SYAA team seeks help

Published 11:07 pm Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Suffolk Youth Athletic Association 8U National All-Star team has earned its right to continue playing on the baseball field, but it needs financial help off the field to reach the next level.

The National team ensured it would advance past the local PONY Baseball sectional tournament in Thursday’s semi-final, when it narrowly defeated Great Neck Blue by the score of 20-19 in Southern Chesapeake.

“I was very well pleased,” National team coach Frankie Haltom said. “The kids, their attitudes were perfect, even though we were down a good portion of the game.”

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It was a back-and-forth game, and at the end, the SYAA team was staring at a difficult situation in the face. It was down by one run, with two outs and one runner on base.

“That has been our story,” Haltom said. “We’ve been down a few times in a lot of our games, and they have come through when it really mattered.”

Jackson Runyon came up to bat and hit an inside-the-park walk-off home run, bringing Drew Barbosa and himself home for the win.

Weather has delayed the sectional tourney final until Monday, but by securing at least second place, the National team earned a spot in the PONY Baseball Pinto East Zone Tournament in High Point, N.C., which will take place July 11-13.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids,” Haltom said.

The cost for the entire team to make the trip will be significant, however. Team parents have put together a GoFundMe website for the National team in hopes that individuals and businesses in the community can help out the effort.

“We’ve earned the opportunity,” Haltom said on behalf of his players. Provided they can raise the money, “We’d like to see it through.”

Visit to donate.

The sectional tournament championship game is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. in southern Chesapeake. The National team will face Western Branch Gold, as the two teams face off in the third tournament championship game this year. They have split the previous title games.