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 All-Stars Stun Field, Take Tournament Championship

July 30, 2008 - After it lost two of three games in pool play, the Knightstown 12-year-old all-star little league baseball team was the lowest seed in a marathon tournament played at Cambridge City over five days last week.

Then the youngsters did the unthinkable. They walked away with the championship trophy.

The Knightstown all-stars first played three pool games, losing the Centerville 16-4 and Cambridge City 10-7. Those losses were sandwiched around a 9-7 thriller against Seton Catholic and gave the young team a 1-2 pool record. That was good for the sixth, and last, seed in the tournament.

Knightstown drew top-seeded Connersville and upset the tournament favorites, 11-6. The win advanced the team to the championship game, where they completely dismantled the Greenfield all-stars in a 14-2 rout.

“I don’t think the tournament organizers expected that to happen,” said Joe Peggs, one of the Knightstown all-star team coaches.

Because Connersville was number one seed, they were given a first-round bye and allowed to play just one game - against Knightstown. It was thought that Connersville would then advance automatically into the final game of the tournament, while the other four teams battled it out having to win twice.

Knightstown threw a wrench into the spokes by upsetting the top-seed, in the process shocking everyone and throwing off the balance of the tournament. The single win put Knightstown, the sixth seed, in the championship game instead.

“The drawing probably should have been set up a little differently, but we’ll gladly take it,” said all-star coach Steve Bearhope. “Once we got into that situation we played really well and I imagine that surprised a lot of people. The boys definitely took it to those teams.”

It was a surprising, and long, road for the Knightstown all-stars. After losing two of the three pool games, the future Panthers were looking at a quick exit from the tournament when they were forced to go up against Connersville.

But six runs in the fourth inning and five more in the fifth shocked the entire field and sent Knightstown into the championship game.

Travis Isaacs and Spencer Mattix got things started in the fourth frame when they were both hit by a pitch. A base hit by Jacob Bearhope loaded the bases, and Logan Whitaker and Luke Chapple both drew walks, forcing home two runs.

That got Knightstown fired up. Dalton Engle, Tyler Burton and Adam Bundy all followed with hits and suddenly it was a brand new ball game.

In the fifth inning Knightstown kept the fire burning, striking for five more runs. Five consecutive batters collected hits, staring with a single by Drake Peggs. Isaacs followed with a single and then Mattix ripped another hit. Bearhope and Whitaker both followed with singles and suddenly Knightstown was in charge of the game.

Connersville managed just two hits off of the Knightstown pitching. Mattix worked three innings of no-hit ball. Whitaker and Peggs also shared mound time.

Burton was 2-for-2 while Peggs and Bearhope both had a 2-for-3 game. The surprising 11-6 victory launched the Knightstown all-stars into a frenzy and set the stage for the championship game.

Greenfield’s all-stars worked their way out of the main bracket and stood in the way of Knightstown’s goal of a championship trophy. They weren’t in the way for very long, however.

Knightstown came out blasting from both barrels, jumping on the Greenfield pitching for six runs in the first inning in the 14-2 win. Peggs started things off with a single and Isaacs doubled him home. Mattix then ripped a single to score Isaacs.

Bearhope, Whitaker, Chapple and Engle all drew walks, and a base hit by Burton sent the sixth run of the inning home. Knightstown had scored the maximum number of runs allowed in one frame without making an out, sending a clear message to Greenfield that they would soon be shocked victim number two.

Isaacs got things started again in the third inning when he slammed a one-out home run. Mattix singled and Bearhope drew a walk. With two outs, Chapple belted a single and Engle followed with a two-bagger. By the time the smoke had cleared Knightstown plated five more runs and the rout was on.

The team scored three more runs in the fourth inning when Adam Bundy, Brock Harding and Peggs all reached base and scored.

Whitaker and Mattix shared the pitching duties, combining for six strikeouts and allowing just two runs on three hits.

Mattix also had a tremendous day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Peggs and Isaacs both were 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Isaacs had a home run.

Burton collected two hits, while Engle and Chapple also hit safely.


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