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Nasty Noles Double-Dip Knotty Pine, 16-15 And 5-3, In 13th City Slam-USSSA-“E” Finals At Mid-America

Colerain Township, Oh.—Nasty Noles double-dipped Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club 16-15 and 5-3 to capture first place in the Men’s “E” Division of the 13th Annual USSSA City Slam May 31-June 1 at Mid-America Ballyard.

 

Knotty Pine had mercy-ruled the Noles 13-3 in five innings in the winners’ bracket finals, forcing the Noles to rally past Young Guns 17-6 in the losers’ bracket finals and take two from Knotty Pine in the finals.

 

Previously Nasty Noles had mowed down Wellman Construction 22-7, Renegade Softball 8-3, The Tribe/Underground Detectives 15-4, and Trailblazers 14-4 to reach the winners’ bracket finals, where they fell hard to Knotty Pine.

 

Nasty Noles’ final three contests featured plenty of drama.  First they rallied for thirteen runs in their final two at bats to overcome a 6-4 deficit and rout Young Guns 17-6 in the losers’ bracket finals.  Then they outlasted Knotty Pine 16-15 in an eleven inning first finals before fending off their challengers 5-3 in the championship game.

 

The champions outscored their opponents by a 117-55 margin en route to the title, mercy-ruling three of their eight victims.

 

The Noles pocketed $3,425 in cash and a paid berth to the USSSA “E” World Tournament September 12-14 in Sterling Heights, Mi.  An unpaid World berth passed down to Knotty Pine.  Knotty Pine can advance either to Sterling Heights or Kissimmee, Fl. on September 25-28.

 

The key to winning the tournament, said team spokesman Brent Lessley, was “being able to utilize every single player on our roster.

 

“If somebody who wasn’t a starter was ready to go in and pinch-run or get a big hit, they supported the team and kept everybody pumped up,” said Lessley.  “I don’t think we could have won this tournament without every single player on our roster.”

 

Brian Warken (.815) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

 

“I’ve never seen anybody hit like him,” said Lessley.  “Even the outs he made were hit hard.  He just pounded the ball.  He was definitely our best hitter in this tournament.  And he was lock down at 3rd base.  He didn’t make one error all weekend.”

 

Joining Warken on the All-Tournament team were Derek Martin (.571), Zach Nelson (.524), Jeff Minks and Roger Riley.

 

“Derek was lock down in right field,” said Lessley.  “Not a single ball got by him, and he made five or six catches and had three or four assists from the outfield and threw two guys out at the plate.  And he hit the ball phenomenally all day, especially with guys on base.”

 

Lessley said that Nelson “is normally one of our best hitters, but he struggled throughout the tournament.

 

“But when we needed him the most, he had so many two-out rbi’s.  He single-handedly kept us in some of our games.”

 

Jeff Minks “also came through big time with guys on base and two outs,” said Lessley.

 

“He had a lot of big two-out rbi’s.  But he had a lot of tough breaks this tournament.  He would have hit .700 or .800 if he wasn’t hitting the ball right at people.”

 

Riley, Nasty Noles’ “main pitcher,” “couldn’t make it on Saturday, but came out on Sunday and stepped in the last three games and pitched extremely well for us.  He came in and shut down the last three teams we faced.  He was phenomenal.”

 

Lessley said the Noles “used three different pitchers, and all three were phenomenal.

 

“Our centerfielder, Tyler Kincaid, pitched all day on Saturday, and the most runs he gave up was seven to Wellman Construction.

 

“He did a great job of keeping hitters off-balance and he walked very few batters,” said Lessley.  “There were no free runs off him.”

 

Brandon Zembrodt came in on Sunday “and did a very good job as well.

 

“He pitched our first two games against Trailblazers and Young Guns,” said Lessley.  “Trailblazers only scored four runs and Young Guns only scored five.  He also played good defense and didn’t walk many batters.”

 

Zembrodt struggled against Knotty Pine in the winners’ bracket finals, largely due to poor defensive support from the Noles, said Lessley.  But Riley took over the in the final three games and pitched the Noles to the title.

 

“Brandon started the game off against Knotty Pine, and we made a few errors behind him and gave up seven or eight runs,” said Lessley.  “So we switched to Roger and from there on out in the 5th inning versus Knotty Pine he was shut down.  You couldn’t ask for anything more.  He pitched his butt off.”

 

Other hitting leaders for the champions included Tyler Kincaid (.667), Lessley (.640) and Rob Koors (.529).

 

Nasty Noles’ offense was sluggish for the first three innings of game one, as they fell behind Wellman Construction 7-1 after three.  But the Noles exploded for twenty-two runs over the next two innings to mercy-rule Wellman 22-7.  In an eleven-run 4th, Jake Robinson’s two-run single put his team ahead for good at 8-7.  Tyler Kinkaid had a two-run double to cap off the inning.  The 5th featured a two-run double by Brent Lessley, a bases-clearing triple by Robinson and a two-run single by Kincaid.

 

Ryan Mullen and Robinson banged out four hits each, and Derek Martin added three hits to pace the offense.

 

The Noles took a 4-0 lead over Renegade Softball in the bottom of the 2nd in game two with back-to-back rbi doubles by Griffin Lessley and Rob Koors igniting the scoring.  The Renegades trimmed the deficit to one with three in the top of the 4th, but the Noles pulled away with one in the 5th on an rbi double by Chad Ford, and three in the 6th on Brent Lessley’s rbi double and a two-run double by Rob Koors to make the final 8-3.

 

Lessley and Tyler Kincaid were both perfect in three trips to the plate.

 

Next the Noles broke open a 4-4 contest with five in the bottom of the 2nd and five in the 3rd on their way to a five-inning 15-4 spanking of The Tribe.  An rbi double by Chad Ford put his club on top to stay at 5-4.  Brent Lessley capped off the 2nd with a two-run double and the 3rd with a two-run single.  Tyler Kincaid, Ryan Mullen, Brian Warken and Lessley shared a dozen hits for the winners.

 

The Noles used a ten-run outburst in the bottom of the 4th to erase a 4-3 deficit and roll to a 14-4, five-inning spanking of Trailblazers in game four.  Two-run singles by Ryan Mullen and Jeff Minks and a two-run double by Brent Lessley accounted for six of their team’s ten runs.

 

Mullen, who also had a walk-off single in the bottom of the 5th, went 3-for-3 along with Brian Warken.

 

Game five saw the Noles rally for four runs in the bottom of the 6th to outlast Young Guns 9-5.  Jeff Minks’ had a base hit to knock in the go ahead run.  Rob Koors, who delivered an rbi triple later in the inning, collected four hits, while Zach Nelson and Lessley added three apiece.

 

That proved to be the end of Nasty Noles’ run through the winners’ bracket, as Knotty Pine sent the eventual champions reeling 13-3 in the winners’ bracket finals.

 

The Noles found themselves on the brink of elimination in the losers’ bracket finals, where they trailed the Young Guns 6-4 through five.  But the Kentucky club scored thirteen unanswered runs with four in the 6th and nine in the 7th to send the Young Guns packing, 17-6.  Rob Koors had a two-run triple to put the Noles ahead 8-6 in the 6th.  Back-to-back rbi doubles by Brian Warken and Brent Lessley highlighted the 7th.

 

Koors laced out four hits, and Zach Nelson and Lessley chipped in three each to fuel the offense.

 

The first finals proved to be the most exciting game of the tournament, as Nasty Noles outlasted Knotty Pine 16-15 to avenge their setback in the winners’ bracket finals.  Three times over the final five innings the Noles took the lead, but could not shake a determined Knotty Pine club, who matched the Noles run-for-run.  The Noles went up 12-10 in the top of the 7th on an rbi single by Griffin Lessley and a Rob Koors’ double, but Knotty Pine answered with two of their own to send the game into extra innings.  Ryan Mullen and Brent Lessley both singled in a run in the top of the 8th, only to have Knotty Pine match that in the home half of the inning.  Jake Robinson then gave the Noles a short-lived 15-14 lead in the 9th, but Knotty Pine tallied again in the bottom of the inning.  Finally, after both teams put up goose eggs in the 10th, Ryan Mullen had a leadoff single in the 11th, went to 2nd on Brian Warken’s fly ball, then scored the eventual game winner on a Zach Nelson double.  The contest ended on a dramatic, diving catch by Griffin Lessley in left on a looper over the infield with the tying run on 1st.

 

Warken pounded out four hits, and Nelson and Derek Martin each went 3-for-5 to power the winners.

 

The Noles never trailed in the finals, moving out to a 4-0 lead with single runs in the 1st and 2nd, and two in the 3rd, before Knotty Pine got on the board with three in the 4th.  But pitcher Roger Riley held Knotty Pine at bay over the final three innings, and the Noles tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th to make the final 5-3.  Brian Warken’s rbi single drew first blood in the bottom of the 1st.  Riley helped his cause with a base hit in the 2nd.  The 3rd was highlighted by a Zach Nelson rbi double and a Jeff Minks run-scoring single.  Nelson picked up another rbi with a sac fly in the 6th.

 

Warken collected three hits for the champions, while Lessley, Riley and Derek Martin combined for six.

 

Nasty Noles’ Brent Lessley called his team’s 16-15 victory over Knotty Pine “easily the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of.

 

“Every time we took the lead, they came back and tied it up.  It was like that from the 5th inning on,” said Lessley.  “Our guys have been in that position (double finals) at least five times this year, and I think our guys were hungry and wanted to grind it out and force an ‘if’ game.  And I give credit to every single one of our guys for fighting back and pulling out a victory.”

 

Lessley said that the momentum from that game helped carry Nasty Noles past Knotty Pine in the second finals.

 

“That game was close, and both teams were fatigued,” said Lessley.  “But that eleven inning game gave us just enough of a boost to beat Knotty Pine.

 

“Also winning that game on the big diving catch by Griffin (Lessley) helped give us the momentum going into the ‘if’ game, and we locked down on defense and didn’t look back,” added Lessley.

 

“I want to give credit to Knotty Pine,” he continued.  “They’re an extremely talented team that hit the ball well from top to bottom.  I think, speaking for our team, we all look forward to playing them again in some tough games in the future.

 

“I just want to say how proud I am of my team for fighting all day and making it all the way through the winners’ bracket,” concluded Lessley.  “After losing like that and then being able to bounce back from getting run-ruled in the winners’ bracket finals, that shows the type of team that we are.”

 

 

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=1091544

 

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

Nasty Noles double-dipped Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club 16-15 and 5-3 to capture first place in the Men’s “E” Division of the 13th Annual USSSA City Slam May 31-June 1 at Mid-America Ballyard.  Front row, left to right, are Derek Martin, Brandon Zembrodt, Tyler Kincaid, John Collins and Rob Koors.  In the back row are Zack Nelson, Josh Zembrodt, Chad Ford, Jeff Minks, Jake Robinson, Brent Lessley, Ryan Mullen, Griffin Lessley, Nick Wehrman, Roger Riley and Brian Warken. Photo courtesy of Mid-America Ballyard.

Nasty Noles double-dipped Knotty Pine Sportsman’s Club 16-15 and 5-3 to capture first place in the Men’s “E” Division of the 13th Annual USSSA City Slam May 31-June 1 at Mid-America Ballyard.  Front row, left to right, are Derek Martin, Brandon Zembrodt, Tyler Kincaid, John Collins and Rob Koors.  In the back row are Zack Nelson, Josh Zembrodt, Chad Ford, Jeff Minks, Jake Robinson, Brent Lessley, Ryan Mullen, Griffin Lessley, Nick Wehrman, Roger Riley and Brian Warken. Photo courtesy of Mid-America Ballyard.

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Posted by on Jun 5 2014.
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