Chatfield defeated Dakota Ridge, 16-9, in the opening game of the 2012 Cherokee Trail Fourth of July Wood Bat tournament June 28 at Dakota Ridge High School.
Final results from the weekend-long tournament weren’t available at press time.
The game was a five-inning slugfest. In the end, it was Chatfield that managed to pull out the big guns when it counted, scoring six runs in the fifth inning before the game was called for time.
Rotating through two pitchers each Chatfield and Dakota Ridge sought to control the game by making batters guess at the pitch and then scramble to make it on base safely. Chatfield’s starting pitcher junior Brennan Gaber is a left-hander, which according to Dakota Ridge senior Dalton Berens made getting a hit a bit more challenging.
“I usually don’t hit lefties very well, so getting (a two-run, single) was great,” Berens said.
Berens’ hit to the gap in center field increased Dakota Ridge’s lead to 5-3.
“It started off with a curveball and I didn’t like it because it was up in the zone,” Berens said. “But then (Gaber) came right back with a fastball and I jumped on it and got good top spin on it to get ’em in.”
Throughout four innings Berens effectively hit the ball while manning his position as shortstop well. That is until he found himself on the receiving end of a jumping-bean groundball.
“I was feeling pretty good until I got that blow,” said Berens, with an ice pack to his right cheek.
Berens said his cheek was sore and that “it is a guaranteed” shiner, but noted that he was going to get checked out by the doctor to make sure that he didn’t have a concussion.
While Berens’ cheek will certainly show its bruise, both coaches were feeling beat up as well after seeing their teams not play to their full potential just three days after returning from the Battle of Omaha Tournament.
“Just three days ago in Omaha we played good ball, but we just didn’t show it today,” Dakota Ridge head coach Jeff Legault said. “We had four errors, three walks in one inning and just didn’t make the plays that we needed. In our defense, we hit the ball OK, scoring nine runs. But we gave up a bunch on defense.”
Despite Chatfield’s win, Chatfield head coach Mike Yansak had a similar sentiment.
“We battled through the middle and early portions of the game and then we were able to hit our way into a good lead late in the game,” Yansak said. “But defensively it was a little bit of a letdown.”