Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Reaper Crew's championship comeback caps undefeated run

A pair of softball teams from Crescent City squared off in the championship game at the Del Norte County Recreation Department's Battle at the Border Softball Tournament this weekend at Pyke Field.

In a tense finale Sunday night, the Reaper Crew overcame a 10-run deficit to defeat the Flying Boys, 24-19, and take home the trophy.

"That was the first time we were down the whole tournament," Reaper Crew team captain Cameron Van Landingham said.

Indeed, Reaper Crew had defeated the Flying Boys earlier on Sunday to make the championship game; under the tournament's double-elimination format, the Flying Boys had to win a consolation game to stay alive.

They did just that, and by taking a 16-6 lead into the middle of the fourth inning (each game lasted seven innings), the Flying Boys put themselves in position for a winner-take-all second game against the undefeated Reaper Crew.

"We didn't want that," Van Landingham said. "Then they (would have had) all the momentum coming in."

The Reaper Crew, the home team in the championship game, started the bottom of the fourth inning with consecutive flyouts. However, the next nine batters reached base safely as the Reaper Crew cut the deficit to 16-13.

The Flying Boys' bats went cold at precisely the wrong time. They scored one run in the fifth inning (on a sacrifice fly) and no runs in the sixth inning, set down 1-2-3 by the Reaper Crew defense.

"Our defense was solid all weekend," Van Landingham said. "We weren't messing around."

Seth Cemino hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning to put the Reaper Crew up 19-17, a lead they would not relinquish. The Crew added five runs in the sixth inning after their first seven batters safely reached base.

The Flying Boys hit two home runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning but could not sustain a comeback.

Byron Gardner of the Reaper Crew was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament. Steven Daniels of the Reaper Crew took Golden Glove honors, and Ross Dickey of the Flying Boys was crowned Batting Champ. Dickey also won the Battle at the Border Home Run Derby on Saturday afternoon.

All-tournament selections for the Reaper Crew were Isiah Nelson, Andrew Antonetti and Sam Jaskar. Dave Brous, Berto Marx and Travis Coulson represented the Flying Boys on the all-tournament team.

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