Lebanon, Oh.—Gerald Burt’s rbi single in the bottom of the 8th gave Stampede/Accurate/McKinley’s/NCH Guns a 10-9 victory over JEP/Fricker’s/Kings in the championship game of a USSSA “E” State-National Qualifier on Saturday, April 21st at Warren County Armco Park.
Stampede had rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 6th to tie JEP 8-8, then pushed across a run in the bottom of the 7th to force the game into extra innings after JEP scored in the top of the inning.
The champions went 2-1 in pool play before drilling Extreme Heat 16-5 in the elimination round, then trimming JEP 10-9. In pool play, Stampede sandwiched a pair of blowouts around a 22-17 setback to Young and Hung, as they routed Blue Thunder 20-2 in four and JEP 18-2.
The championship was the first of the year for Stampede, which has struggled with injuries the first two months of the season. Last year Stampede collected a total of eight USSSA qualifier titles.
“We’ve been struggling all year, but our bats finally started working for us,” remarked player-manager Jake Hillman. “We just out-hit everyone we played.”
Adam Weiss (.889 OBA) and Kyle McBrayer (.750 OBA) spearheaded an offense that boasted eight players with a .600 OBA or higher.
“Adam was on fire all day long,” said Hillman. “He has a good base hit shot that’s hard to defend against, especially against a bunch of teams that don’t really know us. He had eleven hits and eleven singles. Nobody was able to take that away from us all day long.”
Hillman called McBrayer “one of our younger players who’s steadily getting better.
“He’s really coming around,” said Hillman. “He’s moving up in our line-up. He’s been clutch for us both years he’s played for us.”
Other OBA leaders for Stampede included R. C. Glass and Brent Ferguson at .722, Marcus McDermott and Jimmy Sammons at .667, Ronnie Wells at .611, and Gerald Burt at .600.
Defensively, McDermott anchored the infield and Wells and Brian Boroff held down the outfield.
“Marcus, our middle infielder, had a great tournament,” said Hillman. “He was solid. He didn’t make any errors and was able to hold down the middle. We shook up our defense a couple times also and he filled in for us at short and 2nd base as well.”
Hillman said Wells “is pretty much the cornerstone of our defense in centerfield as always,” and that Boroff “made a couple of big plays in the championship game in left field that helped keep us in it until our bats came back to life.”
Stampede overpowered Blue Thunder 20-2 in their first pool play contest behind a 3-3 effort from R. C. Glass and Brent Ferguson. Young and Hung then out-slugged Stampede 22-17 despite four hits each from Adam Weiss and Glass and three from Gerald Burt. Ferguson and Jake Hillman were both perfect in three at bats as Stampede bounced back to rout JEP 18-2.
In the elimination round Stampede jumped out to an 8-1 lead after two and a half innings on the strength of a three-run 2nd and a five-run 3rd and never looked back in a 16-5 romp. The winners pulled away with three in the 6th and four in the 7th. Joe Schmuck’s rbi double put his club on the board in the 2nd. Two-run singles by Gerald Burt and Tony Huber highlighted the 3rd. An rbi triple by Marcus McDermott was the big blow in the 6th. Then in the 7th Schmuck delivered a two-run single and McDermott capped off the inning with a two-run double.
Adam Weiss, Jimmy Sammons, Ronnie Wells and McDermott combined for a dozen hits, and Brian Boroff and Brent Ferguson chipped in with two apiece.
JEP was poised to avenge their pool play loss to Stampede in the finals, as they took an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the 6th. But Stampede knotted the score on a Charlie Long sac fly and walks to Adam Weiss and R. C. Glass. JEP regained the lead with a run in the top of the 7th, only to have Stampede send the game into extra innings on a Jake Hillman sacrifice fly. Finally in the bottom of the 8th Gerald Burt singled in the game winner.
Jimmy Sammons banged out three hits, and Burt, Glass, Kyle McBrayer, Marcus McDermott and Brian Boroff shared ten hits.
Stampede manager Jake Hillman said his team wasn’t concerned when they went into the bottom of the 6th trailing 8-5.
“The way things had been going for us we never felt like we were out of that game,” remarked Hillman.
“We had been struggling this year when we were playing from behind. But this weekend we actually felt like we were going to pull that game out. It’s nice to have that kind of confidence for a change.”
For final standings, please paste the following url into your browser: http://www.usssa.com/sports/Tournament3.asp?TournamentID=863327