play turned by Brayden Olson and Braden Ebeling in the 5th was the turning point. The Blizzard tied the game up in the bottom half of the inning. Willy Coborn came in to throw two shut-out innings to set the stage for the bottom of the 7th. Mark Olberding, who had homered earlier in the game, singled down the left field line to bring home the winning run in a walk-off 6-5 victory.
BLIZZARD 13u BLUE (Record 5-0) - CHAMPIONS
The Blizzard Blue scored a whopping 66 runs in an offensive title. However, the Blizzard Elite 13u team pitched well and needed it as their quarter-final game was won 6-5 behind a Liam Martin complete game against 3Ts Bats. They went on to beat the Minnesota Icemen 17-2 behind Logan Winkleman's stellar pitching performance, who was the offensive star for the 13u Blue team this weekend. The championship game was defined by more offense as the team earned the crown beating the Columbia Warriors 16-6 in a run-shortened game.
BLIZZARD 12u BLACK (Record: 3-1) Consolation Championship
The 12u Black team went 1-1 in Pool Play losing a slug fest 12-6 before putting together a great run in the consolation bracket beating the Grand Slam Warriors 11-0 in the semi-final game before beating the Minnesota Millers 12-6 in the consolation championship.
BLIZZARD 9u (Record: 2-2) 3rd Place
In a program first, the Blizzard took their first 9u team to the NIT Kick-Off Classic to compete and they didn't disappoint. They played with heart and effort on the road to a 3rd Place finish. Their two losses were against the Runner-Up and Champions of the tournament, the Knoxville Panthers and the Iowa Sticks, respectively.
Standout stars were pitchers Peter Adie and Mason Schrieber. William "School of Law" Mitchell, Jr. smacked out 6 hits on the weekend.
BLIZZARD 14u BLUE (Record: 3-1) 3rd Place
The veterans and defending champions, the Blizzard 14u Blue, went 1-1 on Day 1 but squeaked into the Gold Bracket and beat the Blizzard 14u Black (0-3) team 10-7 before losing to the Iowa Sticks Red 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning. The Blizzard Black team hit two home runs in the game by Austin Fox (Prescott, WI) and Danny Peters (Hampton, MN)
The Blizzard 11u Blue (2-1), 11u Black (0-3), 13u Black (1-2) played phenomenal but came up short in the win columns this weekend.
"My team can swing it," 11u Black Coach Peoples said. "We had a great approach at the plate and their effort were there. We are going to get better defensively. The ball didn't bounce our way this weekend, but I'm proud of the boys."
"Our team played very well this weekend," 13u Black Coach Isaiah Lufkin said. "We really had some good pitching performances by (Sam) Sterle and (Jake) Solle. If we get those same type of outings this coming weekend and a few key hits, we are going to be right there in the end."
"We just ran into a buzz saw in play-off game one," 11u Blue Coach Jake Kurth said. "We had the #1 seed coming in but ran into the team that won it (3T's BATS). No excuses. It was a great game and this team that saw a lot of success this fall and winter will take things away from this game that are going to help in our final weekend and into their summer season."
Next up for the Blizzard Spring Program is their final tournament in Rock Isand, IL where there will compete in the Hitmen Classic. Follow us on Twitter at: BlizzardBasebal for daily updates on how everyone is doing.
Blizzard 9u - 3rd Place
Blizzard 12u Black - Consoluation Champions
Barta & Brookins after 9u win
Blizzard 12u Blue - Champions
Blizzard 13u Blue - Champions
Blizzard at US Bank Stadium 2017
Weston Russel has struck out 29 of 31 batters in his last three Blizzard outings