Frickers/Nexus Mercies Bud Light-Worth-Ohio USSSA State Tavern Tournament At Warren County Armco Park; Defense Carries Champions

Lebanon, Oh.– Frickers/Nexus mercy-ruled four of their five opponents and held all five of their victims to single digit scoring en route to a 1st place finish in the Bud Light-Worth-Ohio USSSA State Tavern Tournament on Saturday, May 19th Warren County Armco Park.

Frickers/Nexus polished off Young & Hung 15-5 in a six inning finals to complete the sweep of the eight-team field.  The champions outscored their opponents by a combined 72-25 margin on their way to the title.

The winners had mowed down three opponents in pool play, brushing aside Dirt Bags 13-9, PCA Men 12-2 and The Edge 14-1 prior to advancing to elimination play.  The Dirt Bags were the only team to last seven innings with Frickers.  Then in the elimination round, Frickers routed U Mad Bro 18-8 in six before romping past Young & Hung.

“Solid defense” was the key to winning the tournament, said player-manager Jojo Baker.

“As a team we only batted .473 (80-for-169) on the day, so it was definitely solid defense,” said Baker.  “We made the fundamental plays.  Our outfield was the best outfield out there and our infield made very few errors.  I think we only got burned on the ball one or two times.  We capitalized on a lot of errors other teams made, and we reached base a lot on errors other teams made.  And we hit very well with runners in scoring position.”

William Harder (ss) and Tyler Gainey (3b) anchored the infield, said Baker.

“William made a couple double plays unassisted and made a lot of heads-up plays for us, like getting the lead runner,” said Baker.  “He played very smart.  And not much got by Tyler at 3rd, so he played very well too.”

“Everybody in the outfield – Steve Jones (lc), Adam Taylor (rc) and Chris Overbeck (rf) – stood out,” said Baker.

“Steve made a lot of great plays, and he makes great plays look easy,” said Baker.  “Adam threw out a runner at 2nd and at 3rd.  And I don’t think Chris made one error, and he made a lot of hard plays look routine.  He caught a lot of balls at the warning track and had to battle the sun in right field.”

Harder, who batted .500 and led his team in hits with nine, was named tournament MVP.

“It was a team vote,” explained Baker.  “We picked William for his solid defensive play in the infield, and he showed a lot of leadership.  He just shows up and does his job.  He was solid both on offense and defense.”

Joining Harder on the All-Tournament team were Baker (.636), Mike Cook (.571), Adam Taylor (.533) and Jeremy Johnson.

Baker shared pitching duties with Johnson and Cook.

“U Mad Bro was one of the toughest teams we played and I pitched the whole game,” said Baker.  “They were a fun bunch of guys to play against.  It was close the first few innings and I only gave up one walk.  I knew if I pitched them inside, they would fly out to our outfield.  I also pitched the second game.

“Johnson shared some pitching time and pitched the first game, half of the third game and the fifth game,” said Baker.  “He has a lot of spin on the ball.  It was only his second tournament and he’s come a long way.

“Mike Cook is our catcher and he made of lot of key plays tagging runners out at home,” continued Baker.  “He also pitched a little and played a little 2nd.”

Adam Taylor was named “for his great play in right-centerfield.

“He made the routine plays and gunned guys out on the bases,” said Baker.  “Plus he was picked for his solid hitting, going 8-for-15.”

Cody Gross also starred for Frickers with a .538 day.

In their first pool play contest, Steve Jones went 3-for-4 and had three rbi’s along with Adam Taylor as Frickers knocked off Dirt Bags 13-9 in game one.  Jojo Baker and Chris Overbeck each chipped in two hits apiece.

Next William Harder drove in three runs and shared four hits with Cody Gross in a 12-2, five-inning waxing of PCA Men.

Then Justin Lee banged out three hits, and Mike Cook and Joe Brumfield each went 2-for-3 with three rbi’s as Frickers rolled past The Edge 14-1 in five and into the elimination round.

Frickers scored a run in the bottom of the 5th to break an 8-8 tie with U Mad Bro in the first elimination round game, then exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the 6th to invoke the mercy rule, winning 18-8.  Andy McCoppin tripled to lead off the 5th, then trotted home with the eventual game winner on a base hit by Tyler Gainey.  The 6th featured an rbi triple by Joe Brumfield, a two-run double by Mike Cook and a walk-off single by Jojo Baker.

Baker had four rbi’s and combined with McCoppin for six hits.  Cook, Chris Overbeck and Gainey contributed two hits each.

That pitted Frickers against Young & Hung, who held an early 5-3 lead after two and a half innings.  But in the bottom of the 3rd, Frickers used a four-run outburst to take the lead for good, then tacked on two in the 4th, one in the 5th and five in the 6th while pitcher Jeremy Johnson was holding Young & Hung at bay over the final four innings in a 15-5, six inning championship game.  Mike Cook’s bases-clearing double put his club on top to stay at 7-5 in the 3rd.  Adam Taylor had an rbi single and scored on Joe Brumfield’s double in the 4th.  Cook collected another rbi with a base hit in the 5th, and Brumfield had another big rbi double to highlight the 6th.  Tyler Gainey capped off the inning with a walk-off rbi single.

William Harder and Taylor powered the champions with three hits and a pair of rbi’s each.  Cook drove in three runs and shared eight hits with Brumfeild, Andy McCoppin and Gainey.

Player-manager Jojo Baker called U Mad Bro “one of the most underrated teams in the area.

“They’re a very solid team and we like playing against them,” said Baker.  “If we didn’t win it, they would have.

“I knew if we got past U Mad Bro we’d go to the championship game and win, but we had to go through U Mad Bro to win it,” added Baker.

Was Baker surprised that his team won the tournament with such ease?

“I had only played with half of these guys, so I got to meet the other half for the first time, and we got along and jelled,” said Baker.  “It was one of the most fun tournaments I’ve ever played in.  Everybody had fun and wanted to win, and we came out swinging.”

Baker concluded by thanking his sponsors, Armco Park and his teammates.

“We want to thank Frickers of Middletown, and also Don (park manager Don Keys) and Eddie (assistant manager Eddie Oligee) for running a smooth tournament,” said Baker.  “It was one of the smoothest tournaments they’ve run.  And finally I want to thank all the guys on the team for playing hard and keeping a positive attitude and having fun.”

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Frickers/Nexus swept undefeated past five opponents en route to a 1st place finish in the Bud Light-Worth-Ohio USSSA State Tavern Tournament on Saturday, May 19th Warren County Armco Park. Left to right are Mike Cook, Justin Lee, Joe Brumfield, Adam Taylor, Andy Mccoppin, Tyler Gainey, William Harder, Jeremy Johnson, Steve Jones, Chris Overbeck, and Jojo Baker. Not pictured are Cody Gross and Ryan Gross. Photo courtesy of Warren County Armco Park.