By JOSH SIGLER KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — King’s Heating manager Jeremy Moon remembers what it feels like to finish second in the David A. Kasey Memorial Youth Baseball Tournament, doing so as a child playing for Amber Electric of Eastside in his days as a major leaguer.
Now, in a new role as the skipper, Moon will have another crack at finding out what it feels like to take home the hardware.
King’s improved to 20-1 Wednesday night after a 10-0 win over Southside’s Rocchio’s in a run-rule shortened contest which lasted four innings.
“I never really thought this tournament [was winnable] because we only have two 12-year-olds,” Moon said. “We just never had the opportunity in our league draft to draft many 12-year-olds. But, we teach the kids the fundamentals of baseball and it’s worked for us. They play good defense, and although they don’t intimidate anybody with their size, they play baseball.
“It feels really good right now. I remember being runner-up at Eastside as a kid, and that was not a good feeling, so let’s finish this off [today].”
One of Moon’s 12-year-olds, pitcher Logan Bowser, put forth a performance to remember, hurling a no-hitter and delivering the game-ending RBI from his lead-off position. Bowser struck out four and walked three, and after his offense gave him a sizable cushion with a nine-run outburst in the third inning, he smacked an RBI single back through the box with two outs in the fourth, plating Cameron Arcari to finish off the 10-0 victory.
“I’ve been with Logan since minor league and he’s always been clutch,” Moon said. “When I had him at short stop, he ran all over the field. I had to teach him to play his position and let everyone else be accountable for their position. He’s always had a gun, and it’s been a lot of fun watching him develop. He’s like one of my own, and I’m going to miss him.”
Rocchio’s (15-10) aided King’s’ nine-run rally in the third with four errors. Elijah Moon rifled a two-RBI single down the third base line to break the scoreless tie early in the frame. Drew Bowser added an RBI single, Logan Bowser and Matthew Arcari notched RBIs by drawing bases-loaded walks, and Jaden Armfield added a three-RBI double to cap the monstrous rally.
Armfield finished with two hits and three RBIs. Cameron Arcari added a pair of hits and Logan Bowser and Elijah Moon both added a pair of RBIs in the win.
Shortly after the win, coach Moon took little time to celebrate, choosing to begin mental preparation for today’s championship game against Russiaville’s Salsbery at Northwestern at 7 p.m.
“We’re thinking about pitching already,” he said. “Logan still has two innings, and we have three more kids. Hopefully whoever I pick is hot and throws strikes. We have a good defense behind whoever does pitch. To win this thing would be huge. We’ve had to work hard and draft our kids the right way. It’s been a battle from the get-go, but this would be huge.”
Mitchell Wyrick and Taylor Duncan drew back-to-back walks in the third inning for Rocchio’s before Logan Bowser wiggled off the hook by inducing a grounder to third to end the threat.
Austin Rocchio’s two-out walk in the fourth proved to be the only other baserunner for the squad.
“It’s an honor to make it to the final four of this tournament — something I don’t think our players realize that they’ve accomplished,” Rocchio’s coach Mike Hawk said. “Down the road, they’ll understand what it means to make the final four. We have three nine-year-olds, three 10s, two 11s and four 12s, so we will be back. Rocchio’s, four out of the last six years, has made made it to two final eights, a final four, and were runners-up. So consistently we’re going to be competitive year in and year out. We’ll be back, I promise.”