Bound for Orlando
By winning a Super NIT qualifying tournament in February, the Hard 90 Hustle 9-and-under baseball team has earned a berth in the USSSA Elite 9U World Series to be held in Orlando Aug. 3-10.
Hard 90 owner Rick Sundberg put the team together last May and since then the Hustle has had great success, posting a 41-16 record and six tournament championships and five second-place finishes in 16 appearances.
“This team is pretty special,” Manager John Alkire said. “We’ve had a pretty good year and it’s not like we’re practicing three days a week. We have one workout a week on Sundays. What’s most amazing is that these 8- and 9-year-old kids are doing some advanced things at their young age and they’re executing them during a game.”
The Hustle won five of the six games played in the tournament. In the final day of the tournament, the Hustle swept the competition, outscoring their three opponents, 38-13.
The strength of the team is their ability to hit the ball, according to Alkire. In the six tournament games, the Hustle had 62 hits, including three home runs.
Roanin Krieger earned Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament. Krieger hit two home runs against Nor Cal Valley and played outstanding baseball behind home plate.
Johnny Alkire and Jacob Peterson earned all-tournament awards. Alkire had 11 hits in 19 at bats with his first home run and seven RBIs. Peterson pitched well in relief and also went 6-for-8 with five RBIs in the team’s final three games.
Leadoff hitter Connor Bizjack went 8-for-14 and reached base 15 times in 22 at bats. Brent Jones pitched five strong innings in the team’s win over 15th-ranked East Bay Outlaws. Trevor Linford also threw four innings of the championship game and earned the win.
“They deserve it,” Sundberg said of the Hustle’s tournament win. “They’ve worked very hard the past few months. They played well enough to earn this opportunity.”
Members of the Hustle from Folsom include Conner Bizjack, Johnny Alkire, Braden Kosciuk, Tyson Dewall, Matthew Sliger and Jackson Inclan.
El Dorado Hills’ residents include Landon Weiss, Brent Jones and Andrew Uharriet. Rounding out the roster are Jacob Peterson from Pioneer, Roanin Krieger from Placerville and Trevor Linford from Elk Grove.
The Hard 90 Baseball Academy was established in 2005 and has been located at 1235 Glenhaven Court, in El Dorado Hills for the last four years. The Hard 90 clubhouse is 10,000 square feet and serves hundreds of baseball players from El Dorado Hills, Folsom and beyond including players living as far away as Sonora, Yuba City and Vacaville. Hard 90 has 12 tournament teams from 9-and-under to 18-and-under. Hard 90 also runs baseball camps and clinics and offers individual lessons and year-round workouts.