Columbus, OH 10/12/2013
It was the final tournament of the 2013 season for the Street Kids/Wildman/KoteIt/CSA softball team, and there were a lot of high hopes coming into the GSL World Series that SKS would end the season with their second straight GSL World title. They had just won the CSA World Series in Seymour last month and were hoping with a full team, they could pull off the repeat quest.SKS opened the GSL World Series against a strong Rochester Athletic Club from New York, who came out strong and led the Kids by about 10 runs half way through, but a 14-run inning by Street Kids was the difference. Street Kids won the game, 23-16. Up next for SKS was a rematch against Tailgaters/Boys, the team Street Kids double dipped last season in the GSL World Series final. SKS was red hot that night, but not this time around as Tailgaters came out extremely hot and crushed SKS, 26-10. SKS moved into the losers bracket and faced Elk and Elk. This was a close game both ways and heading into the top of the seventh, SKS and Elk were tied at 12. But Jeremy Hochstetler led off with a double and one out later Leland Schmucker doubled in the go ahead run. After the second out, Kevin Lewandowski homered to right to give the Kids a three run lead. Elk scored one run in the bottom of the seventh but that was all, as SKS eliminated Elk and Elk and moved on, 15-13. SKS was now in the final four for the 16th time in 18 tournaments in 2013, and for the 15th straight tournament. They were facing Rochester Athletic Club again, but this time Rochester was too much for SKS. RAC hit it where they wanted any time they wanted, and it would be more than enough as SKS would fall to Rochester, losing 24-16. "We didn't play well today, plain and simple," said TJ Jorgensen, coaching in his final tournament of his career. "We just couldn't string hits together enough to score enough runs. Defense wasn't bad, but our offense just wasn't there." As a team, SKS batted a mere .539 with only one real standout being Kevin Lewandowksi, who batted .714 to lead the team. Even with Lewandowski's good tourney, the Kids haven't played this bad all season, and it showed. But despite the fourth place finish, this season was still another great one by the Street Kids team. They won 10 tournaments, including their third straight ASA "B" state title, a CSA world title, the Flag Day title, and the XKE title in Fort Wayne. They played in 18 tournaments in 2013, and reached the finals 13 times. "These past three years was probably the best and most exciting years of my softball career," said outfielder Fred Schmucker. "It wasn't just that we knew we had a chance to win every weekend, but we were all close, and had a unity to our team. You can have a team full of superstars, but if you don't get a long and play well as a team, you won't succeed. And we had a close team these past three years." Since the beginning of the 2011 season, SKS amounted a tourney record of 235-57, a remarkable winning percentage of .805. They won 32 tournaments, including three state titles and two world titles. Out of 61 tournaments over that span, they reached the finals a remarkable 47 times, meaning every time SKS walked up to the fields at a tournament - whether it was a festival or a super world championship - SKS had a 77% chance of reaching the finals. "What can you say about this team that hasn't already been said," former MVP Joe Horvath said. "Its been an amazing ride over the past three years. We built a team that became a family and everyone did their jobs and knew the guy behind them would pick him up if you struggled." Former MVP Jay Jeffery agreed. "The last three years have been the best years of my life in softball," the Elkhart native said. "Its made me appreciate what this game can give back to you. I never take it for granted. I work my ass off for this team and my teammates - win or lose, play good or bad. It been a cool ride, but its far from over. We will build on these numbers for years to come." After playing and managing this team to one of the most respectable and dominating teams in competitive softball, manager TJ Jorgensen is stepping down. "I have spent 17 years with the Street Kids organization, taking it from a local league team to one of the most prominent tournament teams in the region," added Jorgensen. "But if you would have told me after what happened in 2010 just before the ASA Nationals, when we decided to tear the team apart from 18 guys down to 11, that we would go on a run of 32 tourney wins over the next three years, I would laugh at you. This has been an amazing run by some amazing people." Jorgensen is stepping down from competitive softball to spend more time with family and less time in hotels. "I'll still be around, just behind the scenes. Terry Patesel and JR Shapiro will be handling things on the field from now on and I have the utmost confidence in them. JR has been my right hand man for the last eight years and people have no idea how much JR really knows this game. He is an amazing manager. Terry's long resume of winning at almost every level and respect he has earn from players all over will prove to be a useful tool in 2014. I am excited for what this team can do on the field next year." To see all the pictures from the GSL World Series, visit the SKS Facebook page or click here. To all of our sponsors in 2013, we want to say thank you. Without your support, we could not have made this season - or any season - possible. Those awesome sponsors include: Tilted Kilt of Granger
Home Comfort Experts
TJ21 Media Group
Center Street Pub
Aunt Lindas Embroidery
Xtreme Mobile Detailing Stay tuned for the post season awards announcements, in the weeks to come! Remember, the NSA Indiana Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for November 2nd at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. Joe Horvath and Matt Sheehan are both being inducted. To reserve your spot, please contact Mike Hagy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the past several tournaments, the batting race has heated up, with several players within a mere percentage points for the batting title. In the end, it was Newell Phebus who pulled it out, winning the offensive player of the year award, given to the player who leads the team in hitting (on base percentage). Phebus finished at .706, with Fred Schmucker (who led coming into the last tournament) second at .697, Jeremy Hochstetler at .696 and Joe Horvath at .693. Horvath led the team with 61 home runs and 176 RBI's.