Atrium/ Shirtworks/ Miller Lite Out-Slugs Sportsco/ Borgman/ Turner 20-16 In Worth-Bud Light-Ohio USSSA “C” State Finals At Berliner Park
Columbus, Oh.– Atrium/Shirtworks/Miller Lite out-slugged Sportsco/Borgman/Turner 20-16 in the championship game to capture first place in the Worth-Bud Light-Ohio USSSA Men’s Class “C” State Tournament August 20th at Berliner Park.
Atrium/Shirtworks/Miller Lite swept past four opponents en route to the title, coming from behind in the late innings to win all four games. Atrium’s first three victories came over M. J. Lowe 10-9, Possum Holler II 13-7 and Sportsco/Borgman/Turner 18-7 in the winners’ bracket finals.
Ironically, the champions needed extra innings to outlast M. J. Lowe – a USSSA “D” team. Atrium rallied for three runs in the top of the 7th to tie the game at 8-8, then plated two in the 8th on back-to-back rbi doubles by Josh Hart and Bobby Stoll to take the lead. M. J. Lowe pushed across a run in the bottom of the inning to make the final 10-9.
Pure Romance/Easton/Mojo, which lost to Sportsco 12-11 in the losers’ bracket finals, finished third with a 4-2 record.
Solid defense, the pitching of Anthony Mattix, and the offensive punch provided by tournament MVP Bobby Stoll helped carry Atrium to the title, said player-manager Chris Baker.
“Defense was the big key,” stressed Baker. “We didn’t make any errors that cost us runs. That was the big thing.”
Baker pointed to a play in the championship game as an example of how Atrium’s defense helped lead them to the title.
“There was a key play in the finals when Sportsco had runners on 1st and 3rd with one out it the 5th inning,” said Baker. “They had been hitting the ball well the whole game. I was playing short and dove and caught a ball in the six-hole and threw out the runner coming home, and then we doubled the batter up at 1st. So we got out of that without giving up any runs.”
Sportsco was leading 14-13 at the time. Atrium went on top to stay in the bottom of the inning.
Outfielders Brian Plank and Kent Miesse, infielders Dustin Tuttle and Bobby Stoll, and pitcher Anthony “Ant” Mattix held down the defense, said Baker.
“Brian makes every play in centerfield,” said Baker. “He cuts the ball off in the gap and makes the throws in from the outfield. His play in center and Kent Miesse’s in left was very solid. They let nothing get over their heads that wasn’t a home run and cut off every ball in the gap and limited runners to one bag instead of two.”
Middle-infielder Dustin Tuttle and 2nd baseman Bobby Stoll “made several plays up the middle to eliminate scoring opportunities,” said Baker.
“They seemed to always get the lead out in every situation.”
Pitcher Anthony Mattix “was fantastic, as usual,” added Baker.
“He doesn’t walk guys, that’s the main thing he does well,” said Baker. “He keeps the ball in the strike zone and pitches to his defense, and as a result, it’s real easy to play defense behind him. He also fields the middle well. But most importantly he doesn’t give other teams the opportunity for free runs by not walking anybody.”
Bobby Stoll, who led Atrium in hitting with a .778 performance, was named tournament MVP.
“It was a tale of two tournaments for us,” said Baker. “In the first two games, even though we did win, everybody just kind of hit the ball mediocre. But Bobby really carried us offensively. In the first two games, he was 3-for-4 and 4-for-4, so he went seven for his first eight at bats with a home run and several key rbi’s. And he continued the good play throughout the rest of the tournament, going 4-for-5 the third game, and 3-for-5 the fourth game, so he was seven for his last ten.”
Joining Stoll on the All-State Tournament Team were Brian Plank (.729), Josh Hart (.722), Paul Little (.714) and Anthony Mattix. Baker was named the tournament’s offensive MVP.
“Brian is our star defensive outfielder,” said Baker. “He has an absolute cannon for an arm and tracks every ball down in the outfield. And he hit a hundred points higher than his season average.”
Baker called Josh Hart “our main rbi guy.
“He’s another guy who hit over .700 for the tournament,” said Baker. “And he’s a really smart player. He catches for us and has a report on every batter and directs the defense to give us the best opportunity to make an out on any batter.
“Paul Little also hit over .700,” continued Baker. “And he made a half dozen scoops at 1st base on balls that were one-hopped or short-hopped. He stayed with them and made sure we got the out. He also made a key play in the finals on a ball hit down the 1st base line where the runner at 2nd tried to advance to home, and he fielded the ball and threw the runner out at home.”
Anthony Mattix was picked to the all-state team “for his excellent pitching,” said Baker.
“He kept us in every game and never really gave up any big scoring innings,” said Baker. “The most runs teams got off of him in one inning was six. He didn’t give up many runs, and he fields the middle well and doesn’t walk anybody.”
Atrium avoided a first round upset by scoring five runs in their last two at bats to overcome an 8-5 deficit and outlast upstart M. J. Lowe – a USSSA “D” team – 10-9 in eight innings. Atrium got an rbi single by Brian Plank and a two-run single by John Young in the top of the 7th to force extra innings, then got back-to-back rbi doubles by Josh Hart and Bobby Stoll in the top of the 8th to take a 10-8 lead. M. J. Lowe strung together three, two-out singles in the bottom of the inning to make it a one-run game before pitcher Anthony Mattix retired the final batter on a fly out to Brian Plank in center.
Josh Hart banged out four hits, and Jake Hart and Bobby Stoll each went 3-for-4 to pace the offense.
Late scoring got Atrium through the second round as well as they plated three in the 4th, four in the 5th and five in the 6th to pull out a 13-7 victory over Possum Holler II. After tying the game with three in the 4th, Atrium went on top to stay in the 5th, taking the lead on Jake Hart’s rbi single. Back-to-back home runs – including a two-run shot by Josh Hart and a Bobby Stoll solo – made it 9-5. Possum Holler answered with one in the 6th, but Atrium sealed the win with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the 6th. A two-run double by Stoll and an rbi double by Brian Plank highlighted the inning. Possum Holler closed out the scoring with a run in the top of the 7th.
Stoll collected four hits, and Plank, Dustin Tuttle and Josh Wright combined for nine hits.
Atrium rallied in the late innings again to rout Sportsco/Borgman/Turner 18-7, scoring seven runs in the top of the 5th to overcome an 8-7 deficit, then tacking on one in the 6th and three in the 7th to break the game open. Back-to-back solo shots by Josh Wright and Josh Hart put their club ahead for good at 9-8 in the 5th. Justin Johnson’s two-run double made it 11-8. Brian Plank added an rbi double, then Dustin Tuttle and Jake Hart each contributed a sac fly as the lead swelled to 14-7. Anthony Mattix singled in a run in the 6th, then in the 7th, Chris Baker and Kent Miesse had a rbi singles and Johnson an rbi double to make the final 18-7.
Mattix, Bobby Stoll, Baker, Wright and Miesse shared twenty hits for the winners. Mattix held Sportsco scoreless over the final three innings to facilitate the comeback.
Sportsco emerged from the losers’ bracket with a 12-11 victory over Cincinnati rival Pure Romance, and held a 16-15 lead over Atrium through five and a half innings in the finals. But once again Atrium’s bats came alive in the late innings, this time rallying for five in the bottom of the 6th to pull out a 20-16 victory. Kent Miesse tied the game with an rbi double, then Anthony Mattix knocked in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single. Dustin Tuttle followed with an rbi single and Josh Wright an rbi double to close out the scoring, as Sportsco put up a goose egg in the top of the 7th.
Josh Hart pounded out four hits to power the champions. Miesse, Brian Plank and Mattix chipped in three hits each.
Atrium’s Chris Baker called Sportsco “a fantastic team.
“We’ve played them three times, and each time they’ve been high-scoring affairs where they continue to hit the ball consistently,” said Baker. “We’re pretty evenly matched with them and were fortunate to come out on top. All three have been close games. They’re really solid.”
A trip to Cincinnati to participate in the USSSA “B” state the previous weekend proved invaluable to Atrium’s championship, said Baker.
“That gave us more points than we expected, so we got a first round bye, and our seeding really helped us,” explained Baker. “Early losses by ‘C’ teams to ‘D’ teams made a big impact on our winning the state, as EAP, PRI and the Seminoles were forced into the losers’ bracket early and had to beat up on each other all day.”
Conversely, Atrium started out the event with back-to-back games against “D” teams prior to their two contests with Sportsco.
“We’re grateful we got the opportunity to play in the tournament,” concluded Baker. “It was very well-run.”
For final standings and tournament game scores, please paste the following url into your browser: http://www.usssa.com/sports/Tournament3.asp?TournamentID=776510
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