Day 3 – Elite Eight

For several teams at the 2008 ISC II Tournament of Champions, it was all about survival Tuesday as they fought and scratched and clawed their way into the Elite Eight who will contend for the title on Wednesday.

On the top of the bracket, Kitchener Outlaws prevailed over Rude Pac to become the first team to qualify for the Elite Eight with a hard-fought 3-2 win. Mel Ross paced the Outlaws both in the circle and at the plate, driving in two of Kitchener’s three runs, including the first and the third. Ross also carried a 1-hitter into the 7th only to have Rude Pac rally for two runs on the bottom of the seventh before closing the door.

Ashland Stockpack made the Elite Eight, again, on the strength of pitching by Ty McKinney and good sticks at the plate. Stockpack never trailed as they eliminated Hoffman Rise 5-3. Stockpack also has the loudest fans at the tourney, as there are several families supporting the team from Ohio.

The Ashland-Kitchener matchup can be heard on Ballpark Radio Wednesday at 9 am.

A surprise member of the Elite Eight is St. Paul ASB Villard. With workhorse Kevin Kammueller on the mound, ASB Villard took out Elora Wellington Brewers 3-1 before hanging on to beat Lloydminster Dodgers 4-3.

Matching up with St. Paul will be Waterdown Hammer. The Hammer, who have scored but 8 runs in winning all four of their games thus far, will look to scratch out another win as they did against Pete’s Blues, grinding out a 2-0 win to qualify for the Elite Eight.

One of those four teams will be in the final.

On the bottom half of the bracket, it’s been one slobberknocker after another.

After being upset in pool play, the California LumberKings won a pair of games 5-4 to advance to the Elite Eight. In the first, the top-ranked LumberKings held off Salt Lake City Innovative Communications in a see-saw affair to advance to face the Bridgeport Braves. Trailing 4-3 heading into the bottom of the 7th, Brian Teeters hit an inside-the-park HR to knot the game at 4. Ron Guzman then came up with the game-winning RBI to keep California’s hopes alive.

Ottawa Team Easton Thunder trailed Keating’s Fitness 1-0 until late in the game when they strung together some key hits to take a 2-1 lead. With Corey Costello firing bullets, the Thunder moved into the Elite Eight and will face California in the morning.

River City Rockers took the longest route into the Elite Eight with three big wins on the day, including an 8-0 shellacking of the defending champion TNT to open their day. River City then dumped Palermo Athletics 5-0 before coming up against Elmira Cubs. Trailing 2-0, the Rockers’ Mario Pereira drilled a two-run bomb to tie the game and set the stage for extra innings heroics as the Rockers won 3-2.

The final team to qualify for the Elite Eight were the New York Knights. Facing CPI in an all-NY State battle, the big boys from the city doubled their upstate cousins 6-3 to advance.

Again, one of these four teams will advance to the finals.

Will Mel Ross be this year’s Jeremy Tracy or will it be Ty McKinney? Can Waterdown Hammer score off Kevin Kammueler? Can Wayne Wells hold down ASB Villard long enough to give the Hammer a chance to scratch out a run? A year after he didn’t get the chance to face them in the finals, can Corey Costello beat the California LumberKings? Does Bryan Newton, who has thrown all but 3 innings of his team’s games due to an injury, have enough left to beat the high octane offence of the NY Knights?

All of these questions will be answered by about 4 pm tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

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