Suffering its first loss of the year in postseason tournament play meant Gary Steele Karate Studio would have to step it up and win both sides of a two-game series Friday for a chance at the tournament title.
That’s exactly what the Gary Steele team did by first defeating Barr’s Furniture 10-4 in game one, then they had their revenge on Game Xchange … usually a dish best served cold … in the sweltering heat and humidity on Dottie West Field returning the service by winning the contest 6-1 to qualify for a final matchup – winner take all – Monday.
For the first two innings, both teams struggled to jump start their offense with Gary Steele’s Jathan Bogle being the only runner to cross home plate for a 1-0 lead.
The deciding factor Friday was a big fourth inning for Gary Steele with Will Wrisner driving in two runs with another over-the-fence right field home run, his sixth this season. Kendall Patrick and Jathan Cagle would also score for a 5-0 lead.
Although down, they weren’t out as Game Xchange wasn’t going to go quietly, but couldn’t muster the offense only scoring one run from Sam Davidson in the fifth.
To get back to Game Xchange, Gary Steele had to deal with Barr’s Furniture first.
Barr’s initially jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Baler Melton crossed home for the lead. Gary Steele wasn’t resting on its laurels, however, as Taylor Smith and Will Wrisner rebounded with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
A huge third inning for Gary Steele left the karate crew with a positive vibe as Smith, Bogle, Wrisner, Kendall Patrick, Cagle and Austin Connors corralled 5 runs in the third for a 7-1 lead. Just when they thought they might get some breathing room, Gary Steele Karate Studio’s Wrisner and Patrick upped the ante to a 9-1 differential in the fourth.
In a final act of defiance, Barr’s Furniture rallied the troops and Brady Melton, Dean Marquez and Alec Johnson put three on the board before the inning was retired.
With the loss, Barr’s Furniture is third place in the tournament tally. It comes down to one game Monday to see who the 12-14 boys youth league champions will be for 2017.