First Row: Nick Coughenour, Trent Aguiar Second Row: Doug Obenrader, Michael Schuetz, Cole Cavalline, Adam Graff, Michael Delbianco, Chris Suddeth Third Row: Mia Commendatore, Zach Case, Andy Kubay Coaches: Mike Graff, Doug Obenrader, Rick Coughenour, John Aguiar
“WHO ARE THOSE GUYS?” Following a very competitive late June tryout and evaluation process ten boys and one girl were selected to represent Hampton baseball on its 11 year old, B tournament team. The coaching staff immediately reserved spots in four consecutive July tournaments, including Brad-Mar-Pine, Pine Richland, Indiana and Bauerstown. The Bs made great strides over the course of the first two and were feeling extremely confident as the team headed down Route 910 for tourney #3, Indiana Township’s ITAA Classic. When the bracket came out for the ITAA the players in royal blue starting licking their chops as their old nemesis Cranberry was penciled in for the first round, a team that Hampton was winless
against in two previous tries. The Bs broke out the lumber early and often though, doubling up the score winning 16-8. The 12 team bracket only got more difficult in the 2nd round as a newly formed North Allegheny squad, chalk full of strong arms and big bashers, checked in on diamond #1. The boys (and girl) in blue and white sent the young Tigers to the loser’s bracket however, prevailing 7-5 in a closely fought contest. The third round had perennial tourney contender Avonworthrepresentingthe next challenge, however the team clad in red and white was easily swatted aside 18-2 in just four innings as the hot Hampton bats continued to smoke upon hitting line drive after line drive.
Earning the 2nd seed with its 3-0 record had Hampton squaring off against the formidable lineup from the Zeli-Harmony area team in the semi-finals. In the finest exhibition of baseball that any of the coaches could ever remember being part of, the #2 and #3 seeds combined for just three hits as stellar pitching and defense ruled the day resulting in a 1-1 tie after six innings of play. Hampton held Zeli in the top half of the 7th inning thanks to a head first dive by its catcher to block the plate, resulting in a face full of size nine spikes and a bloody nose but with the tie still intact. In the bottom half of the extra frame Hampton plated the winning run when the squad’s #5 hitter lined a low and away fastball over the 1st baseman’s head, putting the team in the final against NA with the Tigers upsetting #1 seed, host Indiana.
Thinking of nothing but gold the Hampton players immediately went to work against the revenge minded Tigers, plating five runs in the first and another two in the second while stifling the NA batters with excellent pitch selection and placement. The bottom half of the 3rd inning saw Hampton explode even more with an eight run onslaught that had the stunned and now subdued NA head coach turn to his assistants and ask, “who are these guys?”With three in the books the 11 players dressed in blue and white
had outhit the proud Tiger team 14-2. In the top of the fourth inning the Hampton D then registered its 3rd double play on an incredible diving grab by the SS who then doubled the runner off second to capture the championship for Hampton.
What the TEAM accomplished can’t be overstated. With the Cranberry squad, Hampton defeated a much bigger organization’s B-Team by eight runs, and then posted three straight victories over single team organizations in NA, Avonworth, and Zeli-Harmony that can all concentrate their association’s most talented players on one team.Despite being a mid-sized organization at best, Hampton divided its talent over two tournament teams. There were also numerous AAU players sprinkled across the rosters of the other teams as well. In addition, Hampton outscored its opponents 58-19 over the three day Indiana bracket, mercy ruling two of the teams in just four innings.
Championship Sunday had the Hampton squad playing 19 innings as it not only won the semi-final and final in the 90 degree afternoon heat in Indiana, but it also defeated a tough Bauerstown team earlier that morning to open up a tournament in Etna. So to answer the NA coach’s question see the picture above!