Rich Well’s walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the ninth completed the Vandalia Guaranteed Air Freight softball team’s battle back through the loser’s bracket in the Altamont Tournament, vaulting the Freight into the championship game Sunday with a thrilling 4-3 win over the Cerro Gordo Broncos.
But the Freight ran out of gas against the same team in the winner-take-all title tilt, settling for second place after a 7-0 loss in the double-elimination tournament, which resumed Saturday after wet weather postponed action the previous weekend.
The Freight managed just two hits in its tournament finale, as Well and Kevin Cook each went 1-for-2.
Brent Stevenson was the man responsible for squashing Vandalia’s momentum, as he struck out eight and walked none in six innings of work.
The Freight had won three in a row to put themselves in position to take the title, as Well’s game-winning hit ended a see-saw extra-inning affair in which the Broncos rallied for two runs against Alan Meinhart in the top of the seventh to force extra innings.
Despite letting the lead slip away, Meinhart kept his composure and shut Cerro Gordo down the rest of the way, and he was rewarded with a victory after allowing just five hits and striking out 11 over nine innings.
Meinhart walked four and gave up two earned runs.
Nick Casey led a nine-hit attack by going 3-for-3, including a triple and an RBI single in the first. The Freight took a brief 3-1 lead in the sixth, as Bob Nagel and Mark Burnam had RBI singles.
Well delivered his walkoff winner after Mike Simmons reached on an error and JD Arnold singled.
Arnold finished 2-for-4, while Nagel and Burnam were both 1-for-4 with an RBI.
The Freight’s title-game hopes looked to be in serious jeopardy a game prior, as Wessel’s of Teutopolis jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead.
The Freight countered with seven unanswered runs the rest of the way, however, coming back for a 7-3 win.
Nagel’s two-run double in the fifth completed the Freight’s comeback, and Luke Hohlt’s two-run homer in the sixth provided insurance.
Nagel tacked on another run with a solo homer in the seventh.
Arnold led a 12-hit attack by going 3- for-4, while Nagel, Simmons and Tim Hatten were all 2-for-4.
Meinhart shut the door after a rough opening inning, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out 10.
The Freight resumed tournament play Saturday by rolling to an 8-1 win over Pete’s Blues out of Swansea.
Burnam was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Simmons, Well, Nagel and Hatten each went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Meinhart picked up the win by allowing just two hits and one walk in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.