By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

The West Michigan Riptide 14U travel baseball team captured the Wisconsin Dells Season Finale Tournament with a 4-1 record last weekend.

The tournament was hosted by Game Day USA Baseball.

In the title game, the Riptide outlasted the Elgin Warriors 11-10 for the tournament crown.

Riptide cruised to a 10-2 lead early on, but the Warriors fought back to tie the game and force extra innings. Using international rules, each team began extra innings with a runner on second base and the hitter beginning with a 1-1 count.

With Tyler Trovinger on second base, Elijah Wilson dropped a sacrifice bunt that advanced Trovinger to third base. Jared Kelly delivered a double to leftfield that plated the go-ahead run. Riptide threatened further after a base hit by Riley Draper, but could not extend the lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Draper closed it out by inducing a popup to first base, a slow roller to the mound and a strikeout for the final out.

En route to the finals, Riptide defeated the Elgin Warriors 7-5 behind the pitching of Hayden Cregg and the hitting of Nate Wahr, Trovinger and Draper. That game was played last Friday.

In a Saturday morning contest, Riptide led 3-0, but were overcome by the Kenosha Merchants 5-3. That setback put Riptide into a “wait and see” mode to see if it would advance to Sunday’s play. The team’s fate was determined in the last game on Saturday night.

Four teams with 1-1 records needed tiebreakers to determine which team would advance. Riptide, based on allowing six fewer runs. Thus, Coach Matt Geoghan’s team earned the sixth, and final, spot in the tournament round.

Being the No. 6 seed meant Riptide had to face Oak Creek Lightning, the No. 3 seed. The back-and-forth game went into extra innings with Riptide prevailing 7-6. The pitching of Logan Layman, Jared Kelly and Trovinger was key in the victory. Layman, Wilson and Jared Wierengo were the top hitters. Wierengo’s double knocked in Tyler Murak with the winning run.

Riptide unleashed their bats with a 15-hit attack in the semifinals and defeated the second-seeded Kenosha Merchants in a three-inning game. Cregg was the winning pitcher. He allowed one hit.

That result put Riptide into the final game.