June 17, 2012
The bid for a third consecutive Flag Day title was crushed on Sunday in Three Oaks, Michigan at the hands of the team who ended up winning six straight in the losers bracket to win it all.
Region Softball beat Street Kids on Sunday afternoon 23-17 to send SKS home and afterward, Region went on to beat Floors, Featherbone and Honey Badgers twice to take home the crown. It was the worst finish ever (tied for 5th) at Flag Day for SKS, who had won the title the last two years and three of the last five years. Their previous worst finish was in 2009 when they finished third.
The Kids (41-9 in tournament play; 59-11 overall) won the opener on Friday night after a slow start, beating Hybrids 31-19. They were then pitted against a Floors team Saturday morning that featured four former SKS players, all who have won a Flag Day title with SKS at some point in the last five years. Floors used a big 13-run fifth inning to put SKS away 26-15 and send them to the losers bracket.
After a long delay, that ended up stretching all the way til Sunday afternoon, where they played EMS from Plymouth. Along the way, they picked up a forfeit win over Bran Roofing, and made quick work of an over matched EMS squad, winning 20-5.
In the next game, it was Region and SKS. Region just came off a loss to Honey Badgers and now both teams were fighting to stay alive in the losers bracket. The winner would go on to play Floors, who lost to Featherbone on Saturday. This one would stay close early, then Region would break it open later, as Garrett Curless took advantage of the designated home run hitter rule connecting for some late fireworks. Eventually, Region would head to the top of the seventh with a nine run lead. SKS mustered three runs but that would be it, as they fell to Regions, 23-17.
Region went on to beat Floors, Featherbone and then double dipping Honey Badgers in the finals to win their first team Flag Day title. It was the second straight win for former SKS pitcher Steve Schroeder, who is the pitcher for Region this season.
"I love pitching GSL/USSSA," the veteran pitcher said via Facebook. "It allows the pitcher to have a little control in the game. I am really proud of our guys. We had a long, hot day and we just kept fighting and everybody had a good attitude."
The struggles continued for SKS, who are in the middle of three straight tournaments without a break. Last weekend in Indianapolis, the Kids struggled at the NSA NIT, going 1-2 and they head to Ohio this coming weekend for the biggest tournament of the season in the GSL King of the Hill unsure of what could happen.
"There are no excuses, we've just struggled lately," TJ Jorgensen said. "We aren't going to be right on every weekend but one thing I promise you we will do is keep working as hard as we can to get better. Every guy on this team is doing his best to help. We'll be fine when it counts most."