CincySoftball.com

Late Rallies Lift Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club To 87th Schutzenfest-USSSA “E” Title At Kolping Park

Mt. Healthy, Oh.—Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club rallied for fourteen runs in the top of the 6th to overcome a 7-2 deficit and went on to out-slug Dirty Dozen 16-11 in the winners’ bracket finals, then outscored Trailblazers 10-0 over the last two and a half innings to overcome an 18-12 deficit and pull out a 22-18 victory in the championship game, en route to a five game sweep of the 87th Annual Schutzenfest “E” World Qualifier July 18-20 at Kolping Park.

 

The champions were led by the clutch hitting of tournament MVP Joel Grace (.700, team rbi leader) and overall play of Brett Akins (.706).

 

Prior to knocking off Dirty Dozen and Trailblazers, Knotty Pine disposed of Playmakers/Cincy Sportswear 8-2, White Castle/S.O.P./Chic’s/S.O.C.C. 10-9, and ERA Softball 21-11.

 

Against White Castle, the number four ranked USSSA “E” team in the nation, Knotty Pine withstood a late charge, throwing out the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 7th after White Castle had scored three runs.  Then versus ERA, Knotty Pine rallied for thirteen runs in the 3rd and 4th innings to overcome a 13-9 a 9-8 deficit.

 

The title marked a sense of redemption for the winners, who had been double-dipped in their previous USSSA tournament, the City Slam, by Nasty Noles.

 

Knotty Pine left Kolping Park with $500 cash, a paid berth to the USSSA “E” World Tournament, and fifteen authentic German bier steins.

 

Knotty Pine have the option to advance to either the “E” North World September 12-14 in Sterling Heights, Mi., or the “E” East World September 25-28 in Kissimmee, Fl., or both.

 

The key to winning the tournament, said Knotty Pine player-manager Steven Mavrolas, was “we just kept batting.

 

“We were down in our last two games by a lot of runs, and we just kept coming back,” said Mavrolas.  “It was just one guy at a time having the mindset that you know we’re not going to score ten runs, so just put it on the next guy and take it one batter at a time.

 

“Also this weekend we had guys out on certain days, so whoever showed up stepped up to the best of their ability and came through for us.”

 

Knotty Pine was paced offensively by All-Tournament selections Brett Akins (.706), Joel Grace (.700), Mavrolas (.650), John Pasquale (.600), Cory Murden (.555) and Troy Lippert (.500).

 

Grace was named tournament MVP “for his knack of coming through in the clutch,” said Mavrolas.

 

“He led the team in rbi’s.  Whenever it was his at bat, he found a hole for a two-run single.  And he started the relay to throw the runner out that ended the game against White Castle.”

 

Mavrolas said that Brett Akins, who was Knotty Pine’s leading hitter, “played outstanding defense in leftfield and centerfield, as well as getting on base and starting rallies for us.”

 

Regarding his own selection, Mavrolas said that as Knotty Pine’s “leadoff guy,” he considers himself “kind of a catalyst for the team.

 

“I try to get on base and did a pretty good job,” he said.  “I get on base and put pressure on the defense.”

 

Mavrolas called John Pasquale “a typical three-hole guy.

 

“We got everything from him.  He hit line drives, knocked in runners and played a great infield for us at 2nd base.”

 

Cory Murden “was a wall” at short, said Mavrolas.

 

“Cory played shortstop for us and was a wall.  He made great plays on defense and had a lot of good, timely hits.”

 

Troy Lippert also contributed on both sides of the ball, said Mavrolas.

 

“He played a really solid middle infield for us and came through with big hits in our games against White Castle and ERA at the right time.  He was consistent with his hitting all weekend.”

 

Playmakers drew first blood with two runs in the top of the 1st in game one, but failed to score again against pitcher Derick Tabar.  Meanwhile Knotty Pine plated a run in the bottom of the 2nd to cut the lead in half, then went ahead to stay on a Kyle Atkinson two-run single in the 3rd.  Knotty Pine tacked on two in the 5th on a double by Ben Akins and another rbi single by Atkinson, and three in the 6th as Tabar singled in a pair of runs and John Pasquale added an rbi single to close out the scoring.

 

Atkinson collected three hits, and Dan Holbrook, Steve Mavrolas and Akins chipped in two apiece.

 

Knotty Pine jumped out to a 7-0 lead with one in the 1st, two in the 2nd and four in the 3rd against White Castle in game two.  Kyle Atkinson singled to provide his club with their first run in the top of the 1st, Brett Akins and Steven Mavrolas each singled home a run in the 2nd, while Joel Grace delivered a big bases-clearing double to cap off the 3rd.  White Castle answered with six in the bottom of the inning, but Knotty Pine got three of those back with rbi singles by Troy Lippert, Ben Akins and Dan Holbrook in the 4th.  Neither team scored again until the bottom of the 7th, when White Castle plated three runs to make it a one-run game.  Then, with a runner on 1st and two outs, the next batter banged one off the right field fence.  Joel Grace fielded the ball, rifled it to 2nd baseman John Pasquale, who relayed it to catcher Kyle Atkinson at home where Atkinson slapped the tag on the White Castle runner to preserve the win.

 

Ben Akins, Holbrook and Grace were all perfect in three trips to the plate to pace the offense.

 

Next Knotty Pine erupted for five runs in the top of the 3rd and eight in the 4th to overcome a 9-8 deficit and went on to mercy-rule ERA Softball 21-11 in five.  Joel Grace had a two-run single to put his club on top for good at 10-9 in the 3rd.  Brett Akins followed with a big rbi double.  Then in the 4th, Cory Murden, Akins and John Pasquale each doubled in two runs to account for six of their team’s eight runs.

 

Troy Lippert, Dan Holbrook, Eric Engel, Murden and Brett Akins combined for fifteen hits.

 

That lifted Knotty Pine into the winners’ bracket finals, where Dirty Dozen was poised to drop Knotty Pine into the losers’ bracket as they held a 7-2 lead heading into the top of the 6th.  But there the wheels fell off the wagon, as Knotty Pine exploded for fourteen runs to take a commanding 16-7 advantage.  The inning featured two-run singles by John Pasquale and Steven Mavrolas, two-run doubles by Dan Holbrook and Cory Murden, and a bases-clearing triple by Ben Akins.

 

Pasquale banged out four hits, and Mavroles and Eric Engel each went 3-for-4.

 

Dirty Dozen fell again in the losers’ bracket finals, as the Trailblazers squeezed out a 14-13 victory to earn a berth in the championship game.  And at first, the ‘Blazers appeared up for the challenge, as they jumped out to a 15-2 lead after an inning and a half, then held an 18-12 advantage after three and a half.  But Knotty Pine scored ten unanswered runs over the next three innings to pull out a 22-18 victory and claim the title.

 

After trimming the lead down to 18-15 with three runs in the bottom of the 4th, Knotty Pine used a seven-run outburst in the 6th to seal the win.  Joel Grace’s two-run single put his team ahead for good at 19-18.  Ben Akins followed with an rbi single, then Steven Mavrolas singled home two runs to cap off the inning.   Meanwhile pitcher Ryan Kist, who had come into the game in the 5th after the Trailblazers had built an 18-12 lead, held the Trailblazers scoreless over the final three innings to preserve the win.

 

Mavrolas pounded out four hits, and Derick Tabar, Kyle Atkinson, Cory Murden, Grace and Brett Akins shared fifteen hits to power the champions.

 

Mavrolas said his team “started off really slow” in the finals.

 

“We couldn’t get anything going.  They were hitting the ball well.  We took our lumps and waited for our turn to get to the plate.

 

“We want to congratulate the Trailblazers,” said Mavrolas.  “They made a great run in the losers’ bracket.  They made that last game tough on us, but the bounces started going our way and we were finding the holes.

 

“It’s just a tribute to our guys that we were down 15-2 and didn’t get our heads down,” added Mavrolas.  “We just kept our heads up and started clawing back.”

 

The pivotal game of the tournament, said Mavrolas, was against nationally-ranked White Castle.

 

“It was a nail-biter,” said Mavrolas.  “We ended the game by throwing a guy out at the plate.  That gave us some momentum the next morning against ERA.  We’re not that great of a morning team, and that gave us the mindset that we can win this – especially after we got double-dipped in the City Slam.

 

“We want to thank our sponsor, Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club, and Tom Stine (Kolping Park manager) for a great tournament,” concluded Mavrolas.  “And we love our bier steins.”

 

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=1109330

 

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

Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club out-slugged Trailblazers 22-18 in the championship game to complete a five game sweep of the 87th Annual Schutzenfest “E” World Qualifier July 18-20 at Kolping Park.  Kneeling, left to right, are Dan Kemen, Paul Kroger, John Pasquale, Joel Grace, Cory Murden, Dan Holbrook, and Brett Akins.  Standing are Ryan Kist, Eric Engel, Ben Akins, Kyle Atkinson, Steven Mavrolas, Derick Tabar, Troy Lippert, and Tyler Haller.  Photo courtesy of Kolping Park.

Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club out-slugged Trailblazers 22-18 in the championship game to complete a five game sweep of the 87th Annual Schutzenfest “E” World Qualifier July 18-20 at Kolping Park.  Kneeling, left to right, are Dan Kemen, Paul Kroger, John Pasquale, Joel Grace, Cory Murden, Dan Holbrook, and Brett Akins.  Standing are Ryan Kist, Eric Engel, Ben Akins, Kyle Atkinson, Steven Mavrolas, Derick Tabar, Troy Lippert, and Tyler Haller.  Photo courtesy of Kolping Park.

Share

Short URL: http://www.cincysoftball.com/?p=9625

Posted by on Jul 22 2014.
Filed under All, Headlines, Kolping Park News, picture, USSSA News.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.
Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

This article has had:  2,352 views

Comments are closed

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes