Sullivan County Democrat
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Final Victory


Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

HE'S SAFE: As the Tri-Valley Bears watch from the dugout, teammate Bill Gorman slides into J-Y catcher Jim Kautz during the second inning of Wednesday’s title game. Gorman was safe when the ball was knocked from Kautz’s mitt.

Last WSL Title Goes to Tri-Valley

By Rob Potter
MOUNTAINDALE — June 9, 2000 -- Following Wednesday night’s Western Sullivan League baseball championship game between the Tri-Valley Bears and Jeffersonville-Youngsville Trojans – which was held under the bright lights of Baxter Stadium – several people remarked that the game itself was a fitting way for the final curtain to fall on WSL baseball.
The game – which was the final WSL title game ever, due to last year’s merger of Delaware Valley, J-Y and Narrowsburg – was a bit more enjoyable for the Bears and their fans, however.
A six-run second inning was the key, as T-V (16-4 overall) went on to record a 7-6 victory. The win also gave the Bears their fifth consecutive WSL baseball championship.
The spring’s third meeting between the teams was necessary after each squad finished its league schedule with a 10-2 mark.
“I’m going home to eat a bottle of Tums,” said T-V coach Jim Kelly. “That was a great way not only for the season to end but to end the league. You had two great teams going head to head and they battled right to the end.”
Part of the reason Kelly needed an antacid was the comeback spirit of the Trojans. After T-V’s six-run second inning and an RBI single by Brian Garber in the top of the fourth gave the Bears a 7-3 lead, the Trojans began scratching out runs. In the bottom of the fourth, leadoff batter Jim Kautz reached base on an error and then scored on a single by Ryan O’Mara to narrow the gap to 7-4.
O’Mara ended up on third following a balk by T-V pitcher Josh Lowitz and a ground out. He then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 7-5.
In the bottom of the fifth, James Christiansen scored on a passed ball to make it a one-run game.
But Lowitz (9-2), who gave up five hits, walked six and struck out five on the evening, set the Trojan batters down in order in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the win.
“It was a good game, but a tough game to lose,” J-Y coach Dan Hart commented. “Tri-Valley is a very good team. We had a nice comeback, but couldn’t get any closer.”
J-Y (12-4 overall) actually got on the scoreboard first with a three-run first inning. RBI singles by Maynard Schmidt and Jon Fanning and a T-V error gave the Trojans the early lead.
But that advantage was erased in the top of the second when 10 Bears went to the plate.
A pair of J-Y fielding miscues and solid RBI singles by Ben Monell and Durk Pearston gave T-V its first four runs. In fact, Pearston’s hit back up the middle plated Monell with the go-ahead run.
Garber then followed with a single to right field that scored both Lowitz and Pearston for the 6-3 lead.
“My hat’s off to Jeff, they played a great game,” Kelly said. “We had that one big inning, but then they battled right back and made us work for it.”
O’Mara took the loss on the mound for the Trojans. He gave up nine hits and struck out six.
Hart was obviously disappointed by the final score, but not by his team. He praised the Trojans – particularly seniors Adam Hauser, Kautz, O’Mara, Sean Ruppert and Schmidt – for their tenacity.
“They played their butts off tonight,” he said. “I would take this team and play anywhere. They are a great group of kids and I’m sad to see the season end this way.”



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