The Street Kids/Wildman/KoteIt softball team went a perfect 3-0 and won their third straight ASA Class "B" state championship on Saturday in Kokomo.
Joe Horvath went 10-for-11 including hitting a tourney high six home runs and was named the state MVP for the second straight year. Newell Phebus, Fred Schmucker, Scott Martin and Todd Mase were named to the all-state team.
The day started on a wet note as strong storms and heavy rain touched down in Kokomo around 9am and pushed the start of the tourney back a couple of hours. Thankfully, this happened in Kokomo, where they have the absolute best grounds crew in the sport. After the rain stopped, the Kokomo Parks and Rec department went to work, making the fields look as good as new.
SKS played their first game of the tournament against Synergy, a team they just double dipped just six days ago to win the XKE championship. Synergy just came off an 11-1 win over Stangers. SKS scored first, picking up five runs in the top of the first, but Synergy answered back with three in the bottom of the first and when SKS went quietly in the top of the second, Synergy took the lead, scoring five times in the bottom of the second. SKS scored three in the third to tie the game and scored six in the top of the fourth to take a 14-8 lead. Synergy managed two in the bottom of the fourth on Mahlon Hershbergers second home run of the game to bring the game closer at 14-10. But SKS answered back with seven runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a two run single by Jay Jeffery and a two run homer by Todd Mase, his 13th of the season. But Synergy would not go away, scoring five times in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a grand slam to bring the game to within five at 21-16. After SKS failed to score in the top of the seventh, Synergy started their comeback. After a leadoff double, SKS was able to get the next two outs. But Synergy was able to load the bases, bringing their number two hitter to the plate - who was already 3-for-4 in the game. With Mahlon Hershberger on deck, SKS was able to get the Synergy player out, and get the win, 21-16. Joe Horvath, Jay Jeffery, Todd Mase and the teams season leading hitter Fred Schmucker all had four hits in the win.
Up next was a showdown against Cedar Creek, arguably the second best softball team in the state of Indiana (behind SKS, not including Reds, who has not played any NSA or ASA this year). Cedar Creek is one of only a handful of teams to beat SKS this season, stopping them in the finals of the July 4th Topeka Festival tourney. But SKS was able to get the better of them last weekend in the XKE, but those were in the past and this was the state championship. With Synergy already losing, Cedar Creek and SKS both knew this game could potentially determine the state title. But Cedar Creek came out uncharacteristally flat, managing only two runs (one by a home run by former SK pitcher Mark Hershberger, who had three hits in the game) and would fall to SKS, 12-2 in five innings. SKS wasn't overpowering, but they really didn't need to be, just needed to play clean ball and stay ahead of any Cedar rallies, and that would be enough for the win. Joe Horvath homered three times and Todd Mase also added three hits in the win.
With the win, SKS was in the drivers seat. They were now in the finals and playing Stangers. Feeling confident with wins over Synergy and Cedar Creek, SKS came out very fast and very hard, putting up seven runs in the first and 13 runs in the bottom of the second inning, taking a 20-1 lead after two innings. After the defense stood their ground in the top of the third, SKS only needed one run to finish off Stangers and win their fourth state title in seven years. Tim Austin led off with a single, followed by TJ Jorgensen's long single off the wall in center. With the winning run at third base, Cat Marchand singled sharply to left, driving in Austin with the winning run and securing the 2013 ASA Class "B" state title for Street Kids Softball.
Terry Patesel, Joe Horvath, Newell Phebus, Scott Martin, Tim Austin and TJ Jorgensen all had three hits in the win. The biggest highlight may have been coach JR Shapiro's two pinch hit singles to right that fired up the entire team. Jay Jeffery said to pull him not once but twice for Shapiro, who had not taken a swing at all since April. It was an exciting moment for the entire team as everyone got into the fun.
Street Kids (52-9 on the season) won their eighth tournament of the season, and second straight after finishing second in the previous two events. With the win today, SKS has qualified for the ASA National Championship, which will be played in Kansas City, Missouri over Labor Day weekend.
To see pics from the ASA "B" State championship, click here to see the photo album on the SKS Facebook page.
Notes: Fred Schmucker saw his consecutive hit streak end at 25 in a row during the Cedar Creek game. The team record is 30, set by Jason Fowler in 2009...... Schmucker, Phebus, Martin and Mase were named all-tourney for the second straight weekend. It was Schmuckers team high sixth all-tourney selection of the season, and the fourth for Phebus and Martin. Jay Jeffery holds the team record with eight, set in 2011...... After a slow start this season, Phebus has been red hot since June 29th, going 55 for his last 66, batting .833 over that span...... Schmucker, the teams leading hitter this season, is 29 for his last 32, which comes out to a massive .906 average...... The SKS team has an overall record of 17-1 in ASA state championships since 2007, winning the last 14 straight ASA state tournament games.