With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, the team from Bellevue West had the right guy up at the right time.
Matt Koenigsman delivered a walk-off single Monday to lead DJ's Dugout West (Bellevue West) to a 6-5 win over the Moorhead (Minnesota) Blues in the final of the 42-team Battle of Omaha tournament. It was the fourth RBI of the day for the right fielder.
"I told Bryce (Walker) that if he didn't do it, I would," Koenigsman said. "All of us trust each other to get the job done."
DJ's Dugout led 3-0 and 5-3, but the Blues rallied twice to tie the game. The Minnesota squad also threatened to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but reliever C.J. Hlavac ended the threat by inducing a 5-4-3 double play.
"We wanted C.J. to come in when we had the lead," DJ's Dugout coach Jason Shockey said. "We needed him a little sooner than that."
Kenny Allred led off the bottom of the seventh with his third hit then moved to second on a throwing error. But he was cut down at third base on a sacrifice attempt by Christian Dumont.
Nick Boryca followed with a single and both runners advanced on a double steal. That spelled the end for Blues starter Braeton Wixo, who was replaced by reliever Tanner McBain.
McBain fell behind Bryce Walker 3-1 before Walker was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Koenigsman. He belted a sharp single between shortstop and third base, driving home Dumont with the winning run.
"With the bases loaded and their No. 3 and 4 hitters coming up, we knew it was a tough spot," Blues coach Bryant Bergeson said. "You hope they hit it at somebody but that didn't happen."
Bergeson added that a key moment happened in the first inning, when his squad loaded the bases with no outs. DJ's Dugout starter Cooper Allen escaped the jam with a 1-2-3 double play and a flyout.
"That was a killer," the coach said. "Credit to them for making the plays."
DJ's Dugout scored a run in each of the first three innings. Koenigsman drove in two with a single and a sacrifice fly and Allred drove home another with an RBI single.
Moorhead tied it with a three-run fourth. Griffin Swenson and Alex Erickson each had RBIs before a third run scored on a wild pitch.
DJ's Dugout reclaimed the lead in the fifth on a run scoring double by Koenigsman and an infield error. Allred scored from second on the error as he just beat the throw home.
The Blues tied it for the last time in the sixth on a two-run single by Brett Erickson. Reliever Jack Sullivan got out of the inning, as the next batter flew out to center.
That set the stage for the seventh inning. Shockey's teamwent 8-0 in the tourney to improve to 29-6 overall.
"Cooper Allen did a great job to give us five innings," Shockey said. "And Matt (Koenigsman) did a great job at the plate."
Hlavac, who threw one pitch in relief, got the win. Wixo took the loss.
Koenigsman said the team's success during the American Legion season can be traced to a disappointing finish in the spring. Bellevue West was no-hit at home by Fremont Bergan in the district final and missed the state tournament.
"That is definite motivation for this summer," he said. "That (district final) really got us down, but things are going a lot better now."
American Legion senior coaches are asked to submit updated statistics by Friday. They should be emailed to email@example.com.
The only other statistics deadline this summer will be at the end of the season.