Defense Carries Loose Cannons/ Planet Fitness Past ASA Cincinnati Metro “E” Field At Mid-America
Crosby Township, Oh.—Loose Cannons/Planet Fitness held six opponents to only thirty runs en route to a first place finish in the Men’s Class “E” Division of the ASA Cincinnati Metro Tournament July 27-August 3 at River City West.
Loose Cannons polished off The Classics 13-3 in the championship game to complete the sweep of the 42-team event.
Prior to that the champions mowed down Hang Loose 15-5 in five, Schultz Brothers Plumbing 7-5, Holmes Blacktop/Duebbers 13-8, 88 MPH 15-5 in six, and the Classics 10-4 in the winners’ bracket finals.
Loose Cannons/Planet Fitness only had two close calls in the tournament, needing late inning, come-from-behind rallies to get past Schultz Brothers 7-5 and Holmes Blacktop 13-8. The winners overcame a 5-4 deficit with three runs in the top of the 6th against Schultz, taking the lead on a two-run double by Adam Schultz. Then against Holmes Blacktop, Loose Cannons scored seven unanswered runs in the 5th and 6th to erase an 8-6 deficit. Kurt Grimmmeissen singled in two runs to knot the score at 8-8 in the top of the 5th, then Chris Colweck followed with a two-run double to lift the Cannons into the lead.
Loose Cannons mercy-ruled three of their six opponents en route to the title, and outscored their opponents by a combined 73-30 margin.
Solid defense carried the champions to the title, said Loose Cannons manager Scott Gorsler.
“The biggest key was defense, because the most runs we let up was eight,” said Gorsler. “We outscored our opponents 73-30.”
Another key, said Gorsler, was that “going into the tournament, we were playing with a chip on our shoulder because we finished 5th last year.”
Another factor, Gorsler said, was the vocal leadership provided by Adam Stephens and Rob Gorsler.
“They were our pinch-runners the whole tournament and they were the loudest ones on the team as far as boosting our morale. Our pinch-runners scored thirteen times for Jimmy Clark. Rob was originally part of the outfield but he pinch-ran because we needed somebody to pinch-run.
“Every inning Adam and Rob were getting everybody pumped up,” said Gorsler.
Kurt Grimmeissen (.619) was named tournament MVP.
“He probably had the most clutch hits for us and actually robbed three home runs during the tournament in leftfield,” said Gorsler.
Joining Grimmeissen on the All-Tournament team were Zac Strobl (.739), Mark Hildebrand (.619), Adam Stephens (.619) and Jake Powell (.541).
“Zac had the highest batting average on the team,” said Gorsler. “And Mark had three home runs in the tournament and his defense was also very good. He only had one or two errors in all six games he played at short and 2nd.
“Adam Stephens did surprisingly well with his average,” continued Gorsler. “He really came in just because he was sponsoring the team and we all knew him, and he actually finished tied for 3rd on the team. And Jake was named because of his defense in left-centerfield and his batting average was fifth. But his hits were clutch hits and his defense was stellar.”
Mark Humbel chipped in with a .652 effort.
Loose Cannons put up six run in the top of the 1st, two in the 2nd and 3rd, and three in the 4th to take a commanding 13-2 lead and never looked back in a 15-5, five-inning rout of Hang Loose in game one. Hang Loose began digging their own grave in the 1st, walking five straight batters. Mark Humbel and Kurt Grimmeissen each drew a base-on-balls to pick up the first two rbi’s. Scott Gorsler followed with a two-run double and Mark Hildebrand capped off the inning with a two-run single. An rbi double by Jake Powell was the big blow in the 2nd, while Jimmy Clark doubled in both runs in the 3rd. The 4th featured a two-run single by Zac Strobl.
Justin Flynn was perfect in four trips to the plate and scored four runs. Grimmeissen and Powell added three hits each.
Next Loose Cannons needed three runs in the top of the 6th to erase a 5-4 deficit and pull out a 7-5 victory over Schultz Brothers in game two. Adam Stephens’ two-run double put his team ahead for good at 6-5. Jimmy Clark then singled in an insurance run.
Mark Hildebrand had three hits and Stephens added two.
Loose Cannons used another late rally to get past Holmes Blacktop in game three. With their team trailing 8-6 through four, Kurt Grimmeissen delivered a two-run single in the top of the 5th to tie the game, then Chris Colweck followed with a clutch two-run double to put the Cannons on top 10-6. Then in the 6th Mark Humbel doubled in two runs and scored on a Grimmeissen single. Both teams put up goose eggs in the 7th to make the final 13-8.
Humbel and Zac Strobl collected four hits each, and Scott Gorsler went 3-for-4.
Loose Cannons jumped out to a 12-1 with six in the 1st, four in the 2nd and two in the 3rd and went on to roll past 88 MPH 15-5 in six innings in game four. Zac Strobl launched a three-run bomb to put his club on the board in the top of the 1st. Adam Stephens added a two-run double. A bases-clearing triple by Mark Hildebrand was the big blow in the 2nd. Zac Strobl picked up his fifth rbi of the game with a base hit in the 3rd, and Mark Humble doubled to chase Strobl home. Jake Powell had an rbi double in the 5th, and Stephens and Jimmy Clark both singled in a run as the lead swelled to 15-3 in the 6th.
Powell pounded out four hits, and Strobl, Justin Flynn, Hildebrand, Stephens, Kurt Grimmeissen and Humbel each went 3-for-4 to pace the offense.
Loose Cannons erupted for six runs in the bottom of the 1st, then tacked on two in the 3rd and two in the 6th to get past The Classics 10-4 in the winners’ bracket finals. In the 1st, Mark Humbel had a two-run double to tie the game, then Kurt Grimmeissen singled in Humbel to put his club on top to stay at 3-2. Adam Stephens followed with a two-run double, and Chris Colweck an rbi single. Mark Hildebrand cracked a two-run homer to produce the Cannons’ two runs in the 3rd, and Grimmeissen and Scott Gorsler had rbi singles in the 6th.
Grimmeissen and Humbel shared six hits for the winners.
The Classics fared no better in the finals, as Loose Cannons took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd, added four in the 3rd, then invoked the mercy-rule with seven in the 5th. Zac Strobl got the scoring underway with a two-run single in the 1st. Mark Hildebrand had a solo shot in the 3rd and Chris Colweck capped off the inning with an rbi double. The 7th was highlighted by a Jake Powell rbi double and a two-run single by Scott Gorsler. Jimmy Clark had a walk-off single to end the game.
Gorsler and Clark combined for six hits to power the champions.
“We came out flat in the beginning of the game,” commented manager Scott Gorsler regarding the championship game. “Then in the 5th inning we put up seven runs. That was everyone getting single after single until we realized that the winning run was on 3rd.
A huge defensive play by Kurt Grimmeisen in left helped Loose Cannons escape Schultz Brothers in game four, said Gorsler
“That game was probably our biggest offensive struggle of the tournament,” said Gorsler. “Fortunately in the bottom of the 7th with two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Kurt made a diving play to save the game.”
Gorsler concluded by thanking his players and sponsor Planet Fitness.
“I want to thank everyone for how excellent everyone did,” said Gorsler. “It was the loudest I’ve heard our team in a while. Also a big thanks to Planet Fitness for sponsoring us in the tournament.”
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