Henrietta’s own RHAA (Rush Henrietta Athletic Association) 8U Hitmen recently took the #1 seed in the Lou Gehrig Iron Horse baseball tournament in East Amherst. Twenty teams from Western New York participated in the largest 8U baseball tournament of the summer, and after the round robin portion of the tournament concluded, the RHAA 8U Hitmen were the number one seed. The team won all three of their games, allowing only five total runs. Victories over Lou Gehrig White, Grand Island and MMB Blue (Mathewson McCarthy Baseball) from Williamson put the RHAA Hitmen in the spotlight entering the tournament playoffs.
Although the Hitmen lost to the eventual tournament champions Clarence Red, the Hitmen’s #1 seed in such a large 8U tournament was an impressive way to conclude the 2013 summer tournament season. Having lost in the semifinals twice and finals in three previous tournaments, the Hitmen gelled as a team and played stellar defense while amassing 30 runs in their three victories en route to the top seed.
The tournament featured JUGS pitching machines firing the ball in to the hitters at 40 miles-per-hour. Using sanctioned Little League baseballs also added a twist to the tournament; most 8U tournaments utilize Level 5 “soft” baseballs with machine pitching typically in the 20 – 25 mile-per-hour range. Comprised of the best seven and eight-year-olds in the Henrietta community, the 8U Hitmen showed their toughness by rising to the challenge a long way from the friendly confines of the RHAA Baseball and Softball complex on West Henrietta Road. Three other Rochester area teams participated in the Buffalo tournament: the Rochester Cougars, Pittsford Panthers and the Victor Blue Devils.
The 8U Hitmen, coached by Sean Hodgeman, have the following players on the roster; Preston Foryt, Nicholas Webb, Jeffrey Host, Caleb Kohler, James Evans, Evan Brock, Kyle VanAuker, Billy Booth, Colin Fanning, Sean Thody, Charles “Chucky” Sobaszek, Alex Garcia and Dylan Hodgeman.