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Louden Pitching, Wewe Blast Lift “Loose” Dirty Sports/ Durbin Bowl To 13th City Slam-USSSA-Tri-State Conference “D-E” Title At Mid-America

Colerain Township, Oh.—The pitching of tournament MVP Shane Louden, and a Kyle Wewe three-run blast in the bottom of the 6th inning of the second championship game, helped lift Dirty Sports/Durbin Bowl to a first place in the “Men’s D-E” division of the 13th Annual City Slam-USSSA-Tri-State Conference National Invitational Tournament May 22-26 at Mid-America Ballyard.

Dirty/Durbin trailed Usual Suspects 14-11 heading into the bottom of the 6th of the second finals. Blair Webster doubled in two runs to trim the deficit to one. Then, after a walk to Tyler Theising, Wewe stroked a three-run homer to put his team ahead for good. Usual Suspects pushed across a run in the top of the 7th before running out of swings.

The winners had beaten Usual Suspects 16-12 in the first finals by scoring four runs in the top of the 7th to break a 12-12 tie, taking the lead on Brandon Taylor’s solo shot.

Tournament MVP Shannon Louden

Tournament MVP Shannon Louden

Usual Suspects had knocked Dirty Sports into the losers’ bracket with a 16-4 spanking in the winners’ bracket finals.

The winners pocketed $1,825 in cash for their efforts, and got their ticket punched for the USSSA “D” World September 11-14 in Kissimmee, Fl. with a paid berth.

Dirty Dozen/Top Ten Sports Bar, the highest finishing “E” team in the tournament, also picked up a paid world berth, qualifying for the USSSA “E” World. Dirty Dozen can advance to either the “E” World North September 12-14 in Sterling Heights, Mi., or the “E” World East September 25-28 in Kissimmee, Fl.

Having a full roster for the weekend and playing “loose” were two of the keys to winning the tournament, said player-manager Matt Miller.

Outstanding Defensive Player John Thompson of Usual Suspects

Outstanding Defensive Player John Thompson of Usual Suspects

“Having all of our guys there was a key,” said Miller. “Also, we had been putting too much pressure on ourselves, and for the first time since the beginning of the year, we just had some fun and played loose all weekend. We were doubting ourselves a little bit, but everybody played well. We were locked in and got back to having some fun and free swinging, and we hit the ball well. We batted over .700 for the weekend.”

Rickey Spivey (.744), Kyle Wewe (.720), Shannon Louden (.714) and Blair Webster (.703) all eclipsed the .700 mark for the champions.

Louden was named Tournament MVP.

“He pitched great all weekend,” said Miller. “He hasn’t pitched a lot this year, but he had the hitters off-balance and pitched great and in every inning we played, and he hit.714.”

Joining Louden on the All-Tournament team were Spivey, Wewe, Tyler Theising (.655), and Curtis Fogle (.625).

“Rickey played middle infield for us all weekend and played great defense, and in about the first four games, he didn’t make an out,” said Miller. “He came out smoking hot and hit the cover off the ball all weekend. He had a lot of two out hits and two-out rbi’s. He led us all weekend along with Shannon.”

Kyle Wewe “was consistent all weekend” as well, said Miller.

“He is one of those guys who can hit second, fifth or ninth, and he doesn’t care. He’ll still hit .750. And he hit that big three-run home run in the final game that put us up for good.”

Tyler Theising and Curtis Fogle “played every inning in the outfield and played great defense on top of hitting for a good average,” said Miller. “The outfield played great all weekend with Justin (Dick) in left, Curtis in center, and Tyler in right. Especially in the last two games, they just gutted it out and cut balls off that could have easily been doubles.”

After going 1-1 in pool play, in which they overpowered In10sity 21-3 in three innings before suffering a 21-17 setback to Tilton Trucking, Dirty Sports almost found themselves in the losers’ bracket after trailing early to Me-5-Me 9-8 after four. But in the top of the 5th, Dirty erupted for four runs to grab a 12-9 advantage. Sean Powell put his club on top for good with a two-run double, Shannon Louden plated a run with a sac fly, and Justin Dick capped off the inning with an rbi single. The lead increased to seven on the strength of a four-run 7th. Rbi doubles by Matt Miller and Sean Powell and a run-scoring triple by Curtis Fogle were the big blows in the inning. Me-5-Me roared back in the bottom of the 7th with five runs to cut the lead to one, and put the tying run at 3rd with two outs before Louden induced the next batter to hit a soft liner to Brandon Taylor at 3rd.

Rickey Spivey banged out four hits, and Miller and Dick added three each to pace the offense.

Next Dirty Sports jumped out to an 11-5 lead over 2 Danes/Last Call with seven in the 1st, two in the 2nd and two in the 3rd, then invoked the mercy-rule with four in the bottom of the 5th. Blair Webster quickly erased a 1-0 deficit with a slammer in the bottom of the 1st. Brandon Taylor followed with a two-run shot, and Shannon Louden an rbi single to make it 7-1. Webster collected another rbi with a double in the 2nd, and Matt Miller had an rbi double and Curtis Fogle an rbi triple in the 3rd. The 5th featured a two-run double by Sean Powell. Fogle, who was perfect in four trips to the plate, had a walk-off single to invoke the mercy-rule.

Hard Knocks/S.S.A. battled Dirty Sports to a 6-6 stalemate through four innings in game three, but Dirty pushed across one in the 5th and one in the 6th, then broke the game open with a five-run 7th. Rickey Spivey’s base hit broke the tie in the 5th, and Kyle Wewe had a sac fly in the 6th. The 7th featured a bases-clearing double by Blair Webster and an rbi triple by Tyler Theising.

Webster collected three hits altogether, and Shannon Louden chipped in with a 2-for-3 effort.

Durbin used a five-run 1st and an eleven-run 4th to roll past Cincinnati Dynasty 18-8 in six in the winners’ bracket semi’s. The 1st was highlighted by a Rickey Spivey rbi double, a three-run Blair Webster bomb, and a Kyle Wewe solo. Dynasty chipped away at the lead with one in the bottom of the 1st, two in the 2nd, and one in the 3rd, but Dirty Sports exploded for eleven in the 4th to seal the win. Spivey, Matt Miller and Justin Dick each contributed a two-run double for the winners as the first ten batters reached base before Dynasty could record an out. Webster and Tyler Theising each had an rbi single as Dirty Sports tacked on two in the 6th.

Webster went 4-for-4, and Andy Fraiser and Spivey had three hits each.

That pitted Dirty Sports against Usual Suspects in the winners’ bracket finals. Usual Suspects broke open an 8-3 contest with back-to-back four-run innings in the 6th and 7th to humble the eventual champions 16-4 and relegate them to the losers’ bracket.

In the losers’ bracket finals, Dirty Sports made easy work of an exhausted Thunderdome/S.S.A./365softball.com in a 16-2, five-inning rout. Thunderdome hadn’t left the field for four games before facing a fresh Dirty Sports squad. Blair Webster launched his second 1st inning slammer of the tournament to erase a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of an eight-run 1st. Later in the inning Josh Powell added a two-run single. The lead swelled to 10-2 in the 3rd on a base hit by Powell and a double by Justin Dick. Dirty Sports delivered the knockout blow with six in the 4th, including three on another Webster homer.

Webster and Matt Miller shared six hits to lead the winners.

In the rematch with Usual Suspects, the outcome of both finals wouldn’t be determined until Dirty Sports’ final at bat.

First, Dirty Sports broke a 12-12 tie with four unanswered runs in the top of the 7th to pull out a 16-12 victory. Brandon Taylor’s solo shot proved to be the game-winning hit. Shannon Louden doubled to plate a pair of insurance runs, then Josh Powell chased Louden home to close out the scoring.

Curtis Fogle and Louden combined for eight hits, and Ricky Spivey and Andy Fraiser added three each.

Usual Suspects appeared to regain their momentum in the second finals, taking an early 12-4 lead after three and a half innings. But Dirty Sports outscored Usual Suspects 12-3 over the next three innings to claim the title. Dirty Sports put up four in the bottom of the 4th to trim the deficit to four at 12-8, then, after Usual Suspects built their lead back up to six with two in the 5th, Dirty Sports answered with three to make it a three-run game. Finally in the bottom of the 6th, Curtis Fogle singled and went to 3rd on a double by Rickey Spivey, then both runners scored on Blair Webster’s double to lower the deficit to one. Tyler Theising reached on a walk, setting the table for Kyle Wewe’s huge three-run homer that gave Dirty Sports their first lead of the game at 16-14. Usual Suspects threatened in the top of the 7th with a leadoff double, but needed to waste two sac flies to plate the runner. The next batter singled to put the tying run on base, but pitcher Shannon Louden put an end to the rally by inducing the next hitter to fly out to Theising in right to end the game.

Spivey and Webster pounded out eight hits each, and Matt Miller and Curtis Fogle went 3-for-4 to power the champions.

A huge defensive play by Justin Dick and Andy Fraiser in the top of the 6th of the second finals likely saved the day for Dirty Sports, said manager Matt Miller.

“Usual Suspects had a runner on 2nd base, and they hit a ball that knuckled and got past Justin Dick in right and went all the way to the fence,” said Miller. “The base runner thought Justin was going to catch the ball and thought he was going to have to go back to 2nd to tag up. Justin got the ball at the fence, and made a great throw to Andy, and Andy threw an absolute seed to Blair (Webster) at home to get the out.

“We were almost dead in the water,” said Miller. “But instead everybody was pumped up and we came in the bottom of the 6th and took the lead. Andy’s throw to home was the play of the game. Another hit or two, and we could have been in trouble.”

Miller said his team’s 16-4 setback to Usual Suspects in the winners’ bracket finals proved to be a “gut check.

“We were on a roll, but the way we lost it, it was a gut check for our guys,” said Miller. “After that loss we had it in our heads that we wanted another shot at them, and we knocked them down.

“They put it on us pretty good in the winners’ bracket finals,” acknowledged Miller.
“They’re a really good team. They’re under the radar – a solid group of guys who stand behind each other whether they’re winning or losing. They’re not going to be an easy out for anybody.”

Miller credited Thunderdome “with a helluva run on Monday.

“If we had to play them two games earlier, it would have been a whole different game,” said Miller. “They were hitting the cover off the ball. But they ran out of gas. I’m glad we played them when we did – they were flat. But they had been putting up some runs. They put it on Tilton and some other teams. I’m just glad we were fresh. They were playing well.

“There were a lot of good local teams in the tournament and all were class acts,” concluded Miller. “Dynasty was a class act and the same thing with Thunderdome.

“It was a great tournament,” he added. “Dave (park manager Dave Maury) and those guys ran a really good tournament.”

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=1091541

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

Dirty Sports/Durbin Bowl double-dipped Usual Suspects 16-12 and 16-15 to capture first place in the “Men’s D-E” division of the 13th Annual City Slam-USSSA-Tri-State Conference National Invitational Tournament on Sunday, May 22-26 at Mid-America Ballyard.  Front row, left to right, are Kyle Wewe, Justin Dick, Sean Powell, Curtis Fogle, and Matt Miller.  In the back row are Brandon Taylor, Troy Dudley, Blair Webster, Andy Fraiser, Tom Kelly, Tyler Theising, Andy Renneker, Shannon Louden, and Ricky Spivey.  Photo courtesy of Mid-America Ballyard.

Dirty Sports/Durbin Bowl double-dipped Usual Suspects 16-12 and 16-15 to capture first place in the “Men’s D-E” division of the 13th Annual City Slam-USSSA-Tri-State Conference National Invitational Tournament on Sunday, May 22-26 at Mid-America Ballyard. Front row, left to right, are Kyle Wewe, Justin Dick, Sean Powell, Curtis Fogle, and Matt Miller. In the back row are Brandon Taylor, Troy Dudley, Blair Webster, Andy Fraiser, Tom Kelly, Tyler Theising, Andy Renneker, Shannon Louden, and Ricky Spivey. Photo courtesy of Mid-America Ballyard.

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Posted by on May 29 2014.
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