A third straight championship was not in the cards for the Wabash Valley 12-year old all-star team, as they ended up third at the Cal Ripken Southern Illinois State Tournament over the weekend.
After an easy win in their first game Thursday, Wabash Valley lost their next two contests to end their bid for a third straight title. Wabash Valley had won this tournament as 10-year olds in 2012 and again as 11-year olds in 2013.
Against Mattoon Friday, Wabash Valley fell behind early and never recovered in a 17-7 loss.
Mattoon scored seven times in the first and five more times in the second for a 12-0 lead. Wabash Valley plated two runs in the bottom of the second and three more in the fourth to pull within 12-5, but they would not get any closer. Mattoon tacked on three runs in the fifth, but Wabash Valley scored twice in their half of the inning to make the score 15-7, but Mattoon added two more in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Brayden Childress led Wabash Valley with a home run, two runs batted in and a run scored, while Trent Matthews singled and scored a pair of runs. Seth Staats, Tyler Weber and Elliott Stifle posted a base hit and a run scored apiece, Adam Pickering tripled and Brennen Burkett scored a run.
Burkett took the loss on the mound, giving up seven runs on six hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Staats tossed three and one-third innings of relief, allowing five runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out four. Matthews gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in an inning of relief and Dayton Thurman allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in an inning of work.
With a berth in the championship game on the line Saturday, Wabash Valley lost to Homewood, 9-3.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Homewood scored twice to take a lead they would not relinquish. Homewood broke through for four runs in the fourth for a 6-0 advantage, but Wabash Valley responded with three runs in the fifth to close the gap to 6-3. However, Homewood countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to seal the win.
Weber and Thurman led the offense with a single and a run scored apiece, while Kurtis Plew scored a run.
Stifle suffered the loss on the mound, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk in three-plus innings of work. Matthews gave up six runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out two in one and two-thirds innings of relief and Childress retired the only batter he faced in one-third of an inning.
Mattoon went on to beat Homewood in the championship game later Saturday, 10-2. Mattoon advances to the Ohio Valley Regional in Crown Point, Ind., July 24-27.