DYERSVILLE, Iowa – The Key West Ramblers needed to work a little overtime late Saturday to add to their impressive haul of semi-pro baseball tournament titles.
Kevin Hunley drove in three runs, including the go-ahead tally in the top of the 11th inning, to lead Key West to a 9-6 victory over the host team in the Dyersville Tournament. The Ramblers won their third title of the summer and their 32nd over the last 10 years.
“It means everything to us,” Hunley said. “We like to be the best, and we don’t like to lose. Winning every tournament is always the goal, so having three this summer is pretty nice.
“Dyersville is one helluva team, and we always have really good competition with them. This game was a ton of fun. That game is what baseball is all about right there. You come to games to see balls put in play and lots of runs.”
Brett LaMere, who recieved the outstanding manager of the tournament award, started the 11th inning rally with a towering one-out double to straightaway left field against reliever Austin Savary. Savary pitched 4 1/3 innings a night after picking up a semifinal victory.
“We knew Austin was starting to get his pitch count up there, so we wanted to get on him early,” LaMere said. “I had a feeling he’d come with a first-pitch fastball, so I was ready to swing. He gave it to me, and I didn’t miss it. I actually thought it had a chance to get out.”
LaMere moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Hunley’s chopper up the middle.
“In that situation, you just want to put the ball in play and create some chaos in the field,” Hunley said. “I was fortunate to get the bat on the ball and score him.”
Johnny Blake and Tucker Mai added RBI singles later in the inning for insurance. Anthony Ruden retired the final six batters he faced to win for the second straight night and earn his second MVP award of the summer. He also took top honors at Farley.
“The last two nights, we’ve had really tough games against Peosta and Dyersille, so it means a lot more to come out of here with a win,” said Ruden, who struck out 18 hitters in the tournament. “Tonight, Dyersville just kept battling back all night.
“But this team just loves to compete, no matter who we’re playing. There are so many guys on this team who could have won the MVP, so I was a little surprised to get it. I was just focused on doing whatever it took to win.”
Key West opened the scoring in the top of the first after Ruden led off the game with a double. He came across on Anthony Razo’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Whitehawks responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Jared Harris led off with a walk and scored on Tony Salato’s triple to the left-centerfield gap. Austin Savary followed with a double to right-center to give Dyersville a 2-1 lead.
The Ramblers regained the lead in the third. LaMere tied the game with an RBI single, and Hunley followed with a two-run home run to right-center.
But Dyersville answered in the bottom of the inning on John Magnuson’s bases loaded two-run single to right-center.
Key West regained the lead in the sixth with a two-out rally. Jake Blunt singled, Chad Crabill walked, and No. 9 hitter Ben Oglesby laced an RBI single up the middle for a 5-4 lead.
But Austin Savary flipped the score in the bottom of the sixth with a towering opposite field two-out, two-run home run to right-center after Rob Hermsen led off with a base hit.
Key West pulled even in the eighth on Razo’s two-out opposite field single through the left side of the infield.
Peosta parlayed an eight-run inning into a 12-6 victory over Zwingle in the consolation game.