Both Bock and Lions Field saw 7 hours lost to rain delays, so pool play was cut back from 3 games to 2 on Saturday for all teams, and the semifinal games on Sunday were shortened to five innings.
For the weekend, the young hitters shined for Black Gold. Jake Murphy, Cullen Speckhals and Roland Molina hit over .500, while Ben Held, Jake Johnson, and Tyler Johnson surpassed the .400 mark. Aging veterans also contributed, including pitcher Eric Steinbeck with a 2-0 record, or first baseman Matt Benz, who had more extra base hits than outs. Benz led Black Gold in hitting with a .667 average, featuring two doubles, a triple, a home run, and four walks.
Black Gold plans on playing in two weeks at the Nokomis Homecoming Tournament in Nokomis, IL.
Black Gold 5, St. Charles Tribe 3
Black Gold started the scoring in the 2nd with a single by catcher Ben Held, a wild pitch, and a ground rule double by first baseman Benz. The Tribe pulled ahead with two runs in the 2nd on three singles. Cullen Speckhals tied it in the 3rd with a single and Jake Murphy put Black Gold ahead in the 4th with another single, driving in Tyler Johnson who had doubled. Benz put the game out of reach in the bottom of the 5th with a two out, two strike home run to left center field.
For the game, Murphy had three hits, with two hits each by Tyler Johnson and Benz. Pitcher Eric Steinbeck went the distance, allowing 8 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 13 Tribe batters.
Belleville Stallions 18, Black Gold 15
With both teams already 1-0 and their spots in Sunday’s bracket play assured, a slugfest broke out. Jake Johnson pitched the first four innings and did well other than a rocky third inning. Black Gold got the lead back with a seven run 4thinning, but couldn’t hold on. Cullen Speckhals pitch the last three innings for Black Gold.
Hitting leaders for Black Gold were Matt Benz - 3 hits and a triple; Cullen Speckhals - 3 hits; Ben Held 2 hits and a double. Belleville was led by Mike Kline who homered twice.
Saturday’s other results
Stallions 7, Bowen 0 (5 inn)
Tribe 7, Bowen 6
Pinckneyville Falcons 8, Kelso 5
Boonville 5, Wizards 3
Falcons 5, Wizards 4
Boonville 6, Kelso 1
1st round bracket play - Black Gold 15, Wizards of Oz 4 (5 inn.)
The Wizards jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning with three singles off of starting pitcher Steinbeck. Black Gold and another two hour rain delay made the 3rd inning last a very long time for the Wizards, however, as Black Gold exploded for 11 runs. Key moments were a two RBI single by Murphy, a triple by Cullen Speckhals, and a double by third baseman Roland Molina, as 11 consecutive runners reached base. Black Gold also tacked on 4 runs in the top of the 5th including a Ben Held home run.
Steinbeck survived 7 hits, 3 walks, and 2 hit batters to pitch a complete game, striking out 6. Murphy, Molina, Cullen Speckhals, Held, and Jake Johnson had two hits apiece to lead Black Gold. Murphy had 4 RBI’s for the game and a triple, while Matt Benz added a double and two walks.
The other 1st round game saw the St. Charles Tribe knock off two time defending champion Pinckneyville Falcons 9-4. The Falcons had a 12 game winning streak at the Classic snapped as well.
Semifinal – Boonville 15, Black Gold 4 (3 innings)
Black Gold’s pitching ran out of gas in the semifinal matchup against eventual champion Boonville Fastpitch. Black Gold scored one run in the first on a Murphy walk, Speckhals single, and an error by the shortstop. They added three runs in the third featuring another triple by Speckhals.
In the other semifinal, the Belleville Stallions held off the Tribe, 3-2.