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Kelso finishes fourth in Kelso Klassic fastpitch softball tournament
Pete's Blues ruled the Kelso Klassic for the second straight year.
The squad from Mascoutah, Ill., repeated as champion in the 28th annual 14-team men's fastpitch softball tournament that ended Sunday at Kelso City Park.
Pete's Blues went 5-1 in the tournament, capped by a 6-2 win over the Topeka (Kan.) Toros. The Toros forced the winner-take-all, if-necessary title contest earlier Sunday by beating Pete's Blues 6-1.
"I think Topeka just ran out of gas, but they took it to the very last game," said Jerry Wolsey, the tournament media coordinator. "Pete's Blues had another impressive tournament."
The finalists also represented the tournament's top two individual awards.
Jeramie Holman of Pete's Blues was named the tournament's most valuable pitcher for the third straight year, including when he helped lead Aurora (Ill.) to the title in 2010.
Holman set a tournament record with 15 strikeouts in the championship game. He allowed just 17 hits and seven earned runs while striking out 53 and walking two over 29 innings.
"He wasn't quite as dominant as last year, but he was still pretty dominant," Wolsey said.
Topeka's Jaime Garcia Jr. was the tournament MVP after batting .500 with a home run, triple and five RBIs.
Wolsey said Kreke Tree Service from Teutopolis, Ill., was the surprise team of the tournament after finishing third.
"They kind of came out of nowhere," Wolsey said.
Host squad Kelso Fastpitch had its best tournament finish in years with a fourth-place performance. The team went 4-2 after Sunday's 13-12, nine-inning loss to Kreke.
Kelso Fastpitch had one of the tournament's individual highlights when veteran pitcher Tom Jansen struck out 17 to beat Altamont, Ill., 2-0 in Friday's opening round.
"It's the best we've done in several years," said Wolsey, who plays for Kelso Fastpitch. "We had a really good tournament."
A second local club had a solid tournament. Seyer's Kelso Kwik Stop went just 1-2, but both losses were in extra innings.
Wolsey said things couldn't have gone much better during the three-day event that featured record crowds.
"We had over 1,000 people here Friday night and over 1,500 Saturday night," he said. "Just another great tournament."
The tournament served as an International Softball Congress qualifier. Pete's Blues accepted a bid to the ISC World tournament in August.