By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
CORBIN – The Corbin Little League baseball tournaments came to an end this weekend with a trio of championship games on the menu.
In Rookie League action, the Stars needed its final at-bat of the game to pull out a 9-8 win, and was able to get the job done in walk-off fashion, the Hot Shots.
The Cubs capped off a perfect season by getting past the Athletics, 7-0, to claim the Minor League Tournament championship after finishing the regular season with a 13-0 record. The win gave the Cubs a final tally of 15 wins and no losses.
Dr. Pepper, a team that caught fire during tournament play, fought back from a 5-0 deficit to claim the Little League Tournament championship with a gutsy 9-6 win over TECO Coal. Dr. Pepper entered the tournament with a 5-9 record.
Cubs 7, Athletics 0
The Cubs closed out a perfect season in the perfect way, receiving five innings of shutout baseball from starter Grant Dickerson in the win. Dickerson kept the Athletics off-balance the entire night, limiting them to just three hits through five innings with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Josh Oliver paced the Cubs on offense by going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a run scored and four RBIs in the game. Quinton Botner and Peyton Addison added a hit each, while Addison and Will Brock each drove in a run for the Cubs.
The Cubs jumped ahead with a five-run third inning and never looked back. They were able to end things in the fifth when Oliver connected with a two-run double to push across the winning runs, putting the game out of reach due to a five-run per inning limit with just one inning left to be played.
After the win, Cubs coach Jodi Botner talked about his team's effort and how proud he was of them for finishing the season undefeated.
“They've put the bull's eye on us all year long by being undefeated and they've put the pressure on us coaches, too, but they did a good job of playing under pressure,” he said. “We had a lot of tremendous plays and we've had several inside-the-park home runs, almost had a real home run yesterday, but these kids have played well all season long.
“Grant Dickerson is one of the best that I've seen at this level as far as throwing strikes, so I give him a lot of credit,” he added. “Give credit to the A's because they have a good team and they battled. The important thing about this is that after this is all over, all of these kids will be over here in the grass throwing baseball back and forth at one another because when it's all said and done, these kids are all still friends.”
Dr. Pepper 9, TECO Coal 6
It may have taken a while, but Dr. Pepper finally showed a little pep in their step after falling behind 5-0 in the bottom of the third inning.
Dr. Pepper answered with a four-run spurt in the top of the fourth inning, but TECO countered with a run in the bottom of the inning to push the lead to 6-4 heading to the top of the fifth.
Dr. Pepper was able to take the lead with a three-run rally in the fifth inning to grab a 7-6 edge heading into the bottom of the fifth. Zack Hash, who came on in the fourth inning in relief for Dr. Pepper, was able to hold TECO scoreless in the fifth, giving his team a chance to add a few insurance runs in the sixth.
That's exactly what they did by extending the lead to 9-6 before TECO came up to bat with one last shot at the win.
It wasn't meant to be for TECO as Hash struck out three of the four batters he faced in the final inning to seal the game and earn the win for Dr. Pepper.
After the game, Dr. Pepper coach Dan Hash said he was proud of the way his team followed a game plan that was talked about before the contest was played.
“The way the guys battled is a sign of the way they started understanding as the season has went on,” he said. “A lot of kids at this level, if they make a mistake, they'll hang their head and that sort of thing,” he added. “We've stressed all season to play forward. You have to learn from your mistakes, but you have to get past the last play.”