MOUNT VERNON — A complete game effort by pitcher Chad Lupher and a six-run third inning propelled Elks to a 14-9 victory over Dove Dental in the championship game of the 2011 Herb W. Rock Babe Ruth Tournament on Tuesday evening. In the process, the Elks nearly had it snatched away from them.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” said Elks coach Hank Snow. “They didn’t quit and, when (Dove Dental) started making their comeback, they played good defense — and defense wins games. The defense has played well all year.”
With his team down 2-1 in the top of the third, Dove Dental’s starting pitcher Alex Arck laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score center fielder J.D. Orr from third to tie the game. Arck was safe at first on the play.
“We got it tied up and we never gave up,” said Dove Dental coach Phil Arck. “We fought through the whole game. At that moment, we were just trying to generate something to stay in the game. (The Elks) are a real good hitting team. We made mistakes out there but the guys hung in there.”
Lupher, who struck out the side in the previous inning, was able to get the last two batters in the third and the game remained at 2-2, but only for a short while.
“I tried to keep the ball down as low as I could,” said Lupher. “I struggled a little bit.”