Victoria wins first ever K-18 title
Published on -8/1/2012, 10:07 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
LUCAS -- Osborne head coach Marty Wolters summarized the K-18 state championship game with four words: "Walks will kill you."
It was a battle between undefeated K-18 squads, Osborne and Victoria, but instead of an offensive or a defensive duel, the result was determined more by each team's mistakes.
On Tuesday, Osborne (22-1) had the most miscues, and Victoria took advantage, scoring seven unearned runs in the fifth and sixth innings to win 11-6. For Victoria (25-0), it was the town's first K-18 state championship.
"It is awesome," said Victoria pitcher Taylor Rome. "... We had some rough games that we had to fight through, but overall, we did pretty good."
The Victoria Eagles had just four hits in the game, but they benefitted from nine walks, two hit batters and five Osborne errors to get their big lead. Osborne made three pitching changes in six innings but never found the right mix to seal its own leaks.
"They can't afford to give a team like us base runners, and we can't afford to give them base runners," Wolters said. "We gave up more than they did. That's what it boiled down to."
Osborne actually had a 4-1 lead after two innings, but Victoria battled back, narrowing Osborne's lead to 6-4 after four innings. Then Osborne made mistake after another. The Eagles didn't even record a hit in the last two innings but scored seven runs. In the last two innings, the Eagles got on base 11 times via three errors, six walks, a hit by pitch and a passed ball on a strikeout.
"There is going to be adversity, and there are going to be things that you have to fight through," said Victoria coach Kurt Dinkel. "We just kept saying we were going to chip away and plug away, and in the end, there are seven innings. We just felt good about that."
Osborne actually recorded eight hits to Victoria's four, but it was Victoria's ability to draw walks and get on base that won the title.
Rome got off to a rough start early on the mound for Victoria, but he settled down in the later innings, allowing just one hit in the final three innings.
Rome threw the complete game and allowed eight hits and six runs (two earned) while striking out 11 and walking four.
"They told me to never quit, and I didn't quit," Rome said. "They told me to keep it low and outside, and that's what I did."
No Victoria batter had a multi-hit game, but they did have some unusual stat lines. Rome drew three walks and scored all three times.
Shortstop Brady Dinkel reached first on three errors and scored all three times.
Catcher Eric McAlonan reached base on all four of his at bats, recording a hit, drawing a walk and getting hit by two pitches.
Right fielder Lane Kisner had two RBIs despite not actually hitting a ball into the field, drawing three walks -- twice with the bases loaded -- and striking out once.
For Osborne, catcher/pitcher Taylor Hamel went 2 of 4 at the plate with an RBI and run scored, and left fielder Christian Hamel finished 2 of 5 with two runs scored.
"I wouldn't trade any of the kids on my team for anybody on any team that we have played, but (Victoria was) the better team tonight," Wolters said.
Osborne's players and fans created the nickname "Stosborzona" for its collection of players from Stockton and Osborne and Hamel from Arizona.
After the game, the players' heads were down and they were visibly disheveled, but the fans consoled them and got them to chant the team's nickname one last time.
Though it was a tough loss, this "Stosborzona" team reached a point no other Osborne team had in two decades.
The last time Osborne made the K-18 championship game was in 1992 when Osborne won the championship.
For Victoria, Dinkel said he wanted this title to remind the kids of Victoria's baseball tradition.
Victoria won six high school state baseball championships in the 1960s and 1970s, and he said he hopes that tradition will inspire them as they continue their baseball careers.
"We are known as a football school now, but we have been a baseball town," Dinkel said.
"(Victoria's players in the 1960s and 1970s) laid the foundation. We are just trying to bring it back."