GROTON – Tabor is back on top of Class B baseball for the first time in 36 years.
After numerous strong finishes through the years, Tabor finished the task Tuesday, winning the American Legion Class B State baseball championship for the first time since 1985 with a 10-6 win over Redfield at Locke-Karst Field.
“It feels great,” said Tabor coach Gary Kortan. “We talked about it before the game, we’re not only going to win it for ourselves, but for all the kids that went through our program prior and came up short. This means a lot.”
Tabor finished the tournament undefeated and handed Redfield its only two setbacks in the tourney.
Unlike Saturday’s game in which Tabor could not quite breakthrough against Redfield, the second meeting was a different story. Tabor erased an early deficit with four runs in the third inning and never trailed after that.
“In the first game we held the dam so to speak. Even here, we held it for a while. That four spot in the third kind of probably sunk us,” said Redfield coach Tommy Gregg. “We gave our last best chance effort in the seventh and just had a tough running out of the baseline double play deal that kind of took the wind out of our sails.”
Redfield made things interesting in its final at-bat, scoring once, but a runner interference play put a damper on the rally and soon Tabor was celebrating a state title.
Kortan pointed to the fourth inning as a pivotal point in the game. Tabor had just taken a 7-3 lead and Redfield responded with two runs, but could not get over the hump.
“I think when it was a 7-5 game Redfield had a few guys on there and we got out of that inning,” Kortan said. “To Redfield’s credit, there’s never an easy out with them. They never quit.”
Kortan turned to reliever Trent Herrboldt and Redfield managed just one run over the last three frames.
“I brought Herrboldt in and he put up a couple of zeroes and that was the difference,” Kortan said.
As it had all tourney long, Tabor hit the ball. Every player in the lineup 1 through 9 either had a hit or scored a run during the championship contest. Dustin Honomichl and Herrboldt each had three hits to lead Tabor.
Kaleb Kubal continued his torrid hitting with two more hits, and received the Big Stick award following the tourney.
Kubal, who was 10-for-16 at the plate, was pleased to finish his Legion career with a state title.
“It’s really surreal,” he said. “We got second place a few times and we finally got it done my last year of Legion, so it’s something else.”
Tabor’s potent lineup prevented another elimination-game victory for Redfield, which was 7-0 in win or go home contests in this year’s post season until Tuesday.
“Even in the region tournament, we lost our second game and we had to battle all the way back. We played seven games in four days and I’ll tell you what, we didn’t quit at all,” said Redfield’s Cooper Hainy. “Losing to Tabor, they’re a good team. We still had to battle back. In the end, they’re a really good team. They deserve it. They had 13 hits against us, 10 runs. They’re definitely nothing to mess with.”
While Tabor (23-9) won each game in the tourney, they had two tight games with Redfield and a walkoff win over Vermillion on Monday.
“It was pretty tight the whole tournament,” Kubal said. “You couldn’t really relax. You had to take everything really seriously and get the job done every day.”
Tabor’s Riley Rothschadl was selected tourney MVP. He had a solid pitching outing against Vermillion. In the end, Tabor’s pitching as a whole came up big.
“We preach always pitching comes first. We have to throw the ball over the plate. We have to hit spots,” Kortan said. “We did that throughout the tournament and I’m really happy we got it done.”
Camden Osborn led Redfield with four hits. Peyton Osborn had a double and a triple, and drove in a pair.
Hainy finished with two hits, scored two runs and knocked in another. When asked what he will remember most about the season, Hainy responded, “All my teammates, all the great times we had. It didn’t matter if we were down 10 or up 10, we were always having a good time. Always.”
Redfield finished the season with a 23-5 record and recorded an impressive list of accomplishments along the way.
“Very happy with our kids’ effort all year since March. They made two state tournaments. Beat a lot of good teams along the way. They made a lot of memories. I can’t fault their efforts,” Gregg said. “This roster is young. We don’t turn over a lot. We’re excited for the future.”
Tabor 104 221 0 – 10 13 4
Redfield 120 200 1 – 6 10 3
Carter Uecker, Trent Herrboldt (4) and Nolan Dvorak, Connor Peters (7); Camden Osborn, Nolan Gall (7) and Keaton Rohlfs. 2B- Tabor, Riley Rothschadl, Dustin Honomichl (2), Kaleb Kubal; Redfield, Peyton Osborn, Camden Osborn. 3B – Redfield, Peyton Osborn.
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