T.N.T. duo are dynamite!

T.N.T.’s dynamic duo of Jeremy Tracy and Jay Herr exploded on the California Lumberkings Saturday morning combining for three home runs, four RBIs and a dominating three-hit pitching performance as the ISC II title heads south of the Canadian border for the first time ever and will reside in South Lebanon, Pennsylvania with T.N.T.

Tracy set the tone early, following a lead-off walk to Bob Wengert with a two-run home run. In the the third inning, Tracy ended Lumberkings’ starter Darren Strang’s day with a solo shot. Herr greeted reliever Ed Gaspar with a first pitch line drive HR, his record 7th of the tournament, to complete the scoring for the new champions.

The Lumberkings got two back in the 5th inning as Jon Nimmo belted another tape measure home run to score Kevin Castillo who had led off the inning with a walk. But that was all for the #2 ranked California team as Tracy shut the door the rest of the way, inducing a ground ball to second for the final out.

Herr was named the MVP and also garnered awards for Top Hitter, .571 heading into action Saturday, and Most RBIs with 16.

Tracy, who finished 7-0, was the Top Pitcher.

After three days of close competition in the round robin portion of the Tournament of Champions, the three playoff rounds on Friday produced even better games and ever-increasing pressure that culminated in two semi-finals that may never be duplicated for sheer drama.

On diamond one, Herr clobbered a rise ball from Niagara Snappers’ ace Corey Costello in the bottom of the first inning to plate himself and Tracy who had walked. The two-run lead would stand into the top of the fifth when Adam Dearborn sent one over the left field bleachers to make it 2-1. In the Snapper sixth, Costello drove a ball into right-center that was never more than 15 feet off the ground when it disappeared between the bleachers to even things at two.

With nothing settled in the 7th, the two teams headed into the eighth using the international tie-breaker rule starting a runner at second. Scott Young executed a perfect sacrifice bunt moving pinch runner Kres Anderson to third. After a walk to Jarrod Burtt, Costello hit a hard two-hopper through a drawn in infield to put the Snappers out in front 3-2. However, that was as far as the last Ontario team would get as they were unable to extend the lead.

In the home half of the 8th, Herr crushed the second pitch over the left-center bleachers for the come-from-behind, walk-off home run to send T.N.T. to the final, setting up the first all-American final.

Over on diamond two, it was a lock that a California team would make the final for the first time as the California Lumberkings were facing A-1/Taylor Farms, their rivals from upstate. A-1/Taylor took an early 3-0 lead on RBI singles by Jason Gluckman in the 2nd inning and by Greg Oliver and Jeff Twist in the 3rd.

The Lumberkings got one back in the 4th as Tim Hunt scored on a passed ball. In the top of the 7th, the Lumberkings closed the gap to 3-2 on an RBI double by Brian Teeters to score pinch runner Ryne Hicks. With the bases loaded, Tim Hunt worked A-1/Taylor pitcher Dave Drotzman for a walk to score Kasey Knight, sending the game into extra innings.

In the Lumkerkings’ 8th, ITB runner Kevin Castillo was sacrificed to third by Chris Hunt and scored on a wild pitch. Jon Nimmo then launched a massive solo HR for what turned out to the be the winning run. For A-1/Taylor in the bottom of the 8th, Rich Moore singled to score Eddie Martin. After a single by Marcus Tan and a walk to Greg Oliver, Jeff Twist bounced into a controversial game-ending double play as it was ruled that Oliver was off the baseline trying to avoid the tag.

Three games. Two extra innings games. Bases loaded pressure. Walk off home runs. Unrivaled drama. One champion. Memories that will last a lifetime. Priceless.

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