Ida had enough players this year to field two teams in the 62nd annual Monroe County Fair baseball tournament.
Children were classified according to age on Ida Blue and children on Ida Gold.
The draw for the tournament pitted both Ida community sides against each other on the first day on Saturday.
“It makes it exciting,” Ida Gould coach Eric Mason said. “We knew it would be a great opportunity to play them. The kids were excited to play it.”
Age meant little on a diamond.
Ida Gold led their senior counterparts throughout the game but never trailed as Ida Blue held on for a 6-5 victory.
“It was a good win,” Ida Blue coach Mike Brown said. “It was a good game for both of us. We played right down to the wire.”
Both coaches agreed that the outcome was never predetermined.
“They’re good ballplayers,” Brown said. “They’re a really good team.”
“They knew we were a strong team,” Mason said. “I know our guys were ready to play.”
The game ended prematurely after only five innings as per time regulation. It was a disappointment for Ida Gould, who scored twice in the top of the fifth and loaded the bases.
Mason felt the momentum was on his team’s side.
“We were coming,” he said. “We were struggling and trying to do it. I think we just needed more time. But, in the end, if we had been more aggressive with the batsmen earlier, it would have taken care of itself and we wouldn’t have had to worry about time. “
Ida Blue also felt the pressure and was in no hurry to help his opponent. Blue’s first two batters in the bottom of the fifth were struck out on just five pitches, but the next two pitches sealed Gold’s fate.
“Slow it down, get out, tie your shoe, adjust your glove. Slow it down without making it too obvious,” Brown joked. “I looked at it as one of our biggest hurdles, so we’re going to celebrate it.”
Ida Blue’s early lead gave him the edge. Gabe Sontag, Cole Brown and Brayden Chapman scored to put the team up 3-0 in the first inning. Runs by Chapman and Hank Blatchford in the third extended the lead to 5-3, and Jack Rose scored in the fourth to make it 6-3.
Chapman led Ida Blue by finishing 2-for-3 with a double and a triple, Spencer Hilleman went 2-for-2 with a walk, and Blatchford, Rose and RJ Sager each added a hit.
Sontag was the winning pitcher with Chapman and Brown also pitching strongly.
“Our pitching was strong,” Coach Brown said. “All three of our guys were strong, strong pitching.”
Ida Gould scored a run in the fifth.
Cade Uhl smashed a home run over the left field fence to make it 6-4.
“That was great,” coach Mason said. “It’s the first time he’s hit any home run that I know of, and definitely the first time over the fence. He’s been swinging the bat really well, so it’s no surprise. … It shocked us a little bit, for sure.”
Bryce Maddux and Sam Branjord singled and Harley Pfeiffer walked to load the bases. Maddux scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-5.
It was as close as Ida Gould would get. The loss moved the team into the lower bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
“If we play the way we’ve been playing and be more aggressive with the bat, we’ll be fine,” coach Mason said. “We’ll hunt, we’ll win some games and we’ll work our way up to the top half.”
Ida Blue advance to the winner’s bracket semi-final against Ash Carlton on Sunday at 10am.
Summerfield 13, Monroe 7
Summerfield’s batters made a late splash against Monroe, breaking a 5-5 tie with eight runs in the fifth inning.
Eli Newell and Connor Harrigan singled, and Kenton Mueller and Dylan Harrigan struck out four of the first five batters in the top of the fifth. The next four also reached by mistake as the mistakes helped put Monroe down.
Connor Harrigan led Summerfield with three hits, Jacob Horak had two and Dylan Harrigan, Grady Whiting, Josh Horak, Mason Trout, Cason Lehr and Eli Newell each added one.
“We have a strong team, so I knew if we played our game we had a good chance to win,” Summerfield coach Denny Harrigan said. “I was proud of the guys. They were close early, but we got out in front and didn’t give up. They just kept going after it.”
Summerfield advances to the winner’s bracket semifinal against Frenchtown on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
“We just want to start off a little faster,” Coach Harrigan said. “I think our confidence will be a little bit higher than today, so we want to believe that.”
Conor Harrigan was the winning pitcher for Summerfield in relief.
“We had some things we could have cleaned up and done a little better, but it was a good game,” Monroe coach Jeremy Molenda said. “I thought it was a good game. I was happy to be a part of it. We would have rather played a W, but it was a good game.”
Despite some costly mistakes, Monroe’s defense stood out as the best game of the tournament. The team forced a triple play to avoid a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth.
“It was amazing,” Molenda said. “It started with a good catch and then some quick thinking from our second baseman. … I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team that played a triple. It’s nice to do that in Fair.”
Monroe’s Blake Sroka was 2-for-2 with a double and a sac fly. Josh Frankel and Quintin Kaczmarek also had hits for Monroe, which will take on Dundee in the lower bracket Sunday at 3:15 p.m.
Frenchtown 15, Dundee 0
Frenchtown had 13 hits in three innings of mercy-rule victory over Dundee.
Caleb Henry highlighted an eight-run second inning with a leadoff home run to put Frenchtown up 4-0. Nine of the next 10 batters reached base safely, including runs scored by Jett Jones, Brady Cannatella, Brayden Berkmeier, Nick Miller, Jayden Hopper, Cam Cousineau and Christian Kranen.
Berkmeier led the way with three hits, Miller and Boggs each scored two and Grant Pfeffer drove in two.
Boggs tossed a three-inning no hitter, allowing one walk with nine strikeouts.
Frenchtown advances to the winner’s bracket semifinal against Summerfield at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
Caden Swaro and Brett Kominek reached base safely for Dundee, who will play Monroe in the lower bracket on Sunday at 3:15 p.m.
Ash Carlton 14, Mason 0
Caden Apple and Jeffrey Kemp pitched four no-hit innings for Ash Carlton in the tournament opener.
Mason drew four walks and a hit-by-pitch to get some action on the base paths but otherwise stumbled at the hands of Ash Carlton.
Landon Pittock led the Ash Carlton offense with two hits, including a three-run homer in the first inning. Kayden Apple, Ayden Curry and Reid Oemler also had hits. Ash Carlton batters drew 10 walks.
Ash Carlton will take on Ida Blue in the winner’s bracket semifinals at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Jared Tunison and Parker Williams had back-to-back walks to lead off the second inning for Mason, but the next three batters stranded them.
Mason falls into the lower bracket against Ida Gold on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.