Norwalk Local 42 Outlasts Columbus 13-3 In 39th Annual U. A. “C” Division Finals At Expressway Park
Milford, Oh.—In an all-Ohio finals, Norwalk Local 42 rallied from a 24-20 spanking in the first championship game to mercy rule Columbus Local 189 13-3 in the second finals and capture first place in the class “C” division of the 39th Annual United Association National Tournament June 24-26 at Expressway Park.
The victory wrapped up a 5-1 weekend for the champions, who had previously mowed down Ontario Local 67 16-6, Dayton 162 12-9, Columbus 13-10, and Detroit 636 12-2 in the winners’ bracket finals.
Local 42 outscored their opponents by an 86-54 margin en route to the title, outlasting a fourteen-team field.
Norwalk manager John Brumby credited his team’s success to some off-season recruiting and the play of tournament MVP Shane Spoerr.
“This was our second year down there,” said Brumby. “Last year was our first year of playing ball. We brought a team down and didn’t do so well. We played and nobody even knew where we were from. We went 0-2 and were out of the tournament.
“But this year I recruited some guys who were playing ball,” explained Brumby. “As soon as everybody found out we wanted to have a team to represent our local union, everybody jumped on the opportunity. They came to me and asked me to play.”
Brumby called tournament MVP Shane Spoerr, Local 42’s pitcher, “our main player.
“His participation on the field and his leadership in the dugout were keys. He never gave up. In the second game against Columbus on Sunday, he changed his pitching style dramatically when we needed it most, and everything was hit in the infield and we ten-run ruled them. He didn’t give up any home runs either.
“He turned it up a notch when we needed it the most, and that’s why we gave him the MVP award,” said Brumby.
Hitting leaders for the tournament included Nate Spoerr, Matt Porter, Kyle Pelham and Manny Gonzalez.
Nate was “solid all tournament,” said Brumby, and Matt Porter “was solid all the way through the tournament offensively and defensively.
“Anytime we needed a hit, Matt got it, and on defense, he turned a lot of double plays at 2nd base,” said Brumby. “Also our shortstop, Kyle Pelham, was hot all weekend. And Manny went 13-for-20 (.650).”
Gonzalez sustained an untimely and nearly devastating injury in the first championship game, noted Brumby.
“He got hurt on a diving play at 3rd base against Columbus and we had to move him to catcher,” explained Brumby. “That helped Columbus to rally in the first game. Fortunately he was able to come back and play 3rd in the second finals, even though he had to play hurt.”
Brumby also acknowledged a special sacrifice Vince Lewis made for the team.
“He missed his son’s fifth birthday to be present at the championship game,” said Brumby.”
Brumby said his team was “pumped up from the very first game – it was USA vs. Canada.”
Porter and Pehlham shared ten hits as Norwalk mercy-ruled Ontario Local 67 16-6. Pelham collected five more hits, and Porter added four as Local 42 eased past Dayton 162 12-9 in game two. Pelham banged out four more hits, and Porter and Shane Spoerr each went 3-for-4 as Norwalk rolled past Columbus 13-10. Then Porter and Pelham combined for a dozen hits, and Kyle Gilbert chipped in with three – including a home run – as Local 42 polished off Detroit 636 in the winners’ bracket finals.
Sunday morning, however, Norwalk got a quick wake-up call from Columbus, who shelled pitcher Shane Spoerr with 24 runs and outslugged Local 42 24-20.
“We won two games on Friday, and two on Saturday, so going into Sunday morning we were undefeated,” observed Brumby. “We lost 24-20, but my boys finally woke up and we rolled, scoring a lot or runs with two outs.”
In the second finals, Shane Spoerr and Matt Porter got their club on the board with back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 1st. A single by Kyle Gilbert made it 3-0. Norwalk tacked on one in the 2nd and two in the 3rd, but Columbus cut the deficit in half with three in the top of the 4th. Local 42 got two back in the bottom of the 4th, then invoked the mercy-rule with five in the bottom of the 5th. John Brumby Jr. tripled in the first two runs, then Nate Spoerr followed with a bases-clearing triple to bring down the curtain.
Spoerr and Matt Porter pounded out six hits each, Kyle Pelham went 5-for-6, and Shane Spoerr chipped in with a 4-6 effort to power the champions.
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