Coming off of another perfect slalom through the Triple Crown Sports World Series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the 3n2 Warriors are the current holders of the last two TCS World Series Championships. While the undefeated 2015 championship run in Park City, Utah was impressive, the 2016 tournament was a bit more dominating than the prior.
“It was everything you would hope it would be as a coach.” 3n2 Warriors Head Coach Ryan Duman remarked in a phone interview. “We played exceptionally well in every aspect.
The 3n2 Warriors outscored their opponents 48 to 6 – in the three pool play matchups, before moving into Bracket play. Championship play began with an opening round bye as the third overall seed, setting up an opener versus Oklahoma Elite (Moore, OK). An impressive offensive output produced a mercy rule victory and setup what has been described as the “game of the tournament” with Pico Pride (Pico Rivera, CA).
A back-and-forth affair that held everything any 11-year old could dream up in his backyard. Both teams rallied from deficits, allowing room for hero’s to emerge, before the Warriors finally allowed the credits to roll – earning a standing ovation. 3n2 concluded Friday by walking off the perennial national power, 10-9.
“I’ve said it fifty times since, but I have to say it again. It was the very best game I have ever been a part of. The baseball was as good as you’d ever see. The atmosphere was electric. It produced gamers on both sides who stepped up. It was borderline insane at times, which is why you play the game.” Duman recalled.
Continuing in the winners bracket the rest of the way, a dominating run rule game over the second seeded Midwest Elite (OK) and two more lopsided wins over the overall number one seed, Utah Yard Dawgs (UT), capped another eight and zero run and third overall National Championship.
With the 2016 campaign now behind them, and after totaling a few more fall tournament victories; the cold weather Warriors aren’t comfortable resting on their accomplishments, instead, choosing to focus on a way to top the latest in their inventory of titles.
Enjoying a local season that runs from March thru July, the “Dudes” as they are referred to, do a lot of work indoors. When asked how they get their juggernaut revved up, Duman spoke plainly, “We begin in December in a garage. It is literally a garage. Two tunnels, a few chairs for the parents, and a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned in months. It isn’t ideal when you compare it to the (Southern California) teams, or the big facility academies, but it’s just what we know. Its just part of the process.”
While many elite teams practice protected from the elements, the 3n2 Warriors take the indoor portion of the practice schedule very seriously. Longtime assistant Jon Shank stressed the atmosphere surrounding the work the boys put in.
“These kids are baseball gym rats. They are absolutely thinking about baseball, watching, or playing baseball all the time. They all play other sports, but their love is baseball.” Shank continued, “It makes them a joy to work with from a coaching perspective, because you know that they are always going to come with great energy and focus to practice – whether it’s 30 degrees in December or 100 degrees in July. The boys are constantly working to get better, learn different positions, and take on different roles in game situations.”
As the December snow fell again in the southern suburb of Denver, the 3n2 Warriors packed it in the garage and began again. However this version of the 3n2 Warriors has three extremely talented additions to an already spectacular core.
Coach Duman would agree. “It is by far the best team we have ever had, on paper. Though, that doesn’t guarantee any real measure of success.”
Beau Smith, Head Coach of the Thunder Academy 12U, who recently matched up with 3n2 last month in a Final in Las Vegas, shared his thoughts on the roster. “They’re an extremely talented team offensively all through the lineup. Add what is possibly the best left-handed 12-year-old pitcher in the country, and you have your hands full no matter what event you run up against them. The core of this team has been together since they were 6 years old, which helps them through nearly every tough Sunday afternoon.” Coach Smith concluded neatly with, “I haven’t seen a more consistently successful group and baseball family.”
There’s a lot of talk of the 3n2 Warriors baseball family. Nobody associated with the program speaks anything different. Loudly and proudly, their large legion of supporters, have accepted the process. A process that often times calls for 70-plus people to, “do their jobs” as Duman often quips.
One parent in particular, Micah Nori, a seasoned NBA coach, comprehends it. “Many will say ‘It is amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who receives the credit’ – the 3n2 Warriors encompass that quote. It starts at the top with our coaching staffs, which do not take a dime and volunteer their time to lead these boys. It speaks to our parents who constantly look out for each other with carpools, meals, overnights, whatever it takes to make sure the boys do not miss a single opportunity to be part of this team. Even the siblings, who give up their spring and summer to follow their brothers on this adventure.”
Though there is one common denominator that will always remain constant. The players are the ones who have achieved the more than 300 wins and 30-plus tournament titles.
Parents such as Nori understand why the team has succeeded to this degree. “The players are selfless as they only care about winning and not individual success. To me, this is what it means to be part of the 3n2 Warriors and why success seems to follow them year in and year out.”
Assistant Coach Shank echo’s many of the same points. “Every one of (the players) is capable of hitting the ball out of the yard. However, no one is above anything baseball asks of them; we stress coachability and teamwork, playing for each other and their extended baseball family. We stress the overall process of becoming a more consistent baseball player and not necessarily the result of each individual pitch, at bat, or game.”
Throughout my extensive conversation with Coach Duman, the same themes continued to ring out. He never mentioned a single player by name, only: Process – Family – Success. “There must be a process in place that does not just set goals, but leaves room for the imagination to dream of more. Our process is consistent and detailed. Though many may not understand the inner workings, it is the true secret to our success. It’s the family trusting the process.” Duman stressed.
Whatever comes next in the process for the Warriors, one could only assume it will add to the programs history of success and growing national reputation. A reputation of great players, supporters, and a whole mess of cowbells. So as you enter tournaments in 2017, take a peek, listen closely, because the 3n2 Warriors from Colorado may just be lurking.
The 3n2 Warriors may be followed on their social media pages: Facebook: 3n2Warriors – Instagram: 3n2warriors_co – Twitter: @3n2warriors – Website: www.hrcpyouthsports.com