MOUNT VERNON — They may have had to work a little harder than they had wanted too, but Kiwanis achieved its ultimate goal and won the 2010 Babe Ruth City Tournament on Sunday.
Rotary, the regular-season league champion, proved to be a worthy opponent, beating Kiwanis, 12-7, in the first championship game. That forced a second game as it was Kiwanis’ first tournament loss, and Kiwanis didn’t make the same mistakes twice. Kiwanis won the title with a 14-4 victory over Rotary.
“This definitely didn’t turn out like we planned, but it is still a great way to end the season,” said Kiwanis manager Jon Edwards. “At one point in the season, believe it or not, we were 2-4. We went on a stretch where we went 11-1 until today. We won several games in the City tournament, and I have to attribute that to my 15-year-olds. At any level, it is the older kids that have to take the lead, and we had three — Colton Landis, Tyler Quebedo and John Wiest — that stepped up and were leaders. When we were 2-4, those kids wanted this. Kiwanis hasn’t had a lot of wins over the last several years; I think the best we’ve finished is about .500. Those three boys have seen some bad times. When we were 2-4, I was even thinking, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ They didn’t. They kept us playing hard, and we figured out a rotation. They played good ball.”
Rotary and Kiwanis both came to play, as evidenced by the score throughout the early innings of Game 1. Rotary jumped out on top with three runs in the first, getting a two-run double by Austin Pagani and an RBI double from Chase Springer. Kiwanis answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. A single run by Rotary off back-to-back doubles by Tyler Zeller and Tim Boyd made it a 4-2 lead in the second, but Kiwanis rallied for two runs off doubles by Lucas Zambori and Josh Edwards in the bottom of the inning.
Rotary went back on top in the third, scoring two on a single by Austin Heffelfinger off Kiwanis’ starter Edwards. Kiwanis returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, getting a two-run single by Justin Fairchild and an RBI single by Wiest. Rotary managed to plate a single run in the top of the fourth, tying the game at 7. Jacob Bowers had the RBI single to score Zeller.
“We expected this type of effort out of Rotary,” said Edwards. “We played them, because of our unbalanced schedule, three times in the regular season. We were ahead on opening day like 9-3, and they came back and beat us, 12-11. They beat us bad the next time (11-3), and the third time we played we won by a few runs (12-8), but it was in extra innings. We played until midnight. Then, we beat them pretty handily the first time we played them in the tournament, which really shocked me. I knew (Rotary) could score a lot of runs in a hurry, and no lead is safe.”