Another tournament, another title for the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports Athletics.
The A’s have won three tournaments this season. They won their latest Sunday afternoon, when a combined one-hitter from David Stober and Jeremy Lufft guided them to an 8-0 win over the Lee’s Summit Outlaws in the Rod’s Sports A’s Hidden Valley Classic final at Hidden Valley Park.
“They’ve done an outstanding job and they’re working hard,” A’s manager Mike Rooney said of his players. “They’re a great group of young men.”
Rooney felt that Sunday’s championship was a reward “for their hard work.”
“They’ve been doing a great job the whole season,” he said. “They’re playing really good fundamental ball, not making many mistakes and eliminating our mental errors.”
Stober, who struck out six, allowed one hit and one walk and plunked three batters through six innings, also suggested that their latest title had resulted from being fundamentally sound. But he felt there was another contributing factor: the Athletics’ developing rivalry with the Outlaws.
“We like to take it to them as often as we can,” he said.
Outlaws manager Mike Gailey has noticed a rivalry developing – one that’s based on the respective records of the American Legion Zone 2 opponents. The A’s are 16-1 through Sunday. The Outlaws are 16-7.
“I think we’re the two best teams (in our zone) – and we'll see how we battle (it) out at the end,” Gailey said.
The A’s won the latest skirmish not only behind Stober’s arm, but also his bat. He doubled twice to go 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run. Six other A’s each had one hit.
The next A’s-Outlaws skirmish will be Thursday night at Hidden Valley Park.
“It’s going to be a big doubleheader,” Rooney said.
The A’s reached the finals with a 10-1 rout of the Elkhorn (Neb.) Post 211 Storm in their last pool game earlier Sunday.
Corbin Hare went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs to spark the A’s past Elkhorn. Lufft, Stober and Dillon Jackson also had two hits each. Stober, who doubled, and Kirk Finley each had two RBIs.
“I was surprised at the outcome,” Rooney said. “I thought that between them and the Outlaws, they’ve both got outstanding teams – and for us to beat both of them, I consider … (us) extremely fortunate.”
The Outlaws edged Belleville (Ill.) Post 58 4-3 in their last pool game Sunday.
Belleville and the Outlaws each put up two third-inning runs. The Outlaws broke the tie with a two-run fourth and yielded a run in the seventh.
Jackson Markham got the win for the Outlaws, striking out two and allowing seven hits, two runs and a walk through 4 1/3 innings. Dalton Woods pitched the seventh inning for the save, striking out two and allowing three walks, a hit and a run. Brett Conrow had two hits and one RBI and Seth Soto a double and two RBIs.
“That at the time was our fifth game (in three days) – and we asked a lot of some of the kids on the mound and everywhere else,” Gailey said. “We’re just kind of beat up, like everybody else. I was proud of the way they battled through and got the job done.”
The A’s prevailed 8-1 over St. Joseph Post 11 Saturday in pool play. Jared Lafal allowed only four hits and struck out two in coasting to the decision. Hare had a two-run double and Stober and Brandon Bennefeld each scored two runs.