Just one week earlier, the Van-Far Indians baseball team found themselves on the losing end of a match-up with Community R-VI after the Trojans scored 21 runs in the win.
Then Indians began to turn the corner on their season last Friday night as they took Bowling Green to extra innings before losing in the ninth.
Van-Far gained enough confidence in that loss that carried over into the annual Community R-VI Tournament this past Saturday. The Indians left Laddonia with their first R-VI Tournament title under head coach Wes Rowden, who has been with the team since 2002.
“It was a great experience for the boys and they had a lot of fun on the day,” said Van-Far head coach Wes Rowden. “I am extremely happy for them.”
In the championship, the Indians took advantage of a pair of errors while their bats came alive for 13 runs in the first inning.
Pinch runner Caden Wilburn scored the first run. Josh Hodde later added an RBI double to score Logan Wilson.
Wyatt McDowell had a two-RBI triple and then scored on Mike Colson’s RBI single.
Klayton Haddock added an RBI single to score Colson. A hit batsman scored Layten McMillen. Brayden McMillen then scored on Hodde’s ground out.
Haddock scored on Treyson Culwell’s RBI double. McDowell picked up another RBI with a single. Colson and Brayden McMillen each added RBI singles in their second at-bat of the inning while Brayden McMillen had an RBI single.
After the Trojans scored two runs in their next at-bat, the Indians responded with Culwell’s RBI single, McDowell’s ground out for an RBI, and Colson’s third RBI with a single.
Community R-VI cut the lead to 16-7 in the fourth inning before Hodde tripled and scored on Culwell’s sacrifice fly for one run.
In the fifth inning, Hodde hit his second home run in as many days, this time it was a grand slam.
“Only the second one that I have had a ball player hit here at Van-Far,” Rowden noted.
Hodde, McDowell, and Colson each had three hits in the win.
Logan Wilson earned the win on the mound tossing four innings and allowing just one earned run. Hodde tossed one inning of relief and struck out three while allowing just one earned run.
In the first game of the tournament, the Indians stunned Sturgeon with a 9-6 victory.
Sturgeon led 4-2 early before Van-Far exploded for a seven-run third inning.
Van-Far had 12 hits in the win.
Layten McMillen, McDowell, Hodde, and Barsé each had two hits in the win.
McDowell picked up the win on the mound after tossing a complete game and allowing just three earned runs while striking out seven.
“We committed two errors in the seventh which allowed two more runs to score, but he kept his composure and just kept throwing strikes and we got the win,” Rowden said.
“…I am hoping this gives us the confidence we need to get us ready for our district. We are a better team than our record shows. We just need to eliminate the one bad inning and be more consistent defensively.”
Falling to Bowling Green
Before winning the tournament, the Indians took perhaps the best team in the EMO Conference to the brink before falling 9-8 in a road contest.
Van-Far scored five runs in the first inning. McDowell had a two-RBI triple followed by Layten McMillen’s home run over the centerfield fence.
Brayden McMillen later scored on an error.
After rain forced a delay on Thursday, the game restarted on Friday in the fourth inning as Van-Far scored two runs on Hodde’s two-run home run over the right centerfield fence.
Bowling Green closed the gap to 7-5 in the fifth inning with three runs.
Van-Far added a run in the sixth inning on Barsé’s RBI single that scored Haddock.
The Bobcats tied the game with a three-run sixth inning.
Both teams were unable to score until the Bobcats scored on a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Colson started the game on Thursday and finished the game in relief on Friday. He tossed five innings and gave up just one earned run on three hits with seven strikeouts.
Culwell tossed 3 1/3 innings in relief and had six earned runs.
“Both boys threw pretty well,” Rowden said.
Rowden was pleased to see the two home runs.
“We went nine innings with one of the best teams in the area,” Rowden said.
“We did not gain the win, but we gained some confidence and that is what we need at this time.”