AMF out of Wood River won the ASA Class D men's slow pitch softball state championship on July 26 in Decatur. Pictured is the team with their state trophy. Members of the team are: Keith Tillotson, Derek Edwards, Vinny Steele, Matt Delaney, Brandon Keene, Randy Cherry Jr., Nick Bramlet, Ryne Cherry, Nick Cline, Shayne Keene, Allen Turner and coach Randy Cherry Sr.
Win or lose, good or bad, the Class D and E men’s slow pitch softball state tournament is always an experience. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, there are plenty of memories made ... again, good and bad.
This year’s edition of the tournament at Decatur’s Rotary Park took place on July 24-26 and I was there playing in the E Division for my longtime team Tungett State Farm Rage. Unfortunately, we went 1-2 and produced a very unmemorable performance in our final game, at least one we’d like to forget.
The softball experience wasn’t bad for all the local flavor, though. AMF out of Wood River came away with the euphoria of a Class D state title.
AMF went 5-1 in the tournament, beating Yasney 14-4 in five innings, Grabber 10-8, TNT 18-3 in four innings and then Redrum 12-2 in five innings to reach the championship game. Redrum earned a rematch with AMF coming out of the loser’s bracket and forced a winner-take-all scenario with a 14-13 win over AMF in eight innings.
The local boys rebounded nicely though with an 18-8 five-inning triumph to secure the state trophy.
AMF pitcher Keith Tillotson was named MVP, while catcher Derek Edwards, shortstop Vinny Steele and outfielders Matt Delaney and Brandon Keene all earned all-tournament honors.
The rest of the team included Randy Cherry Jr., Nick Bramlet, Ryne Cherry, Nick Cline, Shayne Keene, Allen Turner and coach Randy Cherry Sr.
Solid defense and stellar pitching from Tillotson paced the way for the state champs.
One of the losses for our Rage team came at the hands of the eventual Class E state champion, which consisted of mainly players from Jerseyville and Carrollton. Weller Seed can boast strong defense as a catalyst to their state championship. I’ll vouch for them; I witnessed it first hand.
The team consisted of several members of Carrollton’s 2011 Class A state championship baseball team. Joey Coonrod, Jordan Harr, Dylan Barnett, Ryan Palan, Tanner Krumwiede and Cody Kraut were all from those state championship Hawks.
Coonrod went on to be named the Class E MVP in his first state tournament with the team, while Kraut, Barnett, Josh Vanausdoll, Brandon Williams and Nick Carter all earned slots on the all-tournament squad. Mitch Watkins was an honorable mention to the all-tournament team, too. Weller Seed plays their league games in Carrollton.
Not too shabby of a weekend for our little corner of the state.
Other teams represented the area too, just without such prodigious results. K&K Metal Works and Ace Tech Computer Services represented the area in Class D, while the ASI Steelers and Alton Sports Tap joined Tungett State Farm Rage in Class E.
Success on the softball field makes the weekend that much sweeter, so I’m sure for AMF and Weller Seed the memories were immediately gratifying. Losing definitely stings some and losing badly can leave an even longer lasting bad taste in your mouth, but the camaraderie and friendships forged over softball weekends are priceless.
Dennis “Honk” Miller, coach and player for the ASI Steelers, knows that. He’s the crafty veteran of the local crew of weekend warriors. Miller, 67, played in his 47th ASA state tournament in Decatur this year. He’s seen plenty of good and bad. Unfortunately, his Steelers matched us by going 1-2 on the weekend.
But there’s got to be some good coming out of it for Miller to keep coming back 47 times. I’m a little behind him. I only played in my 13th state tournament this year.
From goofy tournament haircuts to special state facial hair (my fabulous fu manchu this year), to going out to eat together as a team, to hijinks not appropriate to be discussed in a newspaper, there are plenty of memories to be made.
There’s nothing like a good group of teammates to spend the weekend with to keep you young. I know win or lose I’ll keep going back. I just hope one year I get to enjoy the feeling AMF and Weller Seed is experiencing right now. Congratulations, you’re state champs.
Locally softball players are now gearing up for the Class C co-ed state tournament scheduled at Gordon Moore Park in Alton on Aug. 14-16. Edwards and Randy Cherry, Jr. will be playing in the tournament with Revolution.
Last season Ball Park Motors of Jacksonville won the co-ed state tournament, while Alton Sports Tap finished second, Nergenan Farm of Chapin was third, Danville Lineoff took fourth, while Cat Daddy’s of Alton and Lotawata Creek of Fairview Heights shared fifth in the 18-team double elimination tournament.
Travis Steer of Ball Park Motors was the Most Valuable Player on the men’s side, while Sarah Lange was the female MVP for the tournament.
Brackets for this year’s edition of co-ed state should be out soon. It’s the only ASA state tournament remaining in the Greater Alton area.