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Thu, April 18

Quad-City Mudcats score big at State Championship

The Mudcats proudly wearing their championship rings; front row from left; Jacob Bannan; Seth Jelovic; Joey Sanchez; Connor Watson; Brady Olague; Thomas Bartels; Kaleb Burns; J.R. Willingham; Jacob Hogan; Riley Roskopf; Trever Stazenski and Bat Boy Blake Roskopf; and back row from left; Coaches Pete Jelovic; Jose Sanchez; Darren Bartels; Donny Roskopf and Tanner Stazenski. (Courtesy photo)

The Mudcats proudly wearing their championship rings; front row from left; Jacob Bannan; Seth Jelovic; Joey Sanchez; Connor Watson; Brady Olague; Thomas Bartels; Kaleb Burns; J.R. Willingham; Jacob Hogan; Riley Roskopf; Trever Stazenski and Bat Boy Blake Roskopf; and back row from left; Coaches Pete Jelovic; Jose Sanchez; Darren Bartels; Donny Roskopf and Tanner Stazenski. (Courtesy photo)

The Quad-City's U12 AA Division traveling baseball team the Mudcats scored big June 6 & 7 with an undefeated championship at the USSSA State Championships in Peoria, Arizona. This was the second tournament championship this year for the Mudcats.

Saturday's pool play started with a win over the Chinle Warriors of 8-2. Seth Jelovic lead off the scoring with a single and stealing the next three bases. Jacob Hogan hit a single with an error in the second inning, with bases loaded, banking 2 rbi's and an unearned run for the team. Jelovic and Kaleb Burns scored two more in the 4th inning, with Jelovic scoring the last run in the sixth inning off a single with stolen bases.

The Mudcats beat out the Nokona Firebirds 15 to 7 in 5 innings to become the No. 2 seed for the Tournament Bracket. Jelovic and Burns both scored on singles, stealing their way home in the first inning to lead off. Trever Stazenski hit a triple in the second inning with Joey Sanchez immediately following with a single to bring him home. Mudcats scored 4 more in the second inning, one in the third, and two in the fourth inning. Jelovic, J.R. Willingham, Thomas Bartels and Connor Watson all scored in the fifth inning to end the game.

Tournament play began Sunday morning with a win over the No. 7 seed WV Bombers. In the first inning, Bartels hit a 3 run homer over center field to bringing in Jelovic and Burns. Brady Olague started the second inning with a single, followed by a single by Hogan. Jelovic and Burns were hit by pitches and all four scored in that inning. In the fourth inning, the first four in the lineup scored with Bartels hitting a two-run homer.

The Mudcats took on the No. 6 seed the AZ Pilots in the semi-finals. Mudcats scored 5 runs in the first inning with Bartels logging his third homer of the tournament. Three runs were scored in the second inning and one in the third. The Pilots took the lead in the top of the fourth inning scoring six runs to make the score 9-10. Mudcats answered with two when Bartels scored on steals after hitting a double and Jacob Bannan successfully reached first base on a pass ball allowing Stazenski to score after advancing. They held off the Pilots in the top of the fifth inning to win the game.

It was an exciting finals with the top two seeds vying for the title. The #1 seed Lightning BBC were also undefeated in the tournament scoring 34 runs versus Mudcats' 44 runs in previous games. Connor Watson, a recent addition to the Mudcats, pitched a rousing game allowing only 1 run with 2 strikeouts in the first two innings. Jelovic, Willingham, Bartels and Watson all scored in the first inning, while no runs were scored in the second. In the third inning, Bartels hit his fourth homer of the tournament bringing in Willingham, with the Lightning scoring two to answer. The Lightning tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with three more runs. Willingham started off the inning by getting hit with a pitch and the Mudcats then proceeded to score big. Mudcats scored 7 runs in the top of the fifth, with the Lightning scoring only one. Riley Roskopf led off the sixth inning with a single and the Mudcats solidified their lead scoring 5 runs. The Mudcats defense allowed only four batters in the bottom of the six shutting down their possibility to score.

Donny Roskopf the Head Coach of the Quad-City Mudcats is proud of his team. "The boys won the last two tournaments with their last one being the State Championship Tournament. After both championship games, both opposing head coaches said the same thing, 'We've never seen a team that aggressive at the plate and hit that well.' This means a lot to us (the coaches) because we preach to always swing the bat and be aggressive. We have played great teams that take pitches and play smart conservative baseball, but that's not our style! Our kids love baseball and give it their all. We are committed to them and they are committed to us. Year-round baseball works great for these dedicated players, parents and coaches."

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