Over the weekend, the Superior minors baseball team capped an undefeated season by sweeping through the competition to claim the Clark Fork Cal Ripken Baseball Tournament Championship. The Bobcats culminated the event by defeating host Noxon twice on June 2 to finish 11-0.
Superior began the tournament hosting St. Regis on May 29. Carson Toivonen started on the mound for Superior and the flame thrower held St. Regis scoreless through the first two frames, only allowing a single runner. In the bottom of the first facing St.Regis ace Issac Kelly, the Bobcats posted a run when Toivonen doubled and scored on a passed ball. Superior widened the lead to 8-0 in the second with the big blows being triples from Toivonen and Derek Brovold. Landon Richards, Gannon Quinlan, Bryden Drey, Quiana Terrell and Turner Milender also scored runs during the stanza. The damage was limited when Kelly, then playing first base, made a tremendous diving grab of a ball to end the inning.
Landon Richards took the mound to begin the third inning, and held the Tigers to a single run over two efficient innings. Richards was a model of consistency throwing strikes throughout the season, and the tournament proved more to be more of the same as he continued to keep opposing hitters off the base paths.
After Drey drove home Richards in the third, increasing the lead to 9-1, the Bobcats quickly loaded the bases in the fourth as Milender, Cami Quick and Quinlan reached base. Carson Toivonen then drilled a game-ending grand slam homerun, ending the contest with a 13-1 Superior victory.
Superior then traveled to Noxon to face the Cougars in a semifinal game. Noxon jumped out to a 2-1 first inning lead, but Superior responded with a big second inning to take an 8-2 lead. Quinlan, Toivonen, Richards, Drey, Milender , Terrell and Alexis Torrey all scored, with the big hit being a three bagger by Quinlan.
As Landon Richards continued his strike throwing accuracy and laser focus, the Bobcats did an excellent job backing him up in the field, holding Noxon’s potent lineup to four runs. Highlights included Richards making a nice scoop and throwing to Gannon Quinlan for an out, third baseman Derek Brovold catching two towering pop flies, and Carson Toivonen doing a solid job catching.
The Bobcats then widened the lead in the 3rd via a towering three run shot by Richards that also scored Quinlan and Toivonen, and a line drive laser past 3rd base one batter later by Brovold. The back to back home runs gave Superior six dingers on the season, including three during tournament play. Leading 13-4, Gannon Quinlan reached base for the fourth time and scored on a passed ball using a perfect slide to give Superior a 14-4 victory.
The win vaulted the Bobcats into the title game, once again facing Noxon, a team that earned their championship game berth by narrowly defeating hard nosed St.Regis 10-9. The Bobcats were more than ready. Superior scored 18 runs in the first inning, and backed by an overpowering two innings from pitcher Carson Toivonen, never let the Cougars back in the game. During the first inning, Quinlan had three singles and scored three times. Toivonen had a run scoring triple along with multiple two run scoring singles for a total of five runs batted in during the initial frame, Richards and Brovold each reached base safely three times, Drey delivered two singles, Lane DiGiando wacked two ground balls and Torrey, Milender and Terrell continued their great eyes at the plate by splitting six walks. The play of the game defensively also occurred in the second inning when Quiana Terrell scooped a hard hit grounder and made a perfect throw to the reliable Quinlan at first for the out.
Quinlan came in to pitch the third and once again demonstrated his toughness by bouncing back from a run scoring triple and subsequent steal of home to strike out the last two Cougar batters and end the threat. Richards did an excellent job catching during the inning and left fielder Turner Milender made a great hustle play on the triple to hold the Noxon runner at third. He also delivered impeccable base running over the tournament and was a general thorn in the side for opposing defenses.
Superior continued scoring runs in the second and third innings as ultimately their total grew to 33. Cami Quick, Liam Wheeler and Dalton Boyce all reached base and scored runs during that time. Every Bobcat contributed during the tournament, whether it was by reaching base or executing smart running, the championship was truly a team effort. This group of kids is truly special.