Even though the Milt Simons championship game didn't have much local flavor, Pinnacle Bank (Neb.) made sure it was still worth watching.
The Papillion La Vista Legion baseball club closed out an impressive tournament run with a 14-8 win over league foe Primetime Patriots (Neb.) Sunday afternoon at Harmodon Park, pushing their record to 15-2 this season.
Over the three-day tourney, Pinnacle outscored its opponents 74-15 in five games, including a pair of shutouts and a 23-1 rout of Yankton's Jr. Legion team.
"All summer long, we've been hitting the ball. I think our team batting average is over .400 this season," said Pinnacle coach Jesse Kimball. "We got some good pitching this weekend, but when you score that many, you don't need to shut them out."
Pinnacle did most of its damage in the heart of the order on Sunday as the Nebraska club's 3-4-5 hitters were a combined 5-for-6 with five RBI and six runs scored in the title game. The trio also accounted for three sac flies and two walks while feasting on a lack of control from Primetime pitchers.
The biggest jolt came in the third, though, when Pinnacle erased a 4-2 deficit by sending 12 batters to the plate and staying selective as the Patriots issued four walks in the inning.
Matt Gay and Cole Gruber jumpstarted the scoring carousel with back-to-back RBI knocks to knot the game at 4-4. But Primetime struggled to stop the bleeding as Gruber scored on a passed ball to give Pinnacle the lead before Aaron O'Dowd, Joseph Ludemann and eventually Gay each drove in runs later in the frame to break the contest open with seven runs in the inning.
"We were swinging the bat good coming in," said Pinnacle outfielder J.J. Benes, who was 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and three runs. "We saw some pitching that we liked and jumped all over it. Our goal was to dominate and put a lot of games away early."
Pinnacle continued to pour it on with a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings before Jake Placzek capped the scoring with a sac fly in the sixth that also helped secure a revenge win as Primetime won a previous matchup this season on a walk-off hit.
Although the Patriots (8-8) simply ran out of pitching by the time the championship game came around, coach Greg Geary wasn't about to make excuses for what was an otherwise successful weekend.
"It's a little tough for us sometimes on the weekends because our top two or three guys pitch for us in our league games during the week," he said. "But no excuses. Give (Pinnacle) a lot of credit. They can really swing. Every time we play them it's usually a battle. It's fun to compete against them because they do thing rights and we have a lot of respect for them."
Geary's club kept Sioux Falls Post 15 East from advancing to the title game with a 9-8 semifinal win. East had the game-tying run on third with one out before grounding into a game-ending double play in the seventh. Sioux Falls Post 15 West did not advance out of pool play.
The two Sioux Falls clubs will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the first of two regular showdowns at Harmodon Park.