In the finale against Southeastern Lexington, he got to relax a little bit.
The Orlando, Fla., Juice 12s got the bats going early and dominated throughout, beating their Kentucky opponent, 12-1, in four innings. One hour earlier, Lemon's team had come from behind twice in its final at-bat en route to a walk-off, nine-inning win against the Norwalk Stingrays in the semifinals.
The win avenged a Friday loss to Southeastern Lexington for the Juice 12s.
"I was so happy that we didn't have to go through another nail-biter," said Lemon, whose 10-and-under team lost by one run in the championship game on Saturday against the Tomateros de California. "We've been watching [Southeastern Lexington] play. They're a lot like we are -- they never give up, they never quit, and I told our kids, 'Look, we can't score enough runs against these guys.'
"We just kept getting after them, and the kids did a nice job."
The Juice 12s (4-1) had three quick runs in the top of the first and another five in the second inning to build a comfortable lead. Then, in the bottom of the third, Hunter Lee blasted a three-run homer over the 20-foot right-field wall at Mark Neel Field, marked 245 feet down the line, to make it an 11-0 game and pretty much seal the deal.
On the mound, 13-year-old lefty Michael Ray pitched a perfect game through three innings while striking out five to earn the win.
Jordan Parnell, who knocked in three runs in the clincher with a couple of doubles and retired the last batter of the game with the bases loaded, took home tournament MVP honors.
The first-ever NYBC, held at Gameday Baseball's First Tennessee Fields, brought together eight teams from eight different youth baseball organizations and separated them into two age groups -- 10-and-under and 12-and-under. The Juice 12s represented the Amateur Athletic Union, and Southeastern Lexington (3-2) represented the Babe Ruth League.
Although the final game ended with the knock-out rule, the four-day tournament provided a lot of exciting, down-to-the wire games. In the end, White Sox vice chairman and founder of the NYBC Eddie Einhorn was pleased with the inaugural event.
"I think it worked," said Einhorn, who would like to add more age groups for next year. "We had some great games, and people saw the exposure of teams and leagues they'd never seen before -- that's what made it work."