Tourney winning streak propels Black to championship victory
Black completed an undefeated run through the 2008 Babe Ruth tournament with a 6-2 win over Red in the championship game on Thursday, July 17 at Chizek Field. After a 3-7 regular season, Black went 4-0 in the play-offs, defeating each of the other four teams in the league once.
The championship game was well played by both teams as Black's Eric Riley and Red's Alex Erickson squared off in a classic pitcher's dual. Riley pitched a complete game for the win, giving up five hits, walking three, and striking out 16. Erickson went six innings, giving up five hits, four walks, two hit batsmen, and he struck out 13. Ethan Bruer pitched a scoreless seventh inning for Red.
After a scoreless top of the first, Red took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Erickson led off with a double and went to third on a Kelly Engquist single. Erickson then scored on an errant pick-off attempt. Engquist scored on a double by Justin Seifert.
Both pitchers struck out the side in the second, although Red's Lincoln Berget reached on a single and Erickson walked as Red threatened to add to their lead.
In the top of the third Carter Rudstrom of Black was hit by a pitch with one out, and Casey Pashen reached on a walk. Rudstrom scored when Tanner Picht reached on an error and the bases became loaded on an Andrew Rentz single. After a strikeout, Riley came through with the big hit of the game, a bases-clearing double to make the score 4-2 in favor of Black. Austin Steege reached on another walk, but Erickson retired the next batter to get out of the inning.
Riley really settled in after Black took the lead, retiring the side in order in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Erickson struck out the side in the fourth before Black added two final insurance runs in the fifth. Picht started this rally with a one-out single. Then after another strikeout, Patrick Backman drove in Picht with a single. Riley was then hit by a pitch, and consecutive walks to Steege, and Jordan Staples drove in the final run of the game.
Red was able to mount a threat in the sixth inning when Engquist led off with a walk, and Seifert hit a one-out single. Riley then retired the final two batters of the inning to end the potential rally and he struck out the side in the seventh to end the game.