June 24, 2012
The Street Kids/Mojo softball team traveled to Oberlin, Ohio this weekend for the 45-team GSL King of the Hill tournament with hopes of getting their team back on track after a recent mini slump that saw two poor performances in recent events.
SKS opened against Uknowns and won this game pretty easy, 25-4. The next game was against a very talented Boys/SPC Sports team that featured a world championship pitcher from USSSA who had the Kids guessing for most of the game. After a slow start and trailing by as much as 10 in this one, they battled back with a 10-run sixth inning that put them ahead to stay and went on to win, 24-18. Jay Jeffery led the way with five hits.
After a break, the Kids were pitted against a good team from the Dayton area called Cooper/Shinetime/Meridian. Cooper started out slow, but so did SKS, and just when the Street Kids would have a couple good innings, Cooper would answer back with a few of their own, including a huge 14-run fifth inning that made it almost impossible to come back from. After being down as much as 15 runs, SKS battled back but still fell short, losing 29-20. Jay Jeffery and Jeremy Hochstetler led the way with four hits each.
Now in the losers bracket, SKS had to battle nothing but "B" teams (based on the format of the King of the Hill). Their next match up was against a familiar foe in Wildman. The Kids came out hot at first, then cooled down before warming back up late in the game. Using two six-run innings late, Street Kids pulled away 25-16 and eliminated Wildman. Terry Patesel, Scott Martin and Faron Miller led the way with five hits each.
The next game, and final game of the night, was against Elk and Elk. This game would go back and forth before coming down to the very last pitch. Heading into the bottom of the sixth, Elk and Elk led 26-22, but SKS rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth and held Elk scoreless in the top of the seventh. The Kids needed two runs to tie the game and three to win. Faron Miller led off with a single and after Nick Bishop lined out, Terry Patesel singled. Jeremy Hochstetler then made the second out and that brought up Joe Horvath, who was not only 5-for-5 in the game, but also the "DHH" hitter (according to GSL rules, each team chooses a designated home run hitter that can hit unlimited home runs that is not counted toward the team limit of five). With Horvath representing the winning run, the Elk infielders met at the mound to decide what to do: pitch to Horvath who could free swing SKS into a win, or walk him and take their chance with Jay Jeffery, who was 2-for-5 up to this point. If the DHH is walked, the free home run passes to the next batter. It was a no brainer, and they walked Horvath to load the bases for Jeffery. Click the image of Jay batting below to see the video on the Facebook wall and see what happened next....
If you didnt click it, here is what happened! After working the count full, Jeffery launched the next pitch deep into left center and the outfielders gave chase, leaped but it was gone. Jeffery had connected for a walk off grand slam home run to lift the Kids to a thrilling come from behind victory, 28-26.
"This day saw some big highlights, from battling back against SPC Sports to coming off a tough loss and beating a really good Wildman team," said TJ Jorgensen. "But this was as exciting as it gets for this club, after the ups and downs of the past few weekends."
The Kids came back on Sunday morning to play Columbus Pipe, a USSSA Conference team that featured former SKS player Mike Malesko, who was now pitching for Pipe. The Kids put up eight runs in the second, but Pipe tied the game at eight in the third. In the top of the fourth, SKS had a huge inning, putting up 13 runs and having Pipe in the brink of elimination. At one point in the fourth inning, with the first two batters out, SKS was only one pitch away from beating Pipe via the 15-run mercy rule, but "number 10" singled to right, the next batter walked, then the last batter in the lineup, Schmitty, the guy who runs the team as well, lifted a ball deep to the gap in left where Scott Martin dove and just missed making a great game winning catch. Instead, a run scored and they werent done there, as "Number 24" would connect for a three run homer a few moments later to suddenly make it a nine run game.
The Kids kept battling and put up nine runs in the of the sixth and took a commanding lead into the bottom of the sixth. At this point, Pipe needed five runs just to stay in the game and avoid the mercy killing. But it would turn out to be a huge inning for Pipe. The tough conference team from southern Ohio battled back from their second 15-run deficit and scored 16 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie this game up at 32 each. After finally recording the final out, it was now time for SKS to get some runs in the top of the seventh, but that would not happen.
The Kids went up and down quietly in the seventh, and with a home run still to hit, Pipe's first batter in the bottom of the seventh connected on the first pitch for a long walk off home run, giving Columbus Pipe a thrilling win, 33-32.
"What do you do when a team just hits it like that," Fred Schmucker asked after the game. "They showed why they are a great team and took advantage of a few mistakes on defense and attacked. Good job on their part."
The weekend was over for SKS, going 4-2. Pipe went on to lose the next game to Tailgaters, who lost to Reds Boys, the eventual winner. Street Kids finished fourth in the "B" division behind Pipe, Tailgaters and Reds. After the game, Jay Jeffery offered up his opinions.
"It was a fun weekend playing against new teams and competition," the reigning MVP said, who finished the weekend batting .724. "A lot of trash talking; everyone was like welcome to the world of Utrip. To me it was like a pick up basketball game back home. I enjoyed it, though..wish we would of went deeper in the tourney but I feel our team is getting back on track and won't be a easy out for anyone the rest of the way."
Street Kids (45-11 in tournament play; 65-13 overall) will play league ball in Topeka this Thursday and next week during the July 4th holiday, the Kids return to Topeka for the 39th annual July 4th festival tourney, an event they won last season.