July 21, 2012
The Street Kids Mojo softball team started off hot this season, winning seven of the first nine events. Then the bats went cold and the defense started to struggle, and the Kids failed to win the next four tourneys, going a combined 9-8 in that span. Then they went to Kalamazoo for the Kiracofe Festival and they turned things around, going undefeated and winning the event for the second straight year.
The turn around could not have come at a better time with the post season beginning this weekend. Street Kids traveled to Bloomington, Indiana for the ASA "B" State Championship this weekend hoping to carry over the red hot play they used to sweep their way to the Kiracofe title. SKS won the ASA B state crown last year in their hometown of South Bend, and they were looking to repeat the feat on Saturday.
The Kids opened the event in Bloomington against a put together Floors Unlimited team, but one that many were saying was equally talented. Many of the Floors players went to Minnesota for a tournament so the rest along with some pick ups came to Bloomington. Floors beat Wildman to reach the next round against SKS. Street Kids scored four runs in the first inning, and two in the second but the third inning would prove to be essential in the outcome as they put up 13 runs to take a commanding lead. Floors acored six to try to get back into it, but SKS answered back with a 15-run fifth inning to seal the deal, 34-12. Joe Horvath went five for five with three extra base hits while Jeremy Hochstetler, Jay Jeffery, Scott Martin (10 RBIs), Tim Austin and Leland Schmucker all added four hits each.
Up next for SKS was The Strange, who beat Bloomington Moose 24-10 to reach the winners bracket final against the Kids. Street Kids came out with seven in the first but Strange answered back with seven of their own in the home half of the first and an early look would tell that this was going to be a great game. In the second inning, SKS scored five runs and Strange came back with three in the home half. But in the the third inning Street Kids would break the game open with 11 runs and cruise to a 29-12 win. Terry Patesel led the way with five hits while Fred Schmucker added four hits in the win.
Street Kids were now in the finals for the 10th time this season, and awaited the winner of the losers bracket. When it was concluded, Floors made their way back to the finals after a thrilling high scoring game against Strange. The title game started out slow for SKS and heading into the home half of the second, Floors led 11-4. But in the bottom of thr second, the Kids would get really hot, scoring 14 runs. Floors tried to get back in the game in the top of the third, scoring six runs but the red hot Street Kids Mojo team answered back again, scoring 11 more runs. Floors would manage one run in the top of the fourth, and they needed some great defense to help themselves get back in the game as SKS needed only four runs to finish it and win the title.
Jeremy Hochstetler led off with a double and scored on Joe Horvaths 13th straight hit, a two run home run. Jay Jeffery followed with a solo shot, the final home run allowed and now the Kids were just one run away from winning it. Scott Martin singled, TJ Jorgensen walked and Leland Schmucker singled to load the bases for Fred Schmucker. Instead of any kind of exciting conclusion, this one would end anticlimattically, as Schmucker took a walk, forcing in Martin with the championship winning run. Kids were state champions with a 33-18 win.
"How can you not be proud of these guys not just today but thr last two weeks," said TJ Jorgensen. "Everything before today does not matter, just what you do in the post season. We batted close to .800 today and none of them were gimmies, we hit it well."
Joe Horvath was named MVP with an outstanding performance. Also named to the All State team were Terry Patesel, Jay Jeffery, Scott Martin, Fred Schmucker and Faron Miller.
It was the third state title in six years for Street Kids (54-13 in tournaments, 82-17 overall), who also won the B/C state title in 2007 in Michigan. It was the ninth tournament win for the Kids this season and they will look for some more magic next weekend in Kankakee, Illinois at the NSA "A" World Series.