Tag Archives: gametime

Burleson walk-off lifts GameTime to a.m. win

By Chris Yow

Lane Burleson simply saw the pitch, hit the pitch as he hit a 2-run homer to give GameTime Baseball’s 17U team a 6-4 come-from-behind win Thursday morning over Gallatin-based Cross Hit Red. The home run came moments after another timely hit that put his team in a position to win the game.

Trailing 4-2 and down to his last strike, Columbia Central grad Jaden Hamm waited on the curveball and connected, sending the baseball to left field.

“He threw me like seven curve balls in a row, and I was waiting on it. He hung it and I put a bat on it,” Hamm said.

Alec Beaman scored easily from third and Summit’s Alex Runk was trucking it from second base. The throw to the plate was off-base, allowing GameTime to tie the game at four before Burleson walked to the plate. GameTime coach Chris Hamm said there was never any doubt Runk was getting the wave to home.

“I told him, if (Jaden) gets a hit, you’re scoring no matter what,” he said.

The game-winning home run gave GameTime its only lead of the entire contest, as they played from behind the whole game, which began at 9 a.m. at Spring Hill High School. The squad was coming off a 7-3 win the night before in Hendersonville that ended at 10:30 p.m. The field conditions were still soggy and muddy when the game began, and both teams struggled.

“With the way the field was playing, we had to adjust,” Coach Hamm said. “We are fortunate to be fast, and we like to run when we get on the bases, but it definitely slowed us down a step today.”

GameTime was 1-for-11 with RISP before Hammm and Burleson got back-to-back hits to win the game. Timely hits were difficult to come by until the seventh inning.

“I told them to keep confidence and just keep hitting, and something’s going to fall,” Coach Hamm said.

Spring Hill’s Dawson Hargrove started on the mound, and pitched around a couple of jams. In the first inning, he threw 33 pitches, walking three hitters. A pick off at second base gave the hurler some relief after a walk and a single to open the game, but a passed ball allowed a run to score before Hargrove got a strikeout and a pop up to end the inning.

Hargrove chopped a ground ball softly to second base in the third inning, making it a difficult-enough play to score a run, tying the game at 1-1. Cross Hit, however, plated a run in the fourth to regain the lead on an outfield error.

GameTime would tie the game in the fifth when Beamen took third and Noah Berndt took second base on the next pitch. Cross Hit attempted to pick Berndt off at second, allowing Beamen to tie the game.

Gavin Burleson, who came on in relief of Hargrove, gave up a pair of runs in the sixth, giving Cross Hit the 4-2 lead, setting up the heroics of the seventh inning.

Chris Hamm knew his team would fight to the end, and when crunch time came, they delivered.

“These kids never quit,” he said. “That’s what is special about this group, and I am proud of what they continue to accomplish.”

GameTime is participating in the Music City Classic, a 17U tournament featuring teams from across the country. Their next scheduled games are at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 3, at Drake’s Creek Park in Hendersonville and back at Spring Hill High School on Sunday, July 5, at 11:15 a.m.

For GameTime Baseball, wins are a bonus

By Maurice Patton

At its more competitive levels, winning games isn’t the primary objective for summer league baseball.

That’s not to say those teams don’t want to win, but the focus is on preparing players for their next step in competition.

To do both – as the Columbia-based GameTime 17U squad did in its opening two games of this week’s Music City Mania wood-bat tournament in Nashville – is, as coach Justin Foster said, “The best of both worlds.”

Playing Thursday at Goodpasture, GameTime earned a 5-2 victory over the 16U Hit After Hit Outlaws to follow up on Wednesday’s 6-1 win against Knights Platinum at Brentwood Academy.

“For where (assistant coach/general manager Chris) Hamm and I sit, the way we try to run this program, our view on summer is really about player development,” Foster said after Spring Hill rising senior Jackson Marbet struck out six in 3 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the come-from-behind win.

“It’s about helping guys get potentially seen, working on things they need to work on. If we’re developing players and putting them in position to be seen by college coaches – if we win games, we win games. If we don’t, that’s OK.”

For most coaches and players, that’s not an easy approach to embrace.

“Everybody wants to win, but that’s not the ultimate goal,” said Jim McGuire, director of baseball operations for Hit After Hit and longtime Middle Tennessee State coach. “Development is the objective, whether it’s to develop them as the best high school player they can be or develop them for college. You’re just trying to make them the best player they can be. You don’t want to sacrifice the development for winning.”

That often requires a shift in the thought process, particularly when highly successful coaches are involved.

“We’ve got (Pope John Paul II coach) Chris Parker, we’ve got (Summit coach) Chad Kirby and several other high school coaches working with our teams,” McGuire said. “The mindset has to change somewhat. They lay out their plan for the week and you try to stick to the plan as much as you can, which is to get guys the right amount of pitches, the right amount of innings, the right amount of at-bats to continue to go. You can’t just let them sit over there and get stale to try to win a ballgame.

“It’s a slippery slope and a fine line because you are trying to definitely win, but when you’ve got the mindset of a competitor that they have, you’ve got to kind of change what you do.”

While that emphasis on winning and losing may be a bit different, it’s still baseball.

“High school is a little more intense; the atmosphere’s a lot different,” said Marbet, an MTSU commit. “But we still compete pretty good. We still intensify the game pretty well, we still want to win.

“I feel like for summer ball, it’s (more) about reps. School ball is more about wins and losses, but I think in summer ball you come out and try to get better, improve your game all around. I’m a two-way guy, so I try to come out and get better pitching and hitting. The summer’s here to get better and try to get ready for the next year of school ball.”

Foster, an assistant at Spring Hill, thinks his team typically handles the transition well.

“We’re blessed to have a lot of very talented guys, very ‘baseball-smart’ guys,” he said. “Really at this point, the coaching mindset is making them think through the game, giving them a small key here and there, maybe reset during an at-bat.

“It’s really talking more on the mental side of things – what just happened, what could have happened – being sure they’re still developing mentally as well.”

Following a Friday morning matchup at Hendersonville’s Drakes Creek Park, GameTime continues in Music City Mania with a 9:30 a.m. contest Saturday at Brentwood Academy. Play will conclude Sunday, with matchups and times to be determined by pool play results.

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by e-mail at mopattonsports@gmail.com or on Twitter at @mopatton_sports.

GameTime baseball earns win to open Music City Mania

By Chris Yow

Jaden Hamm was nearly untouchable for the better part of five innings, and with the help of timely hits and good bounces, Columbia-based GameTime Baseball’s 17U travel team earned a 6-1 win over Knights Platinum on Wednesday at Brentwood Academy

Hamm pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out 10 Knights hitters.

In the top of the fifth, the Knights were able to load the bases with a pair of singles and a walk, but the GameTime coaching staff held their confidence in the 2020 Columbia Central graduate and Middle Tennessee State signee.

“Ever since we were told we couldn’t play and he was going to miss his senior year, he’s continued to work,” Gametime assistant coach Chris Hamm said. “He hasn’t stopped working to improve, and we have all the confidence in him to settle down and continue throwing strikes.”

Jaden Hamm struck out the next two Knights hitters to end the threat and escape the jam.

Going into that fifth inning, GameTime held a comfortable lead, due in part to a perfectly placed push bunt from Hamm in the fourth.

With Spring Hill rising senior Jackson Marbet on third and Noah Berndt on first base, Hamm pushed a bunt just past the pitcher’s mound to score Marbet and get Berndt to third. Dawson Hargrove singled to score Berndt to give GameTime a 5-1 lead.

Hargrove finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, but the Hamm bunt was the catalyst for the big inning.

“Jaden is a really good push bunter, and it’s kind of a joke on the team that if he gets a chance, he’s going to do it,” Coach Hamm said. “It put a smile on everybody’s face in the dugout.”

GameTime took control of the game early in the second inning when Marbet doubled and scored a run on a Hargrove single. Gavin Burleson and Brantley Whitwell each tallied RBI singles in the inning as well.

Having a chance to get on the against teams of this caliber is important for his players. Four members of the team have either signed or committed to NCAA Division I schools, and Chris Hamm said he believes everyone on the team can play at the next level. Taking nearly 18 months off from competition wasn’t an option.

“These kids are very competitive, but they’re also hard-working kids,” he said. “For them to have to sit for that long without playing in a game against live pitching would have hurt them and their game. We are excited to be out here, and to have the opportunity to play the game.”

The Music City Mania tournament is a wood-bat tournament for teams local to the Nashville area. Music City Baseball hosts a nationally-recognized tournament for 17U teams the first week of July. GameTime is also scheduled to play in that tournament, as well as the PBR National Championship tournament in July.

GameTime is scheduled to play at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Goodpasture and 9:30 a.m. Friday at Hendersonville’s Drakes Creek Park before returning to Brentwood Academy for a 9:30 a.m. contest Saturday. Play will conclude Sunday, with matchups and times to be determined by pool play results.

Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at sports@sm-tnsports.com or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.