SAN MARCOS — Parent and team photographer Jack Kratochvil watched as his son Josh and 10 other teammates pummeled their way through the Rawlings International Salute to Baseball Festival and Tournament, winning the championship.
The TaterGrip 11U San Marcos Youth Baseball Travel League club traveled to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., where the tournament was held July 2 through July 9.
It was a big thrill for the families to travel to Florida, some of whom had never been there before, said Coach Craig Pollard.
“All the parents were very involved and everyone had a responsibility within the team to do this, that and the other and so it was well-balanced amongst the parents as far as participating and helping out,” Kratochvil said.
“We’d played about 35 games coming into this tournament and probably our biggest strength, by far, was our defense, and our weakness was probably hitting as a team,” Pollard said. The team’s offense hit their peak at just the right time, he said, with the team hitting over .400 for the tournament.
“Rawlings and ESPN put on a phenomenal tournament,” Pollard added. “We played seven games and the team went 7 and 0.”
For the kids, the trip across the country was long, having to stop in Houston before getting into Orlando after midnight, said Josh Kratochvil, third baseman and pitcher. Josh said he was excited about the tournament, but that he was a little nervous about playing the international teams.
The TaterGrip team faced international and national competition over the seven-day tournament, playing teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, including U.S. teams from Michigan, Texas and Louisiana.
“Our little boys from San Marcos dominated the tournament…and got the big trophy at the end of the day,” Pollard said.
The team’s dominating performance was highlighted by pitcher Trevor Davis’ perfect game against Michigan and catcher Jordan Katnik’s offensive explosion, hitting three homeruns during the tournament, including the game-winning homerun against Venezuela, which the team won 6-5.
Pollard, whose son Jared plays for the team, also sponsored the kids after launching a new baseball grip product called TaterGrip.
The team expects to play in one final tournament before the season ends in August.
For more information about San Marcos Youth Baseball and tryout information, visit sanmarcosyouthbaseball.com.