OKLAHOMA CITY – The 2022 Men’s Class B Slow Pitch National Championship wrapped up on Saturday night with an explosive offensive performance from Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli as it claimed the trophy with back-to-back wins over The Herd. After battling through the loser’s bracket to arrive in the Championship contest, Rock Run posted a 20-12 victory to force an “if-necessary” game before unleashing with a 27-7 (four innings) run-rule victory to earn the National Championship title.
The Herd entered Saturday’s competition sitting in a prime spot with a 2-0 record heading into the winner’s bracket quarterfinal matchup. Perfect performances at the plate from Alex Hovey, Tanner Unkel and Kyle Winter contributed to the 23-hit game and propelled The Herd to a 21-13 win over DNR Miller Concrete to open the day. Moving on to the semifinals, The Herd jumped out to an early lead against Dirt Dogs/Alter Ego/KL&R/RDD before a 10-run fourth inning from the Dirt Dogs stole the lead. Refusing to go down without a fight, The Herd continued to chip away, eventually tying the game in the sixth and breaking it open in the seventh – regaining control and sealing the 25-21 victory to send them to the Championship contest with an undefeated 4-0 record.
Also starting the day on top with a 2-0 record, Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli’s path to the Championship was not as simple after an early 14-13 loss to Dirt Dogs sent them to the loser’s bracket. Determined to fight its way back, Rock Run came out strong in its next two games – earning back-to-back victories over Southern Rooster/Texas5 (30-18) and DNR Miller Concrete (26-8). With a rematch against Dirt Dogs in the semifinal contest, Kyle Miller led the Rock Run offense with three home runs and a double to keep the pressure on and help claim the 23-8 win to advance to the Championship game against The Herd.
After climbing its way through the loser’s bracket, Rock Run entered the Championship contest needing to pull-out a victory in order to force an “if-necessary” game in hopes of claiming the title. A consistent effort at the plate in addition to a seven-run second inning allowed Rock Run to stay on top and defeat The Herd 20-12 – forcing another game and keeping the hope alive.
With an energy that was both unmatched and unstoppable, Rock Run opened its sixth game of the day with a massive 17-run first inning. The team managed to string together nine singles, three doubles and three home runs off the bats of Marcus Miller, Erik Lehman and Glenn Bender to take the early lead and set the tone.
A grand slam from Matt Schrange in the bottom of the frame put The Herd on the board with four runs, but Rock Run answered back with five more of its own in the top of the second to steal back the momentum. With Rock Run leading 22-4 heading into the third inning, Jeremy Slabach sent a solo home run over the left field fence to tack on another run before a series of base hits plated two more runners – extending the Rock Run lead 25-4.
The Herd mustered two runs in the bottom of the inning but Rock Run matched that yet again in the fourth, sending the game to the bottom of the frame with the run-rule in effect as Rock Run led The Herd 27-6. Looking to give his team a chance, Winter led off the inning with a solo shot to right field, but two consecutive line outs followed by a fly out would end the game and seal the 27-7 (four innings) run-rule victory for Rock Run and the 2022 Men’s Class B Slow Pitch National Championship title.
Compiling a 7-1 record through the tournament, Rock Run combined for 181 runs on 211 hits – including 40 doubles, seven triples and 47 home runs while recording a team batting average of .588. Five Rock Run athletes tallied over 20 hits apiece while Kyle Miller and Marcus Miller blasted a tournament-leading nine home runs each. Splitting time in the circle, Lehman and Matthew Chromy limited their opponents to 90 runs and 119 hits to keep the Rock Run defense under control on its quest to the National Championship title.
2022 Men's Class B Slow Pitch National Championship All-Americans:
Joseph Nissley (DNR Miller Concrete) – IF
Zak Sokolis (Dirt Dogs/Alter Ego/KL&R/RDD) – IF
Jason Stabach (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli) – IF
Kyle Miller (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli) – IF
Brent Zomer (The Herd) – IF
Jamie Weaver (DNR Miller Concrete) – OF
John Reiman (Dirt Dogs/Alter Ego/KL&R/RDD) – OF
Arlis Miller (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli) – OF
Marcus Miller (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli) – OF
Zach Goleniak (Southern Rooster/Texas5) – UTL
Mike Martinez (Dirty Vegas/Steel) – UTL
Jeremy Fry (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli) – UTL
Joe Bulens (The Herd) – UTL
Matt Schrange (The Herd) – UTL
Alex Hovey (The Herd) – P
Men’s Class B SP National Championship Batting Champion: Erik Lehman - .762 (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli)
Men’s Class B SP National Championship Home Run Co-Champions: Kyle Miller – 9 (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli), Marcus Miller – 9 (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli)
Men’s Class B SP National Championship Most Valuable Player: Marcus Miller (Rock Run Cabinetry/All Hustle/Silverbacks/Koval/Beloli)