St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn. – Hortenbach Auto/Easton claimed the first Super Slow Pitch title since 2003 as they blasted past Sonny's in the Championship Game at the Super Slow Pitch Championship the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) and USA Softball announced today. Held at the historic Midway Stadium, H. Auto/Easton combined for 10 homeruns, including three from tournament MVP Brian Wegman, and 27 hits to defeat Sonny's 29-14 in five innings.
Sonny's scored first after Jeremy Davis reached on a throwing error by the second baseman. With one runner on, Chris Greiner hit his third home run of the day to take an early 2-0 lead. The lead would not last long as H. Auto/Easton pushed eight runs across the board in the bottom of the first off seven hits, four of which by way of a home run. Bryson Baker led off with a walk, followed by a Wegman home run. Kevin Filby sent a line drive to the right field wall before Geno Buck connected for the long ball to clear the bases. A walk to Chad Durick set up another scoring opportunity for H. Auto/Easton as Sam Lopez hit a homer and Brian Rainwater followed with another shot out of the park. H. Auto/Easton would add an additional run as Luis Reyna scored on a walk to Wegman.
Sonny's closed the lead in the top of the second inning as Sammy Christensen hit a double to plate Alexis Ramirez for the first run of the inning. A walk to Davis put two runners on before Kevin Ballard hit an RBI single to plate Christensen. Griener picked up two more RBI with a triple and Bryce Oliveira hit a home run to clear the bases. H. Auto/Easton extended their lead in the bottom half of the inning, scoring an additional five runs off five hits. An RBI by Buck, a grand slam from Durick and a solo shot by Reyna and H. Auto/Easton led 13-8 heading into the third inning.
Sonny's was kept off the board in the top of the third as a groundout to third and a fly out to left field recorded the first two outs. Christensen connected for a single, but Aaron Martinez hit into a fielder's choice to get Christensen out at second.
Wegman hit his second home run of the game to start off the bottom of the third inning. A double by Filby and a single from Scott Kirby put two runners on base as Brett Helmer plated Filby with a single to right field. An error by the second baseman put Buck on first as Kirby scored before Durick hit a three-run homer. After three complete innings, H. Auto/Easton led 19-8.
A single by Davis and a walk to Ballard put the first two runners on base for Sonny's in the top of the fourth. A single by Griener plated Davis before Griener was thrown out at second for the first out of the inning, in which Ballard scored. Carl Blank hit a single, scoring Oliveira and Ramirez sent a shot over left field to score an additional two runs. H. Auto/Easton plated another two runs in the bottom of the fourth on two sac-fly's via Baker and Kirby.
Sonny's pushed across one more run in the top of the fifth after Ballard hit a sac-fly to right field to plate Martinez. Needing just eight runs to claim the run-rule victory, H. Auto/Easton did just that as they combined for two home runs and seven hits. Lopez connected for a single to score Buck, Reyna hit an RBI single to score Durick and a double by Kevin Bazat plated Lopez and Rainwater. With two runners on, Baker hit a home run to clear the bases. With no outs and no runners on, Wegman hit a solo shot to end the game after five, with H. Auto/Easton taking the 29-14 win.
Fans who were unable to attend "Championship Saturday" will get the opportunity to catch the Semi-finals and Championship games on the CBS Sports Network via tape delay on Tuesday, August 27 and Wednesday, August 28. Please check your local listings to see a complete T.V. lineup for the Super Slow Pitch Invitational.
This marks the first time since 2003 that a Champion has been named in the Super Slow Pitch Division. The first Men’s Super Slow Pitch National Championship took place in 1981 in Burlington, N.C., where Howard’s/Western Steer (Denver, Colo.) claimed the inaugural Championship and Hall of Fame member Rick “The Crusher” Scherr took home the MVP title. Throughout the 22-year existence of the Super division, 12 teams were crowned champions, with Ritch’s Superior (Windsor Locks, Conn.) and Steele’s Silver Bullets (Grafton, Ohio) leading the pack with four championships apiece.
For a complete bracket, box scores and results, please visit USASoftball.com. In addition to naming a Champion, the following athletes were awarded the Super Slow Pitch Division's highest awards:
Batting Champion: Donavan Prokraka - Rip City/DeMarini - hitting .800
Co-HR Champion: Dale Brundardt (Rip City/DeMarini) & Bryce Oliveira (Sonny's) - 7 HR
Most Valuable Player: Brian Wegman – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
ASA Men’s Super Slow Pitch FIRST Team All- American Team
Other action at the Super Slow Pitch Invitational:
Rip City/DeMarini 18 - Sonny's 20
A walk off home run secured Sonny's a spot in the Championship Game as they came out with the 20-18 win over Rip City/DeMarini. Trailing by six as they came to bat in the bottom of the seventh, costly errors by the Rip City defense and two home runs by Sonny's set up a rematch of the semi-finals.
Charles Cunningham led Sonny's with five RBI and two home runs, including a grand slam in the seventh inning. Close behind was Chris Greiner, who was 3-for-4 with four RBI and two home runs.
For Rip City, Donavan Pokraka and Dale Brungardt each had five RBI, with Pokraka hitting a grand slam and Brungardt hitting two, two-run homers.
Hortenbach Auto/Easton 22 - Sonny's 20
Hortenbach Auto/Easton sealed their spot in the Championship Game at the Super Slow Pitch Invitational with a 22-20 win over Sonny's Saturday afternoon.
Chad Durick led the way for Hortenbach Auto, going 3-for-4 with four RBI and knocking two out of the park. Scott Kirby also exploded for two home runs and five RBI.
For Sonny's, Bryce Oliveira went 2-for-4 with six RBI, while Westy Guill was 4-for-5 with one RBI.