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It’s on people!
The rec league playoff showdown Tuesday night between KBUT and the Whetstoners took eight innings before KBUT came away with the 12-11 win thanks to a solo inside the park home run from Tucker Roberts.
The game truly had everything you could want from local slowpitch softball.
There was some filthy pitching from John Hopper and Rich Driscoll as both Driscoll and Hopper fanned hitters with runners on base early in the game, several times.
There were back and forth rallies from both teams and there was a dose of some late game heroics.
There were even two of my favorite local slowpitch names in Alex Mattes-Ritz and Dixie Riddle.
Inspired by music picked out specifically for each batter, i.e. the Baywatch theme for Carson “Hoff” West, KBUT built a 4-0 lead.
Riddle tapped an error-assisted single and Kelly Jensen walked to put two on for Amelie Kastning. Kastning stroked a sac fly RBI, Hopper cracked a RBI double and Liz Ewing and Josh Elmer connected for a couple more base hit RBIs for the four-run lead.
The Whetstoners scored two runs over the next two innings thanks to hits from Charlie Parr and Tessa Frederick in the second inning and Todd Dohlman and Renee Newton in the third before unloading for five more runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Zach Matthias led off with a triple and scored on a single by Driscoll. Mattes-Ritz and Barb Wire Winter pushed two more home with base hits and Dohlman put the Whetstoners up 6-4 with another base hit RBI.
Another deep shot from Parr to centerfield put Whetstoner runners on the move. Dohlman scored and Newton was waved home from third but Kelly Jensen turned on the relay from left field and fired home. Laura Yale stepped on the plate and made the grab a half step ahead of Newton for the third out ending the Whetstoner rally.
Rob Wissing pulled KBUT to within one run with a two RBI single to left and KBUT tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on a RBI double from Grant McFarren and a sac fly RBI by Mark Ewing.
The Whetstoners are no slouches though, loud and proud to be exact, and they came right back in the top of the sixth inning to score three runs and rebuild their lead.
Michelle Gerard singled and scored on a double by Chuck McKenrick. Parr then struck once more roping a two RBI single for an 11-8 Whetstoners advantage.
The KBUT bats then fell strangely silent in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a lead off double by Jeremy Rubingh, the next three batters, including Roberts, came up short in their efforts at the plate giving the Whetstoners a chance to shut the door on KBUT.
But KBUT are no hacks either and they clamped down on defense to hold the Whetstoners scoreless as well setting up for a comeback in their last at bat.
Kastning and McFarren each tapped base hits to put two runners on with two outs. Mark Ewing roped a two RBI double to center and then Katherine Hargrave pushed the tying run home on a single to force the game into extra innings.
Big defensive plays from Rubingh and Riddle in the top of the eighth inning held the Whetstoners scoreless for the second inning in a row and KBUT was primed to complete the comeback.
The Whetstoners retired the first KBUT batter but Roberts stepped up and redeemed his initial pop out in the bottom of the sixth inning flaring a deep shot to right field for the game-winning inside the park home run.
The win advances KBUT to the semifinals of the winners bracket and sends the Whetstoners down to the losers bracket to battle its way through the mire hoping to emerge for revenge in the championship game in ten days.