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Madeline Hodek | The Republic The Columbus Blazers prepare to compete in the around the horn event Wednesday during USSSA World Series opening ceremonies at Lincoln Park. The team placed first in its division.
The Columbus Blazers 13-and-under squad begins every baseball practice by throwing the ball around the horn.
In that regard, it only makes sense that the Blazers would perform well in a skills competition tailored to that specific art.
Wednesday night, the Blazers were in their element in the around-the-horn contest as part of the opening-night festivities in the USSSA World Series at Lincoln Park. They threw the ball from the pitcher’s mound, then around the bases twice and back to the mound in 14.76 seconds to win the 13U division.
“It felt good because we actually won something,” catcher Tanner McFall said. “We didn’t win any of the other competitions. We felt we had a better chance of winning that than any of the other ones because we practiced it a lot.”
The Blazers finished just out of the top three in the “Blaze the Bases” contest, where four players take turns running the bases. Luke Hostetler tied for fourth in the Home Run Derby after hitting two of 10 pitches over the fence.
But the Blazers were best in the around-the-horn event.
“We knew we were going to win,” said right fielder Jordan McCarty, who took the throw at first the second time around the bases. “We had faith.”
Unlike just about every other team, which used only one player at pitcher, catcher, third, second and first, Blazers coach Mark Foster used all nine of his healthy players. Only first baseman Tanner Hamm, who is recovering from a pulled arm muscle, did not participate.
Hunter Seegers delivered the pitch to McFall behind the plate. McFall threw to Korry Drum at third, who threw to Jonathan Foster at second, who threw to Ty Maxey at first.
Tyler Finke took the throw behind the plate and started the second relay around the bases, throwing to Hostetler at third. Hostetler threw to Nathan VanDeventer at second, who threw to McCarty at first, who threw back to home.
“We practice a form of that as a part of every practice just to loosen up and warm up and throw,” Mark Foster said. “They’ve all worked hard all season. Then can all perform very well, so I wanted them all to get an opportunity to do it.”
“Our teammates worked together, and we got the job done and got our medals,” Nathan VanDeventer said.
The CC Blaze from Mechanicsburg, Ohio, finished second in 15.09 seconds.
“It felt as if it was more of a team event,” Jonathan Foster said. “The home run derby is not such a team event, but we really worked as a team and did well. It felt really good.”
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