Softball: EJ runner-up in Class C state final
Denzil Wilson (right) of EJ waits for the ball as Blake Landosky of Big Apple Bagels of Midland scampers back to third base during a game in the Class C Men's Fast Pitch State Finals Tournament in Charlevoix on Saturday. (July 23, 2012)
Bouchard's homer capped a wild back-and-forth game during which the lead changed hands several times and EJ -- which plays in the Petoskey Men's League -- tied it at 9-all with two runs in the top of the seventh.
Big Apple Bagels finished 5-0 in the 10-team tournament, while EJ went 4-2. Superior Vault 46ers of Hemlock finished 2-2 and placed third, while ACES of Homer also finished 2-2 and placed fourth.
Josh Bush and Nick Karaszewski of EJ earned individual awards, as did Sean Hoffman and Dave O'Keefe of Big Apple Bagels.
Bush hit .571 (12-for-21) with four home runs and 10 RBI and was named the tournament's outstanding hitter. Karaszewski was named the outstanding infielder after hitting .455 (10-for-22) with one homer and three RBI. He had a double, a triple and a home run among his 10 hits.
O'Keefe earned the outstanding pitcher award after going 2-0. He struck out 20, allowed 15 runs, 20 hits and walked five over 16 innings. Hoffman was named the tournament's outstanding outfielder. He hit .600 (9-for-15) with two homers and eight RBI.
Karaszewski and Bush opened the championship game with back-to-back homers to give EJ a 2-0 lead. Hoffman responded with a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 2-2.
The teams see-sawed from there and Big Apple went up 8-7 on an O'Keefe two-run homer in the fourth. Big Apple used a walk, two wild pitches and a fielder's choice in pushing across another run in the sixth to extend its lead to 9-7.
EJ scored twice to tie it in the top of the seventh and loaded the bases with none out. But a pop up, a strikeout and a flyout ended the threat.
Bouchard finished the game with two hits including a double and three RBI, while Josh Peterson added two hits including a homer for Big Apple.
Karaszewski, Bush, Tom Scott, Matt Werner and Denzil Wilson had two hits apiece for EJ. One of Scott's hits was a double.
Hoffman earned the win in relief of O'Keefe. Hoffman went 3 2-3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out one. O'Keefe allowed seven runs on seven hits over 3 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Nick McIntosh, the third EJ pitcher, took the loss. He went 2-3 of an inning and allowed just one hit, Bouchard's game-winning homer.
Stu Hancock started for EJ and Corey Essenberg pitched in relief. Hancock allowed three runs on three hits, walked one and struck out one over 2 1-3 innings. Essenberg surrendered six runs on five hits, while walking five and striking out four over 3 1-3 innings.
Big Apple Bagels opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Stallard Asphalt of Grand Rapids, the topped EJ, 9-1; defeated ACES of Homer, 6-4; and, in the semifinals, topped Superior Vault 46ers, 7-3.
EJ opened the tournament with the 9-1 loss to Big Apple, then came through the elimination bracket to reach the final. EJ topped Wilson Law of Midland, 6-5; topped Crouch Electric of Coldwater, 11-4; downed ACES, 9-4; and beat the Superior Vault 46ers, 15-3, before falling to Big Apple Bagels.
In EJ's 9-1 loss to Big Apple to open the tournament, Hoffman limited EJ to two hits, singles by Scott and Bush. Essenberg took the loss. He allowed nine runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking five over 3 2-3 innings. McIntosh went the final 1-3 of an inning. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the mercy rule.
Karaszewski had three hits including a triple and Bush had two hits including a home run in EJ's 6-5 win over Wilson Law. Scott added two hits. Hancock started and earned the victory. He allowed five runs on 10 hits, while walking one and striking out two over four innings. Essenberg held Wilson Law scoreless and hitless in three innings of relief. He struck out six and walked one.
McIntosh had four hits including two doubles and a home run in leading EJ past Crouch Electric. He finished with five RBI. John Bush added three hits including a homer and three RBI, while Kevin LaVanway singled and homered, and Karaszewski and Josh Bush added two hits apiece.
Essenberg went 5 1-3 innings in relief of Hancock for the victory. Essenberg struck out three and allowed just one hit. Hanock surrendered four runs on five hits over 1 2-3 innings. He struck out one and walked one.
John Bush had two hits including a home run to lead a 14-hit attack in EJ's victory over ACES. Josh Bush, Denzil Wilson and Werner each singled and doubled, Al Stallard added two hits, and McIntosh doubled.
Hancock was the winner while Essenberg pitched in relief. Hancock allowed three runs on five hits, while walking three over 4 2-3 innings. Essenberg went the final 2 1-3 innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out four and walking one.
LaVanway had three hits and John Bush singled and homered in leading EJ past the Superior Vault 46ers. Karaszewski singled and doubled, McIntosh homered, and Chris Loper and Stallard added two hits apiece.
Essenberg and Hancock shared the pitching duties. They cobined to allow four hits, strike out one and walk four. The game was called after four innings because of the mercy rule.