Four in a row
By CHRIS TOMASSUCCI
FELCH – Fox Cities won another U.P. Hardball championship Monday – their fourth straight title – this time beating Langsdorf (Wis.) 5-0 in the final.
Fox Cities was again powered by the pitching of Iron Mountain native Rick Cavaiani, who won Most Valuable Pitcher for the second year in a row. Two homers from Most Valuable Player Tom Schmidt of Two Rivers, Wis., helped seal the deal.
Schmidt, playing in his third straight championship with Fox Cities, got his team on the board early with a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to deep left-center, scoring 2012 Hardball MVP Justin Hallock who reached in the at-bat before Schmidt with a single.
“I just got some really great pitches to hit up there,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt homered on his very next trip to the plate in the bottom of the third, this time to left field, sending Langsdorf left fielder Chad Tindall tumbling over the fence as he tried to rob the homer.
Caviaini’s pitching was tough to hit again this year. He held Langsdorf to five hits in the complete-game shutout.
Cavaiani, 29, was helped along by a great defensive showing from Fox Cities, including flawless defense from Iron Mountain natives Adam and Jacob Husing.
Jacob Husing played second base and Adam, who will be inducted into the Carthage College Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball, played right field.
Adam Husing was 0-for-2 at the plate in Monday’s final, while Jacob Husing went 1-for-3, reaching on a single in the bottom of the second.
Weather for Monday’s championship was fair. Rain threatened early in the game but cleared up nicely by the end.
Schmidt said he was in awe of how nice the tournament organizers had the field looking Monday.
“They really do a great job up here, we just love coming. You should have seen the field (Sunday) morning, it was under water. The work these guys put in, it’s just amazing.”
Fox Cities went undefeated in the tournament this year, beating Escanaba, Felch and Greenville, Wis., ahead of Langsdorf in the final.
The team will return next year to try for five straight U.P. Hardball Championships.
Including their 9-0 loss to Fox Cities, host team Felch went 1-and-2 in the tourney, beating Houghton 5-4 in Game 4 before being shut out by Greenville in Game 7.
Starting next year, the Most Valuable Player trophy will be given in honor of tournament organizer and volunteer, Kenny Dean of Felch. Dean helped with the Hardball Classic for 41 years before passing away last month.
Tournament director Dewey Solberg said Dean really took pride in the tournament each and every year.
“He was my right-hand man all these years,” Solberg said. “He lived for the tournament.”
This weekend’s other scores follow:
Game 1 – Langsdorf 7, Greenville 1
Game 2 – Fox Cities 16, Esc. 0
Game 3 – Felch 5, Houghton 4
Game 4 – Appleton 10, Langsdorf 5
Game 5 – Fox Cities 9, Felch 0
Game 6 – Escanaba 5, Houghton 2
Game 7 – Greenville 5, Felch 0
Game 8 – Langsdorf 5, Escanaba 2
Semi – Langsdorf 7, Appleton 6
Semi – Fox Cities 5, Greenville 1
Final – Fox Cities 5, Langsdorf 0