An all-star team from the Douglas County Amateur Baseball Assn. 10-U league had a successful run in the National Baseball Congress Hap Dumont state tournament held July 9 though July 12 at the Hillsboro Sports Complex.
The team, which took the name Lawrence Hawks for postseason play, placed second in the tournament, going 4-2 and coming very close to winning the event.
"It was just a well-played tournament by the kids," Hawks coach Jim Taylor said.
When an all-star team plays in tournaments, it can be difficult to predict how they'll perform.
Even a team with top-notch players may take a while to come together as a team, time they don't have when they play only one or two tournaments.
Before the trip to Hillsboro, the Hawks had only practiced together about six times.
"It was our first real chance to play together," Taylor said. "We weren't really sure what to expect from this team."
The Hawks' first game in the tournament came against the Wolverines. Dane McCullough and Austin Abbott scored two runs each for the Hawks, and they beat the Wolverines, 8-5.
In their next matchup against the Bombers, the Hawks put together a seven-run fifth inning to erase a 9-6 deficit and went on to win the game, 13-9.
Miles Stevens hit a triple and scored a run for the Hawks in the decisive inning.
The Hawks then beat the Astros, 9-7, jumping out to a 7-1 lead after two innings. Chris Heller, Tye Hughes, Sam Hearnen and Joey Bateman all had hits as part of a five-run second inning rally.
The Hawks continued their strong performance the next day, defeating the Royals, 12-8, to remain undefeated in the tournament and advance to the finals against the Pittsburg Nationals.
Because the Hawks were in the winners' bracket of the tournament, they had to lose twice to be eliminated, while if Pittsburg lost just one game, the Hawks would be the champions.
Pittsburg easily won the first game, beating the Hawks 11-1, and forcing a winner-take-all second game.
Pittsburg didn't let up in the second contest, beating the Hawks, 17-6, for the tournament title.
"It didn't matter who we threw out there, they were just hitting the ball extremely well," Taylor said.
Despite the letdown of the finals, it was a strong showing for the team from Lawrence.
Pitching was key to the Hawks' performance. Almost everyone on the team had pitched for their league team at some point in the season, according to Taylor.
Dane McCullough had two wins and two saves in the tournament, and Joey Bateman had two saves.
Taylor also attributed the team's success to his players' ability to put the needs of the team before their own desire to play every inning.
"It's tough for me to make decisions sometimes because they're all used to playing a lot for their respective teams," Taylor said. "But they were all really good about cheering on their teammates when they were sitting out."
The Hawks hoped to continue their success in the Hap Dumont 10-U World Series held in Pratt last weekend. Results were unavailable at press time.