Milford, Oh.—Matt Hosterman hit a blistering .889 and Chris Davidson batted .800 to power J & M Outcasts to a first place finish in a USSSA Mixed Couples State-National Qualifier on Monday, May 28th at Expressway Park.
J & M mowed down three opponents en route to the title, their fourth in as many outings. The champions rallied back from an early 6-2 deficit to pull out an eventual 12-8 victory over Jay’s Yankees in game one, then romped past Fun Bunch 10-3 and So Icy 17-5 to complete the sweep.
J & M outscored their three opponents by a combined 39-16 margin, and held all three of their victims to single digit scoring.
Jay’s Yankees finished 2nd and was awarded a berth to the Ohio USSSA Mixed State Tournament August 25-26 back at Expressway Park, and to the U-Trip Mixed National Tournament October 6-7 in Dayton.
Third place So Icy also got their ticket punched for State Tournament play.
J & M received $50 in USSSA travel expense.
Solid defense and the offensive spark provided by Matt Hosterman and Chris Davidson helped carry J & M to the title, said manager Josh Eversole.
“In the top of the 1st inning in our very first game against Jay’s Yankees, they loaded the bases and scored two runs, then loaded the bases again and had no outs,” recalled Eversole. “But we were able to turn a double play and got the last batter to ground out to the pitcher to end the inning.”
J & M’s outfield play was stellar, said Eversole.
“We played good team defense with Chris Davidson and Matt Hosterman in the outfield along with Scott Hornsby and Ernie Miller rotating out on a hot day,” said Eversole. “They tracked down all the balls that were hit out there and kept the runners to singles and kept base runners from advancing from 1st to 3rd.”
Missy Sortman and Kari Staples anchored the infield.
“Missy played 3rd base and nobody hit anything that got by her,” said Eversole. “And Kari moved over from 1st base to 2nd base for this tournament and played very well.”
Matt Hosterman (.889) and Chris Davidson (.800) powered an offense that boasted no fewer than six players who hit .625 or better.
“Matt is usually our most consistent hitter,” said Eversole. “He usually bats .800, which really helps out when you can count on somebody getting on eight out of ten times.”
Davidson is J & M’s number five hitter and he’s “always on base with extra base hits or taking what the defense will give him with singles,” said Eversole.
Other hitting leaders included Dave Davis at .700, Amanda Hornsby and Missy Sortman at .667 and Tracy Brewster at .625.
After falling behind Jay’s Yankees 6-2 after three and a half innings in game one, J & M outscored the Yankees 10-2 over the final three and a half innings to emerge with a hard-fought 12-8 victory in game one. J & M took the lead with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the 4th, going ahead 7-6 on a two-run single by Matt Hosterman. Kari Staples capped off the inning with a sac fly. Ernie Miller singled in a run in the bottom of the 5th, only to have Jay’s trim the deficit to one with two runs in the top of the 6th. But in the bottom of the 6th, Missy Sortman had an rbi single, then Chris Davidson doubled in two runs to close out the scoring.
Hosterman and Davidson were both perfect in four trips to the plate, and Miller, Tracy Brewster, Staples, Amanda Hornsby and Dave Davis combined for ten hits.
Next J & M used a three-run 2nd, and a three-run 3rd and a three-run 5th to spank Fun Bunch 10-3. Kari Staples had a leadoff triple and scored on Matt Hosterman’s sac fly as J & M drew first blood in the bottom of the 1st. Chris Davidson had an inside-the-park home run and Amanda Hornsby added a two-run single in the 2nd. Davidson collected three more rbi’s with another inside-the-park home run in the top of the 3rd as the lead swelled to 7-0. Then in the 5th rbi singles by Hosterman and Austin Eversole and a Missy Sortman sac fly gave J & M a commanding 10-1 advantage. Fun Bunch answered with one in the 6th and one in the 7th to make the final 10-3.
Davidson and Ernie Miller each went 2-for-3 to pace the offense. Scott Hornsby reached base three times with a base hit and two walks.
A four-run 2nd erased an early 3-2 lead against So Icy in the finale, then J & M tacked on two in the 3rd and nine in the 4th to pull away from So Icy 17-5 in five. Austin Eversole’s rbi single knotted the score at 3-3 in the top of the 2nd, Jessica Wolfe followed with an rbi single, then Matt Hosterman delivered a big two-run single. The 3rd featured a Scott Hornsby walk and an Eversole single, while an rbi triple by Hosterman and a two-run triple by Hornsby highlighted the 4th.
Dave Davis pounded out four hits, and Hosterman, Missy Sortman and Amanda Hornsby shared nine hits for the champions.
Getting past Jay’s Yankees was the pivotal game of the tournament for J & M, and proved to be a momentum booster, said manager Josh Eversole.
“That started the day off to where we felt like we had beaten one of the better teams in the tournament,” said Eversole.
Was J & M surprised to walk through the tournament with such ease?
“It was a lot closer than what the scores indicate,” protested Eversole. “The other teams played very well and hit the ball, but we made some defensive plays to get us out of innings.”
Eversole concluded by commending Expressway Park for a well-run tournament.
“They always run a good tournament and keep the games moving and on time,” said Eversole.