April 15, 2014

Young Guns Sweep to Beanbag Title

Filed under: General News — gerry @ 4:57 pm

1a2014 beanbag finale 072.JPGThe Young Guns are the 2014 champions of Beanbag Baseball, sweeping The Beanie Boppers in the Gold Medal matchup in the Riverdome of Horseshoe Casino Tuesday during opening ceremonies and health fair for the 22nd NW La. District Senior Olympics. (Click photo to enlarge)

It was stirring. It was dramatic. It was emotional. It was the way the Young Guns won the 2014 Beanbag Baseball title in the Northwest Louisiana District Senior Olympics Tuesday (April 25).

Banished to the comeback bracket by a second-round loss in the double elimination tournament, the Young Guns had to grind their way through  six win-or-go-home contests to qualify for the Gold Medal match and then win twice in a showdown with the Beanie Boppers. Let the record show the team built around a family did just that, topping the seemingly all-powerful Beanie Boppers by 31-25 and then by 28-14 in the match for all the marbles.

The emotion came from the family ties between the Young Guns and the woman who helped them get started. “Five years ago, I came to see my mother (Lessie Copperrider) play Beanbag Baseball in the Olympics with the Silver Sluggers team,” said Margie Bamburg, a key player in Tuesday’s sweep by the Young Guns. “It looked like so much fun. That caused some of us to form our own team,” she said, holding back tears. The Young Guns developed into title contenders over the last few years, but they never could get Lessie to forsake her Silver Sluggers team and join the rest of the family with the Young Guns. “We even offered her money,” one Gunner said in jest.

In February, Lessie Copperider, battling illness,  rallied enough to play in a tournament with her beloved Silver Sluggers.  She died in early March.

Bamburg said that as the Senior Olympics season drew near and her mother’s health faded, she told her she didn’t think she could bring herself to play against her and the Silver Sluggers if the schedule fell that way. “She told me, ‘if you don’t go into the game to win, then you might as well stay home’.”

The ironic thing about Saturday’s victory is that the Silver Sluggers won last year’s Gold Medal by winning twice in the championship matchup—over the Beanie Boppers.

Tuesday in the first game, Margie Bamburg chimbed in with a fourth-inning home run that helped put the Young Guns ahead to stay, 17-16, in the target game that mimics outcomes found in real baseball. In the second game, her husband Dennis had a three-run homer that helped the Young Guns go out to a second-inning 12-6 lead they never relinquished.

“Our Beanbag Angel took care of business today,” commented one Young Gun team member.

In the final game, the Beanie Boppers suffered through scoreless second and third innings as the winners drew out to a 20-8 lead. Another scoreless final inning sealed the Beanie Boppers’ doom. The losses came despite a significant effort by Lois Reynolds who played through two games and never failed to reach base in nine at bats.

The Go Getters (bronze) joining the Young Guns (gold) and Beanie Boppers (silver) in the medal race.

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