Members of Revolution, sponsored by Peel Wood Fired Pizza out of Edwardsville, pose with their trophies as the 2016 Class C Co-Ed state tournament on Aug. 14 at Gordon Moore Park. They went 4-0 in the rain-shortened tourney to defend their ‘15 title. Revolution also won in 2012.
Shorter method, same result. And another state championship trophy to hoist.
Peel Wood Fired Pizza of Edwardsville swept the Amateur Softball Association Class C Co-Ed state slow-pitch championship last weekend at Gordon Moore Park. The local team won all four of its tournament games to finish first in the 17-team rain-shortened event that ended Sunday.
“It’s cool to win it again and it never gets old,” Peel Pizza manager Travis Cook said after the team snared its third state title in five years. The squad reigned as Revolution in 2012 and prevailed as Westco last year.
Cook added, “The first time we won it with our best defense, the second time with a strong offense. This time I think we played a complete game in the championship game.”
Ball Park Motors manager Dan Lindley couldn’t argue with that. He watched Peel Pizza used a nine-run sixth to defeat them, 9-1, on Sunday morning. It turned out to be the championship contest because the remainder of the tournament was rained out. Ball Park went 3-1 over three days and finished second — again. Ball Park won it in 2013 and 2014.
“They have a great team,” Lindley said. “And they hit the ball and we didn’t do that when we played them. It came down to one game and the better team won.
“Overall, I thought we had a good tournament and we love playing in this tournament.”
All-tourney players Derek Edwards and Vinny Steele of Peel Pizza hit home runs and winning pitcher Bill Henricks chipped in with a two-run double against Ball Park. Henricks also was an all-tourney selection.
I’d Hit It of Marion placed third, while K&B Home Improvement of Jacksonville was fourth. K&B had to battle its way through the losers bracket after bowing in its tourney opener.
Peel Pizza had little difficulty in going 4-0, including two wins Saturday. Southwestern High graduate Brandon Keene, an outfielder, was named the Male Most Valuable Player. And Civic Memorial High grad Haleigh Jenkins, a third baseman, was chosen the Female MVP.
Keene hit .667 with two home runs and Jenkins batted .538.
“It’s definitely the best award I’ve ever won,” said Keene, playing his first year with the team. He previously was with I’d Hit It.
He noted, “It’s fun to win a state championship and this is a fun team. What makes it better is that we have all known each other for a long time.”
Jenkins, who played college softball at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, emerged as a key contributor at the plate and in the field.
“Our defense was strong, that’s for sure,” she said. “It’s the best to win a state championship because I’ve come out here and watched my parents play for it. So that makes it really nice.”
Pitcher Bill Henricks, outfielder Miriam Wegmann and utility player Amy Cook of Peel Pizza joined Keene, Jenkins, Edwards and Steele on the all-tournament team.
LeeAnn “Punky” Hittmeier, Sarah Lange, Latoya Branscomb and Chris Reller of Ball Park Motors also were selected to the all-tourney squad. So were Josh Smith and Tim Belford of I’d Hit It, plus Ashley Sanders of K&B.
Along the way, Peel Pizza defeated LJW Tax Service of Granite City, 13-3, Cat Daddy’s of Alton, 13-6, Chaos of Springfield, 15-7, and Ball Park. Thus, the team outscored its foes, 53-14.
In the championship game, Ball Park grabbed a 1-0 lead early on, yet Peel Pizza’s big sixth inning flipped the momentum and turned it into a lopsided victory.
“Ball Park is a good team, but we were able to have a big inning and put everything away,” Travis Cook said. “We kept playing our game.”
Different sponsors don’t seem to matter for Peel Pizza. The Greater Alton area-based team continues to make its mark at home within the cozy confines of Moore Park for the state co-ed finals.
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