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Premier/ Slugger Mercies USSSA Tri-State Conference “C-D” NIT Field At Expressway Park

Milford, Oh.—Premier Services/Louisville Slugger mercy-ruled four of their five opponents en route to a first place finish in a USSSA Tri-State Conference “C-D” Open National Invitational on Saturday, May 17th at Expressway Park.

 

Premier/Slugger used an early 12-0 lead to subdue eventual runner-up Fred’s Boys/T & W Electric/Louisville Slugger 18-12 in the fourth and deciding game to clinch the title of the six-team, round robin affair.  Premier went on to polish off Rockstar/YATS 19-9 in a six-inning finale to complete the sweep.

 

Previously the champions had brushed aside DDJ/Eagles 2070/Elks 509 23-10 in five, Beau Townsend 16-6 in six, and Headlines Apparel/FC/MPSI 14-4 in six.

 

Premier, currently the number one ranked USSSA “C” team in the Great Lakes Division and the points leader in the “B-C” division of the Tri-State Conference, outscored their victims by a combined 90-41 margin, as they averaged 18 runs per game on their way to the title.

 

The winners pocketed $500 cash, while runner-up Fred’s took home $300 and got their ticket punched for the USSSA “C” World Tournament September 18-21 in Kissimmee, Fl.

 

Beau Townsend, the highest finishing “D” team in the tournament, left Expressway Park with $100 and an unpaid berth to the USSSA “E” World September 11-14 in Kissimmee.

 

DDJ/Eagles, the only “E” team in the field, also won $100.

 

Premier manager Kevin Forwith attributed his team’s championship to “timely hitting, good defense, and outstanding pitching.

 

“We played some of the best defense we’ve played all year long, and that helped us get the mercy-rule in four of our five games,” noted Forwith, whose team held their opponents to an average of eight runs per game.  “Also to be able to use all three of our pitchers we have on the team kept everybody fresh and able to play for the duration of the day.”

 

Chuck Lack (.750), Josh Powell (.738), Brad Balllinger (.678), Pat Foster (.658) and Steve Atkinson (.636) powered the offense.

 

Powell was named Tournament MVP.

 

“He moved to 2nd base from shortstop and played outstanding defense and just hit the ball all day long,” said Forwith.  “His hitting was very consistent and he hit home runs when we needed them.”

 

Bradlee Bruns was selected the tournament’s Defensive MVP.

 

“He played solid in the outfield and made a critical catch in the 4th inning in the Fred’s Boys game to take away their momentum after they had scored four runs,” recalled Forwith.  “The ball was hit over his head and he was turned around and caught it right up against the fence.  If he doesn’t catch that, it was a three-run triple easily.”

 

Patrick Foster, Donnie Taylor, Steve Atkinson and Kyle Jamison were also named to the All-Tournament team.

 

“Pat was named for his timely hitting and solid defense at shortstop,” said Forwith.  “Donnie stepped in as a role player and hit very well and played good defense.  And Steve and Pat each pitched two of our five games and were very consistent with their hitting all day long.”

 

Upstart DDJ/Eagles, a U-Trip “E” team, gave Premier fits for two and a half innings in game one, taking an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the 3rd.  But Premier exploded for seven in the 3rd and nine in the 4th to invoke the run rule.  Kyle Jamison and Adam Littman each connected for a solo home run in the 3rd, Josh Powell added a two-run shot, and Jon Mulvihill delivered a three-run bomb.  Mulvihill collected two more rbi’s with a double in the 4th, and Chuck Lack had a two-run double to close out the scoring at 23-10.

 

Lack, Powell and Jamison banged out three hits each, and Steve Atkinson and Pat Foster chipped in with two hits.

 

A ten-run 1st helped carry Premier past Beau Townsend 16-6 in game two.  Kyle Jamison launched a two-run homer to erase a 2-1 deficit and put his team ahead for good at 3-2.  Steve Atkinson followed with a solo shot, Jon Mulvihill a two-run double, Brad Bruns a three-run bomb and Brad Balllinger a two-run homer.  Premier tacked on two in the 4th as Ryan Uckotter doubled in a run and was chased home by a Chuck Lack base hit.  An inning later Uckotter had a walk-off two-run single to invoke the run rule.

 

Josh Powell was perfect in four trips to the plate, and Uckotter and Lack each went 3-for-4.

 

Premier rolled past Headlines Apparel 14-4 in game three, taking a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 1st, then plating nine unanswered runs from the 3rd through the 6th to record their third straight win via the mercy-rule.  Adam Littman’s two-run single was the big blow in the 1st.  Pat Foster and Littman each contributed an rbi single in the 3rd, Ryan Uckotter cracked a two-run homer in the 4th and a two-run double in the 5th, then Foster added a walk-off single in the 6th.

 

Uckotter, Donnie Taylor, Kyle Jamison and Foster combined for a dozen hits to pace the offense.

 

That lifted Premier into a showdown with undefeated Fred’s Boys.  The eventual champions quickly jumped out to a 12-0 lead with nine in the 1st and three in the 2nd, and went on to outlast Fred’s 18-12.  Three two-run home runs – by Ryan Uckotter, Josh Powell, and Adam Littman – accounted for six of Premier’s nine runs in the 1st, then Foster belted a three-run homer in the 2nd.  Fred’s trimmed the deficit to 13-8 with four in the 2nd and four in the 4th, but Premier pulled away with one in the 5th, two in the 6th and two in the 7th to nail down the victory.  Brad Ballinger singled in the run in the 5th, Jon Mulvihill had a two-run single in the 6th, and Donnie Taylor had a sac fly and Powell an rbi single in the 7th.

 

Powell collected four hits, and Steve Atkinson and Alex Rulon shared six.

 

With the title secured, Premier romped past Rockstar/YATS 19-9 in a six-inning finale.  Premier never trailed, pushing across five in the 1st, two in the 2nd and eight in the 3rd to take a commanding 15-6 lead and never looked back.  Kyle Jamison socked a three-run homer to put his team on the board in the 1st, and Brad Ballinger had a two-run shot in the 2nd.  The 3rd featured a two-run Adam Littman single, a two-run Chris Newberry homer and a Ballinger solo.

 

Littman pounded out four hits, and Newberry and Ballinger added three, to power the champions.

 

Getting past Fred’s Boys was the pivotal game of the tournament, said Premier’s Kevin Forwith.

 

“We are always evenly matched with Fred’s,” said Forwith.  “The games always go back and forth and it comes down to which team uses their home runs correctly.”

 

Forwith thanked Expressway Park manager Bob Owens for “a well-run tournament.

 

“We played five games and were out of there by 6 PM,” noted Forwith.

 

“We also want to thank Robert Mahaffey and Louisville Slugger for their support with their equipment and sponsorship,” remarked Forwith.

 

“All the teams showed great sportsmanship all day, which really makes the Tri-State Conference fun and enjoyable,” he added.

 

For final standings, tournament game scores and all-tournament team, please paste the following url into your browser: http://www.usssa.com/sports/tournament3.asp?TournamentID=1092328

 

This article is also available for viewing at www.ohiousssasoftball.com.

Premier Services/Louisville Slugger mercy-ruled four of their five opponents en route to a first place finish in a USSSA Tri-State Conference “C-D” Open National Invitational on Saturday, May 17th at Expressway Park.  Photo courtesy of Expressway Park.

Premier Services/Louisville Slugger mercy-ruled four of their five opponents en route to a first place finish in a USSSA Tri-State Conference “C-D” Open National Invitational on Saturday, May 17th at Expressway Park.  Photo courtesy of Expressway Park.

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Posted by on May 22 2014.
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