PACs Do Well In Tourney


Published on July 17 2012 9:52 am
Last Updated on July 25 2012 10:37 am
Written by Millie Lange


Playing its best baseball of the summer, the Effingham Premier Athletic Club (PAC) 15U team claimed the championship of the 15U AA "Play the Turf" tournament in Jacksonville this weekend, winning four of five games over three days at the Lenz Field complex.

The PAC squad went 2-1 in pool play; it opened with a 5-3 loss to the Illinois Redbirds in Friday night play, but bounced back Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Springfield Diamond Cutters and a 9-2 decision over the Cincinnati Sharks.

With the top four teams advancing out of pool play to Sunday's bracketed final round, Effingham played as the No. 2 seed and reached the title game with an 8-3 win against the LITH Thunder. That championship game ended up being a rematch with the Redbirds, and Effingham triumphed in a 9-4 final.

Effingham (11-10) is on a roll with seven wins in its last eight games and has brought home hardware from its last two tournaments; it'll go for three in a row and a strong finish when it wraps up the summer season this weekend in Chesterfield, Mo., at the Greater Midwest Baseball Wood Bat World Series.

A four-run second inning was enough to secure the win for the Redbirds; Logan Johnson pitched well outside of that fateful frame, while Adam Koester and Damian Riveria each contributed RBI hits. Austin Hartke got his monster tournament started with a 1-for-2 effort, also drawing a walk and scoring twice.

Illinois Redbirds    040    010    0    —    5-7-0
Effingham PAC       020    100    0    —    3-4-3
Effingham PAC Pitching — Logan Johnson (LP), 7 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Effingham PAC Offense — Jacob Lorenz, 1-for-3; Braydon Bone, sac bunt; Jordan Thoele, walk; Conner Greene, SB; Austin Hartke, 1-for-2, walk,2 runs; Swayde Sanders, walk; Adam Koester, 1-for-3, run, RBI, SB; Damian Riveria, 1-for-2, RBI

Game One
The early game of the day ended in wild walk-off fashion for the PAC squad, which fell behind 2-0 after five innings of scoreless baseball. Hartke's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth cut the deficit in half, setting up an eventful home half of the seventh.

Trailing 2-1, leadoff man Swayde Sanders reached on an error and took second on Riveria's sacrifice bunt. With two out, Rex Grissom singled up the middle and stole second base on defensive indifference with Koester at the plate.

After fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches, Koester took a curve ball in the dirt and watched it skip past the catcher. Sanders came in to score with a hard — but clean — slide that knocked over the pitcher covering home. The throw squirted away, allowing a hard-charging Grissom to round third and slide safely home with the game-winning tally.

Brennan Poland pitched five solid innings, but it was Riveria laying claim to the win with two innings of one-hit relief. Grissom and Hartke were both 2-for-3, while Braydon Bone added a double.

Springfield Diamond Cutters    000    002    0    —    2-6-2
Effingham PAC                          000    001    2    —    3-6-1
Effingham PAC Pitching _— Brennan Poland, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB; Damian Riveria (WP), 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Effingham PAC Offense — Jacob Lorenz, run, SB; Logan Johnson, 1-for-3, SB; Austin Hartke, 2-for-3, double, RBI; Jordan Thoele, walk; Swayde Sanders, run; Damian Riveria, sac bunt; Rex Grissom, 2-for-3, run; Adam Koester, RBI; Braydon Bone, 1-for-2, double

Game Two
Knowing a win would guarantee a place in Sunday's four-team championship bracket, Effingham turned to Jordan Thoele to take the mound. Thoele did not disappoint, going the distance without walking a batter.

Still, the PAC trailed 2-1 before its bats came alive late, tying things up in the home half of the fifth before blowing up with seven in the sixth. Bone tripled to lead off the fifth and quickly came home on a Tristan Litaker sacrifice fly.

In the sixth, Litaker laid down a bunt for an RBI hit with the bases loaded and two out. That got the floodgates open as Grissom tripled to empty the bags and scored on a Jacob Lorenz base hit. Lorenz, who had a hit in all but one of the weekend's five games, was 3-for-4. Effingham tacked on two more runs in the sixth to leave no doubt on the outcome.  

Cincinnati FCA Sharks    011    000    0    —    2-  9-4
Effingham PAC                100    017    x    —    9-11-1
Effingham PAC Pitching — Jordan Thoele (WP), 7 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Effingham PAC Offense — Jacob Lorenz, 3-for-4, double, RBI, 2 runs; Logan Johnson, 1-for-4; Austin Hartke, 1-for-3, sac fly, 3 RBIs; Swayde Sanders, 1-for-1, walk; Damian Riveria, 1-for-3, run; Adam Koester, walk, run; Tristan Litaker, 1-for-2, 2 RBIs, run, sac fly; Rex Grissom, 1-for-2, walk, triple, 3 RBIs, run

With the No. 2 seed in hand, Effingham found itself matched up with the LITH Thunder in semifinal action. The PAC team took the lead for good with a pair of scored in the bottom of the third, breaking open a 3-3 tie on Grissom's two-run triple with an 0-2 count against him. Grissom was 3-for-3 with a double and triple, while Koester was 2-for-3. Hartke, Litaker, and Conner Greene all contributed RBI sacrifice flies.

A sore arm cut starting pitcher Sanders' day short after 2 1/3 innings. Johnson, who threw seven innings two days prior but without racking up a high pitch count, volunteered to take the ball and escape some third-inning trouble; he ended up recording the final 14 outs on just 35 pitches, missing the zone just three times and throwing strikes on 24 straight pitches to start his outing.

LITH Thunder      102    000    0    —    3-6-2
Effingham PAC    302    201    x    —    8-9-0
Effingham PAC Pitching — Swayde Sanders, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K; Logan Johnson (WP), 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Effingham PAC Offense — Jacob Lorenz, 1-for-3, run; Logan Johnson, walk, run; Braydon Bone, 1-for-2, walk, triple, RBI, 2 runs; Austin Hartke, 1-for-2, triple, sac fly, run, RBI; Rex Grissom, 3-for-3, double, run, 2 RBIs; Jordan Thoele, 1-for-3, double, triple, RBI; Damian Riveria, walk, run; Adam Koester, 2-for-3, double, run, 2 SB; Tristan Litaker, 2 walks, sac fly, RBI; Conner Greene, sac fly, RBI

The rematch with the Redbirds, who eliminated the Diamond Cutters 7-1, seemed to be going Effingham's way early as the PAC took a 3-0 lead, but the Redbirds rattled off four scores in the bottom of the fourth to snare a short-lived lead.

Hartke led off the top of the sixth with a base hit and came home on Thoele's run-scoring double over the left fielder's head. The home half ended when a Redbirds baserunner was called out on appeal for leaving second base early to tag up on a fly ball to center.

In the top of the seventh, Sanders drew a leadoff walk followed by a sharp single for Litaker. Greene laid down a bunt mean to be a sacrifice, although he ended up safe when the throw went late to third base. With the bases loaded, Poland snapped the 4-4 tie with a huge two-run single down the right field line. A Lorenz RBI single, a Bone sacrifice fly, and an error led to three more runs to put the game out of reach.

Poland also earned the pitching win in relief; he walked one in two hitless innings and got the win. Thoele was 3-for-3, while Lorenz and LItaker each had two-hit games.

Effingham PAC       002    101    5    —    9-12-1
Illinois Redbirds    000    400    0    —    4-  4-2
Effingham PAC Pitching — Rex Grissom, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 2 K; Damian Riveria, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB; Brennan Poland (WP), 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB
Effingham PAC Offense — Jacob Lorenz, 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Logan Johnson, 1-for-3, sac bunt, SB; Braydon Bone, RBI; Austin Hartke, 1-for-2, 2 runs; Rex Grissom, 1-for-3, sac bunt; Jordan Thoele, 3-for-3, double, 2 RBIs; Damian Riveria, 1-for-3, RBI; Swayde Sanders, 2 walks, run; Tristan Litaker, 2-for-3, 2 runs; Conner Greene, run; Brennan Poland, 1-for-2 walk, 2 RBIs

The Effingham 15U squad captured the championship of the 15U AA "Play the Turf" Tournament during the weekend at Lenz Field complex in Jacksonville. The tourney was a six-team field with the top four teams in pool play advancing to a four-team championship bracket.

Effingham fell in its opening game to the Illinois Redbirds 5-3. The local squad outplayed the Redbirds for a majority of the evening but a four-run frame was enough to do in Effingham. Saturday morning, Effingham edged the Springfield Diamond Cutters 3-2 in walk-off fashion. A seventh inning wild pitch with men on second and third netted the squad the tying and winning runs. In the afternoon, the local team whipped the Cincinnati Sharks 9-2 to secure the No. 2 seed in Sunday's proceedings.

In Sunday's semifinal, Effingham handled the LITH Thunder, a Chicago-area team, 8-3 while the top-seeded Redbirds took care of the Diamond Cutters 7-1 in their game. The title game was a rematch and the PAC club exacted revenge to the tune of 9-4 after breaking a 4-4 tie after six innings.

Effingham closes it's season this weekend with a tournament in Chesterfield, Mo.