The Street Kids/Wildman/KoteIt softball team came into Fort Wayne for the big XKE Championship, choosing to play in this event over the Kiracofe in Kalamazoo, an event they have won for the past two years. SKS also came into Fort Wayne missing a handful of players, but with a couple of pickups and the talent of our own guys, we began our quest.
SKS opened against a team called "ThrowTogethers" and won quickly, 19-1. The second game was against Javets, a local but very competitive team. This one was close, but SKS pulls it out 11-6. The third round game was against Floors Unlimited, a very good team ran by the respected Dan Fields. Floors was hitting the ball well so SKS would need more than 11 runs like the Javets game to win this one. Floors turned out to be too much for Street Kids, beating them 25-18, sending them to the losers bracket.
On Sunday in the losers bracket, SKS played their first game against McMahon Tire that seemed overmatched, and it turns out that was correct. SKS wins 22-5. Next game was a rematch against Cedar Creek, the team who beat SKS in the finals by one run in Topeka during the July 4th festival. This time it would go the other way, as Street Kids gets the win over Cedar, 18-12. Up next was Bloomington Moose. SKS jumped out front of Moose 11-2 after one inning, and 20-3 after three, but Moose battled back. By the midway point of the fourth inning, it was now only 20-15 SKS. SKS put a few more on, then Moose came back again, only trailing Street Kids 25-22 midway through the sixth. But SKS get hot fast, and won the game 32-22, eliminating Bloomington Moose.
Up next was a rematch against Floors, who put SKS in the losers bracket several games ago. Street Kids joined Floors, Silvertowne and the undefeated Synergy team in the final four of the XKE. Floors was just as hot and tired as SKS, but both teams went to battle. In the end, it was Street Kids coming out on top, 15-5, advancing to the losers bracket final against Silvertowne. The Silvertowne game started out slow for a couple of innings before Street Kids warmed up, taking a 10-3 lead through three and half. Silvertown battled back to make it a 10-8 game, but Street Kids again got as hot as the weather and won the game 18-8, advancing to the finals!
The finals featured a hot and tired SKS team against a fresh and younger Synergy team. But the Street Kids team was on fire and determined. They needed to win two in order to capture the crown and they started out on the right foot, scoring 17 runs in the first inning and cruusing to an easy 30-8 win, forcing the "if" game. The finale started out slow, with Synergy taking an early 6-0 lead, but SKS came back with five in the second inning, bringing them to within one. After three and a half innings, SKS had now took the lead 11-7. They continued to slug it out, with the pitching and defense keeping Synergy in check. By the time the sixth inning rolled around, SKS led 15-11. Then Todd Mase stepped up with the bases loaded and quickly emptied them, connecting for a grand slam and putting the Kids up 19-11. SKS only needed two more runs to win the game and the championship. Leland Schmucker doubled in Newell Phebus then Luke Myers connected for a walk off home run to complete the comeback through the losers bracket and win the 2013 XKE Championship, 22-11!
Todd Mase was named tourney MVP going 37-for-42 and Tim Austin, Newell Phebus, Scott Martin and Fred Schmucker all were named to the all-tourney team. Schmucker sat a few games to rest a sore back, but was red hot when he was playing, finishing 24-for-26, including ending the tourney on a 20-consecutive hit streak. The team record for consecutive hits is 30, set by Jason Fowler in 2009.
With the win, SKS should take the lead in the popular Indiana ASA Worth Power Series (Class B division), jumping over leader Cedar Creek. There are currently 18 teams that take part in the class B series. SKS had 2,120 points with Cedar Creek leading with 2,220 points. Synergy was a close third with 2,020 with the fourth place team way behind at 960 points. It isn't clear how many points are awarded to the winning and second place teams, but it is believed that when the standings are updated this week, SKS will stand atop the leaderboard.
Up next for SKS is the ASA Class B state championship in Kokomo, where Street Kids are looking for their third straight state title. That tourney is also part of the Worth Power Series. I want to send a couple very special shoutouts to a couple of people that helped a lot in this tourney, but would never step on the field as a player. Bob Hamilton - one of our key sponsors - and Tori Austin (team mom and wife of Tim) kept me updated the entire tourney - inning by inning - so I could keep up with Twitter and Facebook. Especially to Tori who had to handle her kids in the heat as well. Thanks so much to both of you!
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