ASHLAND, Ky. – With contributions from all five on the roster, the Kona Kannon Ballers repeated Friday night as Amy For Africa competitive tournament champions, defeating Keelin’s Crusaders 1-0 in an exciting extra inning final.
B.J. Brammell was selected Most Valuable Player after recording two wins and belting two mammoth home runs for the Kannon Ballers in the three-team, round-robin tournament.
Brammell threw three shutout innings in an 11-0
victory over Brooks Bombers when he also blasted two home runs, clearing the fence by 20 feet on both of them.
The championship game was a pitcher’s duel between Kona’s Jason Rosen and Caleb Keelin of the Keelin Crusaders. The teams went into extra innings deadlocked 0-0.
Brammell came on in relief and worked out of a tight jam in the top of the fifth inning. Extra inning rules put runners on first and second automatically.
“I was a little tight after not pitching for about 30 minutes but found my groove again,” Brammell said. “We had a bunch of MVPs. Anybody could have gotten it.”
Kona pushed across a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a bases-loaded walk to Nick Caudill.
Kyle Gilmore was the first to clutch the coveted championship trophy, hoisting it into the air as the team celebrated on the AFA “Monster Field” that got a new touch this season with the addition of a Citgo sign in left field.
Matt Fultz, Brammell, Gilmore, Rosen and Caudill all hit home runs in the first win over the Bombers. Caudill’s grand slam in the bottom of the third inning broke it open.
Rosen made the play of the night with a diving stab on a liner with his back to the plate. He was pitching but showed cat-like reflexes on a ball hit by Kyle Rakes that looked ticketed for right field. He stretched it and snagged it while bouncing on the turf.
“I always think I can get anything if it’s hit in the air,” he said. “I saw Matt coming for it and didn’t think he could get to it in time.”
Keelin’s Crusaders battled past Brooks Bombers, 5-3, in the first game