WEST CHESTER, Ohio – St. Joe’s did not score more than two runs in any inning, but persistent offense and stellar defense led the Chicago southwest suburban team to a 7-2 win over the Indiana Cobras in the 2008 U11 Cincy Flames Summer Classic Championship finals on Sunday.
Brady Kostecki, who batted fourth and started the game on the mound for St. Joe’s, held the Cobras scoreless for the first two innings, and went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs at the plate.
A turning point was the bottom of the second, when St. Joe’s led, 1-0. The Cobras belted consecutive one-out singles, but Johnny Kostelz made two sliding catches on fly balls hit to right field to end the inning and keep the Cobras scoreless.
"Defense has always been what we build our team around," manager Mike Melone said. "And as you could see, that was a big turning point in the game."
Kostecki scored the first run of the game when he doubled to lead off the top of the second, advanced on a groundout to second and came home on a wild pitch. He added an RBI single in the third as St. Joe’s took a 3-0 lead.
With St. Joe’s leading, 4-1 going into the top of the fifth, Kostecki led off the inning with a sharp single. He eventually came home on a bases-loaded walk by catcher Gage Offerman that made it 5-1, and the Cobras would never pull closer.
ST. JOE’S 8, INDIANA SAINTS 5
With the score tied, 5-5 entering the top of the sixth, St. Joe’s catcher Gage Offerman drew a walk, stole second, and scored on an infield single by Nick Frausto to give his team the lead for good.
Frausto came around to score on a throwing error that helped put the game away for good.
Danny Ehrsam came in to pitch the fifth and sixth innings, and blanked the Saints during both. St. Joe’s shortstop Keegan Tyrell fielded a grounder on a wild hop that went over his head and threw out the final hitter.
"Our kids are very disciplined at what we do, and a key has been out defense," manager Mike Melone said. "We’ve never had a lot of horses that can drive the ball, so we depend on our defense."
INDIANA COBRAS 10, GRAVEL 9
The Cobras trailed, 9-5 entering the bottom of the sixth, but they scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth and catcher Jarrett Montgomery singled home pitcher-first baseman Evan Frank to win the game.
With two runs already in, Frank singled home two runs to tie the score, 9-9. Right fielder Nolan Watson was then hit by a pitch, setting up Montgomery’s game-winning single.
"Things didn’t go our way the whole game," Cobras coach Clint Kiehl said. "We didn’t play good defense and didn’t pitch well. We’re not the type of team that (usually) wins those games."
Gravel led, 7-1 at one point, but the score was 9-5 entering the sixth inning.
INDIANA SAINTS 10, VICTORY BASEBALL 9 (10 innings)
Trevor Kinnaird’s doubled to center field scored Austin Huntsman in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game.
The Saints trailed by two, 9-7 entering the bottom of the ninth, but Tommy Waites reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on a double off the left-center field wall by Austin Nixon.
Then Matt Simmerman tied the score with a single down the left field line.
ST. JOE’S 10, INDIANA IRISH 4
St. Joe’s scored five runs in the top of the first, gave up three in the bottom of the inning, then held the Irish to just one run over the final five innings.
GRAVEL 9, GRAND RAPIDS DIAMONDS 7
Gravel scored the final eight runs of the game after falling behind, 7-1.
Tommy DeCero doubled home a run during a four-run fourth, then tripled home two runs in the fifth to give Gravel the lead for good, 8-7.
Chris Botsoe also had a key double in the fourth inning for Gravel, which held the Diamonds scoreless the final four innings.
INDIANA COBRAS 11, MIDLAND TRIBE 4
Pitcher/second baseman Nick Kiehl doubled home two in the third and singled home another in the fourth to help the Cobras rally from an early deficit.
Center fielder Joe Calandro added two hits, a walk and two RBI as the Cobras – who trailed, 2-0 after two innings – score four in the third, two in the fourth, and five in the fifth to put the game away.
"We’re playing at a very high level right now," manager Clint Kiehl said. "I think we’re peaking – everything seems to be clicking right now."
INDIANA IRISH 7, AVON ATTACK 6
The Irish hit a pair of three-run homers in the top of the sixth inning to rally from a 6-1 deficit.
Shortstop Nick Nagy belted his homer with two outs to give the Irish the lead. Third baseman/outfielder Paulie Milto’s blast was his third homer of the tournament.
Milto, who pitched a complete game to ensure an Irish berth into the tournament on Saturday, also pitched a 1-2-3 sixth to earn the save.
ST. JOE’S 6, COLUMBUS SHARKS 4
Keegan Tyrell and Brady Kostecki had key RBI hits, and Danny Ehrsam struck out the final two batters to preserve the win.
GRAVEL 6, INDIANA LONGHORNS 5
Center fielder Chris Botsoe doubled home two in the fourth and added two more RBI on a fifth-inning single to lead Gravel.
Grant Hutchenson came in to record the final two outs, and struck out both batters he faced.
"As long as we pick up the ball, we’re swinging the bat real well," manager Sam Sorce said.
GRAND RAPIDS DIAMONDS 12, LEMONT 11
Nick Anderson tripled home two runs in the sixth as Grand Rapids rallied to win after giving up nine second-inning runs.
Left fielder/first baseman Tyler Pols added two doubles for the Diamonds.
"The kids battled back, give our kids a ton of credit," manager John Vander Wal said. "Our kids could’ve had a meltdown in the second, but they didn’t, they came back and won."
Vander Wal played 14 seasons in the major leagues with the Expos, Rockies, Padres, Pirates, Yankees, Giants, Brewers and Reds in 1991-2004.