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Late Rallies Lift Extreme/Turner To Second Worth-Bud Light USSSA “D” NIT Crown At Kettering Fields; Schiavone, Leugers Fuel Seven Game Run Through Losers’ Bracket

Dayton, Oh.–Extreme/Turner Property Services Group won three of their seven losers’ bracket games in their final at bat en route to a first place finish in the the Worth-Bud Light-USSSA “D” National Invitational May16th at Kettering Fields.

Extreme/Turner double-dipped Lewis Home Buyer 21-13 and 11-2 in the finals to wrap up an 8-1 day and outlast a sixteen-team field.  It was their second “D” NIT title of the year.

The Hamilton club did it the hard way, rallying past seven opponents after dropping their second game to eventual finalist Lewis Home Center 12-8.  Extreme had benefitted from a 7-0 forfeit win in their opener.  And three times in the losers’ bracket Extreme won games in their final at bat, including the second finals when they rallied for nine runs in the top of the 7th to overcome a 3-2 deficit to Lewis.

Lewis Home Buyer was awarded a paid berth to the USSSA “D” World Tournament September 24-27 in Sterling Heights, Mi.

Extreme, a team renowned for winning low-scoring games with pitching and defense and by staying in the winners’ bracket, stepped out of character in Dayton.  The champions scored between sixteen and twenty-one runs in five games, allowed two teams to score double figures, and won seven games in the losers’ bracket on their way to the title.

“This was the first time we’ve battled through the losers’ bracket,” acknowledged Extreme manager Chris Hilton.  “Normally after we lose a game, we lose our next one.  But this time we overcame that and put together a nice little run to take the tournament.

“After we lost that second game, I thought we were an hour and a half from being home,” continued Hilton.  “After we got that first win in the losers’ bracket we were still in that same mentality.  But after we got the second win is when we got the idea that we could make a run in this thing.

“Traditionally, we have not played well in the losers’ bracket.  If you took our overall record in the losers’ bracke the last three or four years, we’re way under .500.”

Hilton had no explanation for his team’s high scoring.

“What can I say.  This is odd territory for us.  Hopefully we can keep that up for the remainder of the season.  When we don’t win games, it’s usually because our offense lets us down.  The defense is almost always there.  So if our offense can continue like it did this past weekend, we’ll have a lot of success,” predicted Hilton.”

Chris Schiavone went 30-for-36 (.833) with eleven rbi’s, and Matt Leugers batted .742 with a team high 19 rbi’s were the big contributors in Extreme’s offense.  Hilton chipped in with a .786, 12 rbi’s effort, Troy Johnson batted .750 with 11 rbi’s, and Josh Zickgraff hit .600.

Leugers was named tournament MVP.

“He was pretty much automatic with runners in scoring position this weekend,” remarked Hilton.  “He sprayed the ball all over the field.  You knew when he went to the plate this weekend he was going to rip one down the line or up the middle.  Whatever he needed to get the runners in.”

Hilton said Schiavone “set the table every game.

“He’s our leadoff hitter and he led off every game with base hits and that carried through for the entire tournament.  Every time we looked up he was on base,” said Hilton.

The pitching of Danny Cupp and defense of left-fielder Jeremy Cupp was also key, noted Hilton.

“Danny pitched well despite a lot of wind out there and kept the walks to a minimum.  And Jeremy made some nice defensive plays.  He set the tone for the tournament with a nice defensive play against Down & Dirty in our fourth game when he caught a ball in the top of the 7th and threw a runner out at 3rd for an inning-ending double play.  That gave us the momentum to win that game and ultimately to make a run to win the tournament.  That was a big play.”

After their 12-8 setback to Lewis Home Buyer in the second round, Extreme appeared destined for an early exit from the tournament when they entered the top of the 7th trailing Chris’ Band Box 9-7 in game three.  But an rbi triple by Matt Leugers put his club ahead to stay at 10-9, then Jamie Hanlon and Christ Hilton sealed the win with a pair of two-run singles.

Chris Schiavone, Josh Zickgraf and Jeremy Williams banged out four hits apiece, and Leugers, Hanlon and Hilton each went 3-for-4.

Next Extreme escaped with a narrow 7-6 victory over Down & Dirty, winning the game on an rbi single by Carlton Brock in the bottom of the 7th after Jeremy Williams’ big defensive play prevented Down & Dirty from taking the lead in the top of the inning.

Chris Schiavone, Matt Leugers and Chris Hilton shared nine hits.

Extreme scored in every inning but the 7th in game five, as they jumped out to a 10-0 lead with four in the 1st, two in the 2nd and four in the 3rd.  Matt Leugers rbi single put his club on the board in the 1st, and Chris Hilton’s two-run double highlighted the 3rd.

Chris Schiavone collected four more hits, and Carlton Brock, Aric Mills, Hilton and Troy Johnson each chipped in with a 3-for-4 effort.

Extreme’s offense continued in high gear in their next three games, as they exploded for 56 runs to reach the championship game.

First they routed Stiffler’s 18-2 in five innings, jumping out to a 14-0 lead on the strength of a seven-run 1st, three-run 2nd and four-run 3rd.  Jeremy Williams’ two-run double was the big blow in the 1st.  Matt Leugers’ two-run double capped off the 3rd.

Williams, Troy Johnson, Josh Zickgraf, Leugers and Billy Johnson combined for fifteen hits.

After rallying for three runs in the bottom of the 4th to overcome a 6-4 deficit against Lary Chevrolet/Telecommunity in the losers’ bracket finals, Extreme blew the game open with a ten-run explosion in the bottom of the 6th to lock down a 17-7 victory.  Chris Schiavone’s rbi double produced the go-ahead run in the 4th, and a three-run triple in the 6th.  Carlton Brock also contributed a big hit in the 6th with a two-run single.

Chris Hilton was perfect in four at bats to pace the offense.  Matt Leugers, Schiavone, Brock, Jeremy Williams and Troy Johnson added three hits each.

Extreme quickly evened their record with Lewis Home Buyer in the first finals with a convincing 21-13 victory, as they jumped out to an 18-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd and never looked back.  An rbi single by Matt Leugers drew 1st blood in a three-run 1st.  A pair of two-run doubles – one by Leugers and another by Carlton Brock – accounted for four of their team’s six runs in the 2nd as the lead swelled to 9-0.  Leugers added another two-run double and Aric Mills singled home two runs during a nine-run outburst in the 3rd.  Lewis Home Center stole some momentum back with nine runs in the top of the 5th to cut the deficit to seven at 19-12, but it was too little, too late.

Chris Schiavone pounded out five hits, and Josh Zickgraff, Leugers, Mills and Troy Johnson collected four each.

Lewis Home Center bounced back and appeared to be on the brink of winning the tournament as they took a narrow 3-2 lead into the 7th.  But there the wheels came off the wagon, as Extreme erupted for nine unanswered runs to nail down the title.  Carlton Brock’s rbi single drove in the go-ahead run.  Later in the inning Troy Johnson added a big rbi double.

Chris Schiavone sprayed out four hits, and Matt Leugers and Danny Cupp each went 2-for-3.

Winning two NIT’s in one season was a first for Extreme.

“It feels good,” said manager Chris Hilton.  “You play in an NIT because you want to play the best of the best in your class.  If you win one, it can be looked at as a fluke.  But if you win two, it makes a statement.  It shows your team is for real.”

Hilton concluded by thanking team sponsor Turner Property Services Group.

WORTH-BUD LIGHT-USSSA CLASS “D” NATIONAL
INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT FINAL STANDINGS

1.    Extreme/Turner Property S. G., Hamilton, OH    8 1
2.    Lewis Home Buyer, Kent, OH    4 2
3.    Laria Chevrolet/Telecommunity, Akron, OH    3 2
4.    Stiffler, Powell, OH    4 2
5.    M. J. Lowe, Lancaster, OH    2 2
Trophy Sports, Dayton, OH    2 2
7.    Clark County Merchants, South Viena, OH    2 2
Down-N-Dirty, Middletown, OH    2 2
9.    Brackens/Tech II, Urbana, OH    1 2
Chris’s Band Box, Dayton, OH    1 2
P & G Softball, Dayton, OH    1 2
Smokey Bones/Trame’s Shirts, Union, KY    1 2
13.    Anger Management/Bartz, Van Wert, OH    0 2
Bachelor’s/Mushtube/FOE, Keego Harbor, MI    0 2
Brown’s Body Shop, Hillsboro, OH    0 2
RTC Softball, Springfield, OH    0 2

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Posted by on May 25 2009.
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