OKLAHOMA CITY – The 2021 USA Softball Men’s Class C Slow Pitch National Championship came to a close today with Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors claiming the Championship title after forcing an “if-necessary” game to defeat Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation 18-10 in the final contest. Stagecoach finished the tournament with an 8-1 record, their only loss coming from a winner’s bracket matchup against Northwoods Elite. Sent to the loser’s bracket on Day Two, Stagecoach clinched five-straight crucial victories to earn them the trophy and the Championship title.
In the first game of the day, the loser’s bracket semi-final saw a rematch as Stagecoach took down Northwoods Elite in a close-fought 11-8 battle. Stagecoach came out of the gate strong with a four-run first inning and three home runs from Daniel Sargent, Micah Loegering, and Zach Prins. Plating five more runs in the top of the third, Stagecoach extended their lead to 9-0 before Northwoods scratched two in the bottom of the frame to make it 9-2. Stagecoach pushed two more runs across in the fourth thanks to a pair of singles and a double, making it an 11-2 ballgame. Northwoods began to chip away at the Stagecoach lead in the bottom of the frame with a sacrifice fly from Dru Mickelson to add one more run to the board before scoring five more in the fifth inning to close the gap, 11-8. Despite the rally, Northwoods was unable to string things together in the final two innings, ending their tournament run and allowing Stagecoach to walk away with the 11-8 win to send them to the title game.
The offense continued to dominate for Stagecoach as they rolled into the Championship Game against Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation. Six hits in the first inning pushed five runs across the plate for Stagecoach, but Trinity answered back with three home runs in the bottom of the frame to score four, making it 5-4 Stagecoach after one inning of play. A big inning in the second put up eight more runs for Trinity allowing them to pull ahead 12-5 going into the third inning. Losing the lead lit the spark for Stagecoach as their offense exploded for 26 runs in the next four innings including a 12-run fourth. Trinity put up four runs in the fifth inning but couldn’t make a comeback as Stagecoach took the 31-16 (six innings) victory to force an “if-necessary” game. Out of their 33 total hits, Stagecoach racked up 10 doubles in the contest with James Kauffmann leading the way with three.
In the winner-take-all matchup with the Championship title on the line, the competition was fierce as neither team gave up the fight. Stagecoach struck first with a five-run first inning after two RBI singles from Sargent and Loegering and a three-run shot from Prins put them on the board. Both offenses were quiet throughout the next two innings as the defense controlled the game. Trinity broke the silence in top of the fourth after Robert Aquilino put a two-run home run over the left field fence. The team used that momentum to extend the rally, scoring seven more runs in the top of the frame to take the lead, 9-5. Not going down without a fight was Stagecoach, finding ways to get on base and manufacturing three runs to bring them within one of Trinity. Aquilino tacked on another run for Trinity in the top of the fifth for his second home run of the game to put his team up 10-8, but it wouldn’t last long as Stagecoach responded with a three-run home run from Kauffmann to steal back the lead, 11-10. Stagecoach finished out the game strong, scoring 10 runs in the last two innings and sealing the 18-10 victory with a slick double-play on the infield to clinch the 2021 Men’s Class C Slow Pitch National Championship title.
2021 Men’s Class C Slow Pitch National Championship All-Americans:
Matt Allen – Russell's Paint & Body – IF
Ryan Balis – Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation – IF
Craig Kolb – Northwoods Elite – IF
Daniel Rothbauer – Northwoods Elite – IF
Casey Tyler – Demars Softball – IF
Kyle Creamer – Shameless/Budweiser – OF
Sean Grosonic – Newbreed/Gorillaz/Royce Geo – OF
Nathan King – Fishers Softball – OF
Micah Loegering – Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors – OF
Robert Aquilino – Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation – UTIL
John David – Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors – UTIL
Nicholas Follo – Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation – UTIL
James Kaufmann – Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors – UTIL
Zach Prins – Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors – UTIL
Joseph Apostoli – Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation – P
Men’s Class C SP National Championship Batting Champion:
Casey Tyler (1.000) – Demars Softball
Men’s Class C SP National Championship HR Champions:
Ryan Balis (7) – Trinity/Big Dawg Sublimation
Dustin Duncan (7) – Russell’s Paint & Body
Scott Patterson (7) – Newbreed/Gorillaz/Royce Geo
Men’s Class C SP National Championship MVP:
John David – Stagecoach/Crest Exteriors