Black Gold Comeback Falls Short In Black Gold Softball Classic

Written by Bob on July 18th, 2015
Matt Benz had four RBI in the Black Gold Softball Classic to help Black Gold place second in the tournament. Photo Courtesy / Kyle Quick, Quick News Now

Matt Benz had four RBI in the Black Gold Softball Classic to help Black Gold place second in the tournament. Photo Courtesy / Kyle Quick, Quick News Now

By Kyle Quick / Quick News Now
July 7, 2015

NEW HAVEN, Mo. – Black Gold men’s fastpitch team got off to a tough start in its own Black Gold Softball Classic, June 27-28, losing their first two pool play games and nearly being eliminated from their own tournament on Saturday.

The local squad then rallied and won three straight elimination games before falling in the fourth do-or-die affair to the Pinckneyville Falcons. The Falcons, 5-0 on the weekend, won the Black Gold Classic for the second consecutive year.

For the tournament, Cullen Speckhals led Black Gold with seven hits on the weekend with Brad Johnson and Jake Murphy recording six hits apiece.

Matt Benz and Terry Coon led the team with four RBI’s each. Eric Steinbeck pitched every inning of all six games for Black Gold, striking out 48 and giving up 37 hits.

    Pinckneyville Falcons 10, Black Gold 5

The championship game was a rematch of a wild, back-and-forth affair last year between the same two teams and this also did not disappoint. Black Gold went quietly in the top of the first inning. Pinckneyville did not arrive quietly, getting five consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first and batting all nine men to jump out to a 5-0 lead.

In the second, designated player Terry Coon and Haeffner tried to start a two out rally with consecutive singles, but Falcons pitcher Troy Downen got a strikeout to end the threat. Meanwhile, Steinbeck came back and retired the side in order.

In the top of the third, Black Gold got some two out magic to rally back into the game. Steinbeck led off the bottom with a single, but Downen quickly retired the next two batters. Brad Johnson and Jake Murphy loaded the bases with consecutive singles.

Third baseman Matt Benz then lined a Downen pitch deep into the left-field corner, temporarily clearing the bases. Unfortunately for Black Gold, there is no left-field corner at Lions Field due to a gap in the fence.

After a conference, the play was correctly ruled a ground rule double, forcing Murphy to return to third and Benz to second. However, the veteran Coon stepped up again with a single to right, scoring Murphy and Benz anyway to cut the lead to 5-4.

In the bottom of the third, the Falcons leveraged two singles, a sacrifice bunt, and an old-school rundown to make the score 6-4. Both Downen and Steinbeck quieted things down in the fourth and fifth.

Second baseman Haeffner started the sixth inning with a triple, waking up the Black Gold crowd and causing the Falcons to replace pitcher Downen with Bryant Hale. A Steinbeck RBI groundout brought home Haeffner to make it a 6-5 game.

Steinbeck retired the first Falcon on a comebacker in the bottom of the sixth, but two errors and three hits later, the floodgates opened to make it a 10-5 lead for Pinckneyville. Hale retired the middle of the Black Gold lineup in the seventh to win it for the Falcons.

To read about previous Black Gold games in the tournament, visit this link: Black Gold Comeback Falls Short

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