Parker Blue wins 2021 League Tourney

League champs
Back row: Asst. Coach Ransom Jones, Benson Jones, Colin Robertson, Dylan Dykstra, head coach Shane Merrill. Front; Drew Chester, Tyson Tycz, Rush Bleyenberg, Kaden Fosheim, Colton Davis, Marquice Bortnem, Teegun Wentzel.

Coming into the league tournament with the only undefeated record, the Parker Blue 12U baseball team put it all on the line last weekend, facing off against the league’s finest. The team went 4-0 on the weekend and only allowed five runs in four games, rolling their way to the championship.

In their opening round game Friday night, the Pheasants faced off against the 12th seed Tea Reiland. Parker wasted little time on the game allowing no hits and for their second straight game putting up over 20 runs. Parker was deemed the visitor after the coin flip, but went to work straight away on the bats, scoring 12 runs in the first inning. Levi Rand, Colin Robertson, Benson Jones, Drew Chester, Rush Bleyenberg Kaden Fosheim, Colton Davis, Dylan Dykstra, Teegun Wentzel, and Tyson Tycz  all scored in the first inning with Robertson knocking a home run to the fence on his second time up in the first. 

Rand took the mound for Parker but after scoring two strikeouts on nine pitches  he was pulled and Rush Bleyenberg was brought in. Both allowed zero hits. Parker added one more run in the second, but tallied another nine runs in the third, ending the game with the 15 run rule in the third inning and taking the first step toward the bracket play. Parker once again had a hot night, with 18 hits, with Robertson going four for four at the plate. Kaden Fosheim and Dylan Dykstra also pitched in the game.

Parker vs Canton Ancell-Pool Play

Saturday morning the Pheasants had one more game in pool play, facing off once again against Canton Ancell. Parker was in the drivers seat and took the victory 13-2 playing through a light rain that persisted all morning. 

The fist inning was big for Parker as Levi Rand got on after getting hit by pitch with Tycz hitting him in. Tycz, Benson Jones, Drew Chester, Rush Bleyenberg and Kaden Fosheim also scored in the rally, helping Parker settle in. Levi Rand once again started but went just one and two thirds innings allowing zero runs and one hit striking out four. Bleyenberg, Fosheim and Tycz all pitched on the day. Parker managed one run in the second and three in both the third and fourth innings, taking the win by the 10-run rule 13-2. 

The win sent the Pheasants out of pool play and into the semi finals against arch rival Lennox Butler.

Parker vs Lennox Butler-Semi Finals

In their third game of the tournament, Parker faced Lennox Butler, a team they edged 6-5 just three weeks ago. This time the Pheasant would not be denied as pitchers Robertson and Jones went to work, allowing no hits and one run. Parker grabbed a quick lead in the first inning after a ground out, Robertson singled and was hit in by Tycz who doubled. Benson Jones then singled, scoring Tycz. Bleyenberg was up next and doubled but a perfect throw to the plate got Jones, ending the inning with Parker up 2-0.

Robertson kept firing and the first batter hit a shot deep to right, where Fosheim made a perfect grab for the first out. The second batter grounded out to Levi Rand and after back to back walks Robertson struck out the eight batter, keeping Parker in control.

In the top of the third Rand started with a lead off triple and was hit in by a deep single from Robertson. Tycz then hit in Robertson but got caught in a run down at home and was tagged out. Jones singled next and got on, with Chester knocking in a single, but once again a perfect throw to the plate allowed a tag out on Jones, keeping the game 4-0.

Robertson took to the mound once again, striking out the first two, while the number two battle grounded out to first baseman Bleyenberg. Parker scored no runs in the forth, but poured it on in the fifth inning, busting loose for 11 runs as Rand, Robertson, Tycz, Jones, Chester, Fosheim, Colton Davis, Marquice Bortnem and Dykstra all scored in the rally. That pushed the Parker lead to 15-1 and with Jones on the mound a ground out to first, third and a strike out sent Parker into the championship game, winning 15-1 over their arch rival. The Pheasants were sure-handed having zero errors and once again posting big hits, with 16.

Parker vs Lennox Hanssen-Championship

Coming from the other side of the bracket was another tough test against #6 Lennox Hanssen. Parker had beaten the Orioles 5-3 in Lennox earlier in the season, and were ready for another tough matchup. The Pheasants won their first coin toss of the tournament and were ruled the home team. Taking the mound to start was Robertson once again, putting two strikes on the lead off before a ground out got things started for the defense. A strike out followed before the third batter singled. Robertson then powered three strikes across the plate for the third out on a strikeout.

The Pheasants then went to work in the bottom of the inning, as Levi Rand was hit by pitch and got on base, stealing to second. Robertson then popped out, but Tycz singled past the second baseman, scoring Rand to put Parker up 1-0. Tycz then stole to second and third, and a botched throw to the pitcher allowed Tycz to sneak into home, pushing Parker up 2-0. Things stayed that way until the third inning when Lennox changed pitchers, with Rand and Robertson both singling. Tycz popped out on a deep shot to center, but Jones was hit by a pitch and Chester reached base on a walk scoring one. Bleyenberg then scored a bases clearing triple, and he was hit in on a single from Davis. That pushed Parker up 7-0. 

Jones was brought in to finish out the game on the mound, posting five strikeouts. Lennox did manage one run in the fifth inning, on an overthrow to third. The final frame found the Orioles trying to threaten, but catcher Tycz found third baseman Chester for the first out, putting the tag down on an attempted steal. The second out was a groundout to second, and needing just one more, Jones bared down with laser focus battling to a full count and throwing a dark fastball for the final strikeout of the game, handing the team a league championship.

“What a fun weekend,” said head coach Shane Merrill. “These guys wanted this so bad. We have been talking about it ever since March when we started meeting out here for practices. I’m just so proud of this group, they set their mind to this goal and stuck with it. Our older guys, with this being their last year on the small field, they worked so hard this spring to get their pitching where we needed it and the bats have just kept rolling, getting better each week. They have really bought into the program and played their spots to perfection. To come in here and run through this thing giving up just five runs and scoring 57 is amazing, a great testament to their dedication.” 

The win set the Pheasants record to 12-0 on the season with three games remaining in the regular season. 

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