"Chevron downs JLS, takes Ruth title"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:34 PM
"The third time was indeed the charm for the Village Chevron Babe Ruth League team Monday night, as they took the tournament championship by beating the John L. Scott squad 8-2.It was vindication and revenge for the perennial powerhouse Chevron, which took a 12-2 regular-season record into the tournament. In each of the last two years, Chevron had lost in the tournament to JLS, then known as the Navy team.Two years ago, Navy was winless in the regular season and last year, it had only won twice, so this year's fourth-place finish didn't lull Chevron into complacency.The difference was pitching and defense, Chevron coach Bruce Hebner said. We made only one error, and our pitcher gave up only one walk. We didn't necessarily make great plays, but we made the routine ones, which is what you have to do to win at this level.For JLS, the loss ended what had been a miracle tournament run. In both the quarterfinal and semifinal games, coach Fred Meyers' team found themselves in seven-run holes, but came back to win.Against Commuter Comforts, JLS was down 7-0 after three innings, came back to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh with two out, then scored seven runs in the first extra inning. And against Virginia Mason, JLS was down 8-1 after three before scoring 19 runs in four innings to claim a 20-9 win.JLS followed the same script against Chevron, falling behind by seven runs. Chevron's aggressive base-running made JLS pay for a spate of early errors, as they scored three times in first, once in the second and three more times in the fourth.But although JLS showed life in the late innings, the poised Chevron squad thwarted any comeback.In the top of the fifth, a walk and an infield grounder put two JLS runners aboard. With one away, Rett Rapada lashed long double to left, scoring one and putting runners at second and third. When a pitch got past Chevron catcher Sam Marshall, both runners took off. But when Marshall grabbed the carom perfectly, the runner retreated, and was ultimately caught in a rundown. A strikeout then ended the inning and the threat.JLS scored again in the sixth when Rory Thurot was safe on an infield grounder, stole second and third, and scored on Robby Furth's bouncer into left. Barrett Kanyer then hit a screaming line drive, but Chevron centerfielder Liam Maher was so perfectly positioned that he made the catch without moving his feet.Then Chevron pitcher Nick Shuetz's throw to first caught Furth as he was moving towards second base, and again, Chevron executed the rundown to end any possible rally.After Andy Hebner scored an insurance run for Chevron in the bottom of the sixth, JLS had its last chance. With a runner on first, Jordon Schager smashed a drive to left. Travis LaFrance made a spectacular catch, almost losing his position, but gloving the ball and holding on as he fell.Gaelen Kelly singled to left to put two aboard. But Shuetz fanned Rapada for the critical second out, then got Peter Oden to fly to center field for the game-ender.It was Shuetz's second complete-game pitching performance of the tournament.I thought my arm would be more tired than it was, he said. I had a good fastball and curve, and I was locating my pitches well.We made too many errors early and let them get up by too much, JLS coach Meyers said. Their pitcher did a real good job.They deserved it. They worked real hard to get here, Meyers said."