May 25, 2013
Street Kids/Wildman took part in the annual Berto Memorial tourney, an event that this year was tied to the Worth Power Series tour in Elkhart. Tourney director Ed Bellows was all for tying in Berto's name to this event and worked with SKS player Jay Jeffery to make it an awesome weekend, kicking off with a 34-man home run derby on Friday night. Jeffery went a perfect 9-for-10 in the derby and won the event in Berto's honor.
The tourney kicked off on Saturday morning with SKS taking to the field against a very good young Synergy team from Topeka. Synergy, who will be playing Class B in ASA this year, gave the Kids a great game, and led most of the way before SKS came back and won it, 14-11. Terry Patesel and Nick Bishop led the way with four hits each.
The second game featured SKS and Regions/Simeri's. Both teams scored runs early but in the end, it would be SKS coming out on top, 18-14. Joe Horvath led the way with four hits including three home runs.
The Kids had to wait several hours before the championship but in the end it was the two best teams there, Cedar Creek and Street Kids. Cedar, who is led by one of Berto's close friends and former SKS tourney player of the year, Mark Hershberger, came out strong, scoring seven runs in the first. Street Kids answered back with six of their own in the bottom of the first. The game would go back and forth like this all the way and heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Kids trailed by one run, 25-24. With no home runs left to hit, they would have to play small ball. Scott Martin led off with a walk and pitcher Chad Marchand singled up the middle moving the tying run into scoring position. Joe Peelle came up next with a huge game tying double to the gap in left, which moved the potential winning run to third base. With no one out, Cedar Creek intentionally walked Terry Patesel to load the bases and hope for a ground ball or infield pop up. But that would not be the case as Nick Bishop remained red hot as he singled for his fifth hit of the game, driving in Marchand to win the game and the tournament, 26-25.
"I felt good at the plate all day and it was nice to win today for Berto and doing it in front of his mom," said Bishop, who batted second in the lineup today with all four Amish (Hochstetler, Miller, Leland and Fred Schmucker) gone for the day.
Bishop (.857) and Jay Jeffery (.846) were named co-MVP's of the tourney. It meant a lot to Jeffery, who was very close to Berto.
"On behalf of all of us that were close to Berto, including Hersh, I want to thank everyone for coming out today and being part of this," Jeffery said to both teams on the mound following the game. "This means a lot to all of us, and it means a lot to Berto's mom who stood here all day watching."
Following Jay's comments, both teams threw their arms in the middle and gave a loud "1..2..3.. BERTO!" chant that had to make Berto's mom feel overjoyed.
"It means so much to me to see all of these guys come out and help keep Berto's memory alive," Berto's mom said after the tourney, giving hugs to several players.
In the end, its not about softball but the lives we share off the field. I said it four years ago when we lost Berto: softball is a fraternity, a brotherhood. We lost one of our own a few years back and when something like that happens, you don't think about the competition, the rough plays at the plate or balls hit up the middle. Its about family. And in the game of softball, win or lose, we are all family.
Click here to view pictures from the event in Elkhart.