The 'Bulldog' mentality that sparked Canes National on Day Two of 2024 Champs NC 

Coach Petty and pitcher Ethan Bingaman explain the mindset behind their bounce back win on Wednesday

After dropping to 0-1 on opening day of the 17U National Team Championships in Cary, N.C., Canes National knew it needed to dig itself out of a hole for a chance to win back-to-back titles in 2024.

The journey to win the National Team Championships is a long and challenging process, one in which Canes National has plenty of experience as it won the title in 2023 behind dominant pitching performances.

After dropping its opening game 3-0 to Stix on Tuesday, head coach Jeff Petty and Canes National found themselves in unfamiliar territory. During its run to the 2023 17U Champs NC title, last year's squad did not drop a single game after being tested in their first game in Cary.

“We had two options, right? We could have gotten down on ourselves and let it carry over to today, but we got in bed early last night and we came out this morning looking to play really hard,” Petty said.

The Canes used the extra motivation and raced out to an early lead over the Phillies, courtesy of big hits from Dean Moss and Bryden Bull.

Playing behind a comfortable lead, the Canes’ Ethin Bingaman came out on fire and provided a huge defensive lift for his team, working six innings on the bump. During his time on the mound, Bingaman fanned an impressive 12 batters, which is one away from tying the all-time strikeout record at Champs NC set by Canes National alum Zach Swanson in 2023.

“The curveball was working really well today and the high fastball, I was getting a lot of swings and misses. I went with the change-up in the late innings, which got me out of a couple of jams, but pretty much the fastball and curveball pushed me through the whole game,” Bingaman stated.

Bingaman’s stellar performance through six frames allowed the Canes to secure a 7-1 victory over the Phillies to complete the bounceback win. While the pitcher was one strikeout away from making history in his astonishing performance, he currently owns the 2024 tournament-high 12 strikeouts in a single game.

“Just be a dog,” Bingaman said post-game. His coach certainly thought he lived up to that mindset.

“He had a bulldog mentality. He threw multiple pitches for strikes. We had to pry the ball out of his hands at the end because he wanted to throw a complete game. He gave us exactly what we needed for sure,” Petty stated about Bingaman.

For the Canes, the victory signifies more than just a mark in the win column and demonstrates that last year wasn’t just a fluke. The squad now has its eyes set on another Champs NC title to add to the resume.

“We have to take the same approach to the next game. We not only need to win, but we need to keep our runs allowed down in this next game so that we can attempt to win our pool or maybe clinch a wildcard game. That’s our mentality. We have to do whatever we need to do to win,” Petty said.