|Oklahoma's Premier Summer Baseball Program||Thursday, January 29, 2015|
Travelers win second straight Route 66
Oklahoma Travelers | July 13, 2003
It was another great run for the Oklahoma Travelers baseball team Sunday as they reached the 50-win plateau and captured the prestigious Route 66 Traveler Invitational title for second straight year with a 9-2 championship game win over Denver's Burt Chevrolet.
The title game win marked just the third championship by the Travelers in the tournament's illustrious 20-year history, featuring some of the top 18-and-under teams in the entire country.
"We really turned things up a notch," head coach Mark Ward said. "It didn't quite match our pitching dominance of a year ago, but I thought our entire pitching staff did an outstanding job.
"At the plate, we put together some big innings, especially on Sunday."
The Travelers reached the semifinals of the tournament with a 4-1 pool record after dispatching the Kansas City Barnstormers, 8-4, late Saturday night, then turned around with a 9-0 blanking of the powerful Austin Slam in the semifinal contest behind the complete game mound effort of Brett Case.
Case tossed two complete game victories in the tournament and was spectacular at the plate once again, garnering Co-Most Valuable Player honors along with hard-hitting second baseman Timmy Sullivan.
The Elk City squad is now 50-13 on the season, marking its third straight season with 50-plus victories.
In the championship contest, the Travelers kept their bats hot and utilized a combined five-hit pitching effort from southpaws Justin Ferguson and Brett Davis for the victory.
Ferguson fired four and two-third innings for the win, yielding two runs on two hits along with three strikeouts and two walks. Davis finished up with two and one-third shutout innings of relief, which included striking out the side in the Burt Chevrolet seventh.
Offensively, the Travelers got on the board in the second stanza when Rebel Ridling opened with a single, moved to second on a Michael Crabtree sacrifice bunt and score on Reece Creswell's double to left.
One inning later they padded the lead on a mammoth home run by Sullivan.
The fourth inning proved to be the knockout blow, however, as Elk City strung together singles by Crabtree, Creswell and Jordy Mercer to load the bases with nobody out.
Two Burt Chevrolet errors and a Davis sacrifice fly later and the Travelers had four more runs.
Three more tallies in the fifth helped put the contest away as once again Crabtree ignited things with a leadoff single. Chance Gerloff added a run-scoring double, Davis drove in a run with a single and Case finished it off with a RBI sacrifice fly.
Overall, the Travelers totaled 10 hits, topped by Sullivan, who blasted a home runs and double in the contest. Crabtree finished with two hits and scored twice while Creswell also chipped in two hits and a RBI.
Case got the Elk City squad to the title tilt earlier in the day with a masterful pitching effort on just two days rest, tossing a complete game while scattering six hits and striking out four against Austin Slam.
The Travelers wasted little time in that one as well, plating a pair of runs in the second innings with solid execution.
Crabtree started the flurry when he was hit by a pitch and moved to second on Kris Palesano's sacrifice bunt. Travis Long then came through with a two-out single, advanced on a bunt single from Davis and scored on a Case single up the middle.
Elk City strung together three more hits in the third to add a pair of runs. Garrett Cook and Ridling smacked back-to-back doubles to star the frame and both scored on a Crabtree single.
The Travelers then finished it off for the run rule by tacking on five more runs in the fourth while Case continued to silence the Austin squad.
Singles by Sullivan and Cook followed by a walk to Ridling jammed the sacks for Crabtree, who picked up two more RBI with a single to left.
Mercer chipped in a run-scoring single and Long plated two more by reaching on a Slam error.
Cook, Crabtree and Mercer totaled two hits apiece in the Traveler victory. Crabtree also chipped in a pair of RBI.
In the Barnstormer victory, the Travelers trailed 4-3 in the fourth inning before Crabtree went to work on the mound, silencing the Kansas City squad the rest of the way with four strong innings of relief and the Elk City offense went to work at the plate.
The Travelers quickly knotted the score in the fifth when Case opened with a double and easily rode home on a Cook triple. Ridling gave the Travelers the lead four pitches later, lacing a single to left. He later scored after a Creswell single and a Barnstormer error.
Elk City tacked on two more in the sixth to finish it off, led by run-scoring hits from Case and Sullivan, who each led the way with three hits apiece in the contest. Sullivan drove in two and stole three bases.
Long also contributed a pair of singles.
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