LINCOLN — Union Bank cashed in its third-inning opportunities Sunday and rolled past U-Stop 10-4 in the championship of the Mike Peterson baseball tournament.
The final was a rare matchup between Lincoln teams — Union Bank (Pius X) and U-Stop (East). Some of the better Metro-area teams, including Associated Fire Protection (Papillion-La Vista South) and the 52s Patriots (Millard South), failed to reach the semifinals of the 23-team American Legion tournament at Sherman Field.
Union Bank broke open the game in the third, scoring seven runs on five hits and four errors. That gave coach Troy Charf's team an 8-0 lead and the squad from Pius cruised from there.
“We tried to create as much pressure as we could,” Charf said. “We were aggressive and forced them to make plays.”
The teams advanced to the final after prevailing over two other Lincoln teams in the semifinals. U-Stop defeated JC Brager (Southeast) 5-4 in eight innings and Union Bank beat Pinnacle Bank (Southwest) 3-2.
U-Stop starter Bryan Reimers wiggled off the hook in the top of the first against Union Bank. He threw 31 pitches but escaped a bases-loaded jam when he struck out Tyler Hooper.
Union Bank nicked him for a run in the second on a run-scoring groundout by Rex Raetz before the roof caved in on Reimers in the third. The big blow was a two-run double by No. 9 hitter Tom Schneider, though the four U-Stop errors — three by first baseman Chris Zwiebel — helped prolong the inning.
U-Stop scratched out two runs in the bottom of the third against Union Bank starter Alex Schleppenbach. Reimers had a run-scoring single and Jon Lyons chipped in an RBI double.
Union Bank added single runs in the fourth and fifth before U-Stop scored twice in the sixth. Schleppenbach avoided further damage by picking off Eric Barton to end the inning.
Schleppenbach went six innings before giving way to Nolan Walker in the seventh. He scattered six hits and struck out six to pick up the victory.
That strong performance came despite the fact that he was admittedly up late Saturday night because of his sister Alli's wedding.
“I'm really tired,” Schleppenbach said. “But we got some clutch hits today and it was nice being able to pitch with that big lead.”
Schleppenbach's cousin Jake and Raetz were named the co-tournament MVPs.
Charf said it was a satisfying victory for his squad, which lost its first tourney game 6-0 against Norris on Thursday. Union Bank (26-7) bounced back to go 5-1 to capture the competitive tournament for what the coach believed was the first time.
“We made the final in 2009 and got beat pretty bad by Lincoln Southwest,” he said. “But I think this is the first one we've won, so that's pretty special.”
Union Bank ........................... 017 110 0—10 10 1
U-Stop ........................... 002 002 0—4 6 5
W: A. Schleppenbach. L: Reimers. 2B: UB, Schneider. US, Lyons, Johnson.