Tiffany's ends season with 5th place finish in Indiana
The Tiffany’s Food & Spirits men’s fastpitch team capped its 2017 season with a trip to Elkhart, Indiana last week.
Tiff’s competed in the USA Softball Fastpitch Men’s Open East National Championships, competing in the open division despite being without their ace pitcher, Pete Loachridge, due to injury.
When the final pitches and swings were completed, the red and black finished in fifth place.
Tiffany’s Manager Dick 𠇌oot” Krueger picked up pitcher Rick Engle from Midland and his two young hurlers Kyle Gnatkowski and Drew Thompson.
Game one saw Tiff’s take on the Duncan Outlaws from Indiana.
“We haven’t beat them in four years but Rick was up to the task,” Krueger said.
The local fastballers downed the Outlaws, 6-3, behind three double plays turned in by the infield to stop key rallies.
Jamie Tackabury paced the offense, going 2 for 4 with a home run. Alex Phillips, another lineup addition, was also 2 for 4 with a homer.
The Grand Rapids Grey Sox were next and they toppled Tiffany’s, 6-1. Engle suffered the loss. The Sox scored three runs in the first inning and added two unearned runs in the sixth inning. The Sox went on to win the championship, besting McDaniel’s Concrete from Missouri, 4-1.
Thompson and Phillips had the only hits off the Sox’s Argentinian pitcher.
The offense got on track in game three as Tiff’s downed Diamonds in the Rough, 8-5. Gnatkowski earned the win on the mound, going the distance for the triumph. Tackabury was 3 for 4, Brad Gnatkowski contributed three hits and Gnatkowski and Phillips had two hits each. Brent Cork cracked a home run.
Game four was against the Diamond Dogs from Ohio and Thompson went the distance for a 6-4 victory with a strong performance.
𠇍rew gave up three runs in the fifth inning but held in there for the win. This is the team we beat last year for the national title so it was good to beat them again,” Krueger stated.
Kyle Gnatkowski totaled three hits, Cork was 3 for 3 and Tackabury added two hits.
On Saturday night, Tiffany’s met McDaniel’s Concrete and Engle was tagged with the 5-2 loss. McDaniel’s scored all five runs in the second inning.
Tiff’s never gave up. In the top of the seventh inning, Tiff’s scored its second run of the game and had runners at second and third base. But a strikeout ended the threat and the game.
Kyle Gnatkowski was 3 for 4 and finished the tourney batting .500 – 9 for 18. Phillips banged out a home run and he was 7 for 17 with a triple and two homers.
Tackabury ended up 7 for 17 with a homer, Cork was 5 for 17 with a dinger and Todd Sprowl was 5 for 13 with a triple.
“I can’t say enough good things about the infield of Phillips, Cork and Sprowl. They made fine plays game after game, along with Kyle (Gnatkowski) who made three outstanding plays in the outfield to keep the games close,” Krueger said. 𠇍rew Collison also made a diving catch in right field to save a game from being tied.”
Tiffany’s finishes the 2017 campaign with a 19-18 record. Krueger said the future is bright for his young squad, as they got better and better as the summer wore on. He’s also counting on Loachridge to be healthy and ready for action in 2018.
“We𠆝 like to thank Russ and Tracey Baker for the last 29 years of sponsorship. They are the best sponsors a team could ever have,” Krueger said. We wish to thank all the fans for their support and they are welcome to stop by our Auto Fest bratwurst stand on Friday, September 8, in front of Tiffany’s.”