By Ron Rop
The West Michigan Riptide 18U travel baseball team captured the Pastime Irish Elite Tournament Championship with an undefeated weekend.
The tournament was played at Notre Dame.
Riptide won all seven of its games with solid pitching and explosive hitting. They outscored their opponents 56-13 en route to the title.
Riptide had just 10 players to start the tournament due to graduations, the Muskegon All-Star Classic football game and the fact Muskegon Catholic Central was playing in the Division 4 state semifinals.
Pitching was particularly dominant, led by Ryan Butzer with two complete-game victories. He allowed no runs. Brandon Melchert, Mike Ginocchio, Cody Bayle, Zach Courtade and Sam Kuipers also posted victories on the mound.
Riptide, with Kuipers on the mound, defeated OTN Performance in the title game.
In the semifinals, Bayle was on the mount for a 3-1 victory over The Renegades, a team from south Florida.
The team’s most consistent hitter from start to finish was Eric Robillard, who finished at .687 (11-for-16). Michael Zeitlow batted .300 and scored 10 runs, including the winning run in the title game.
Zach Courtade delivered some key hits on his way to a .545 batting average. His hit in the title game plated Zeitlow for the final run.