Carl Rose slammed a no-doubt-about-it grand slam home run after a walk to big Wendell Rickard with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Lighthouse/Worth to a 26-24 win over Sierra/TPS Sunday (Aug. 9) in the championship game of the Independent Softball Association (ISA) World Series at Sims Park in Gastonia, N.C. The tournament was played on a baseball park, with dimensions of 335-360-380-360-335. Sierra forced an extra game with a 20-12 win over Lighthouse that saw Hank Garris wallop four home runs. Darrell Beeler had two homers and Kerry Everett and Greg Cannedy each had 4-for-4 games. Rickard had four boomers for Lighthouse in the deciding game. Al Davis had three and he was the tournament's leading hitter with an .810 average. He had four walks. The ISA counts walks as hits and sacrifice flies as outs. Rose was the MVP. His final figures read: .708 with seven home runs, including three in the deciding game. Rickard had nine homers. Garris had a big tournament for Sierra. He was 10-for-10 with five home runs in the first two games, winding up 26-for-34 with a tourney leading 12 home runs and a tourney leading 22 RBI. Darrell Beeler had 11 HRs for Sierra. Garris has taken over the season home run lead from teammate Larry Fredieu. He has 176 compared to 172 for Fredieu, the defensive award winner for his play in left field. Lighthouse has now won all four legs of the Grand Slam . . . in the last four years (the ASA Super in 1995, the NSA in 1996 and the USSSA World Series in 1997). This tournament was upset filled, like last year when Ritch's-Superior/Tri-Gems/Beloli/TPS went 0-2. Lighthouse was an upset victim last year too. Team TPS, the top team in the power ratings, went 0-2, losing first to Backstop/Easton 14-13 in 8 innings, then to Steele's/R&D by a whopping 30-10 score in 4 innings. Defending champion Sunbelt/Easton, the top-ranked team in the Supreme Softball Top 25 (Sierra was second, Team TPS third, Steele's fourth and Lighthouse fifth), also lost on opening night -- 15-10 to sixth-ranked Wessel/Hague/SoJern/TPS. Sierra was knocked into the losers bracket in the second round -- 20-19 by Wessel when a rally fell short in the bottom of the 7th. Sierra came back to oust Steele's 18-13, Sunbelt 18-15 and Wessel 15-9. Lighthouse was a 33-13, 4-inning winner over Wessel in the finals of the winners bracket, exploding for 17 runs in the fourth inning. Lighthouse won easily over Backstop 14-2 in the semifinal round after holding off Steele's 26-24 in the first round. The other first round game saw Sierra beat O&S/TPS 28-12. Early losers bracket play saw Sunbelt top O&S 16-5 and Backstop 30-14. The second leading hitters were Garris and Jeff Hall of Sunbelt at .765. Speedy center fielder Scott Striebel had a nifty running catch to rob Garris of an extra base hit with two runners on in the top of the seventh. He then helped set the stage for Rose's game-winner with a single. After one out, Davis and Dewayne Frizzell homered. Then after two outs, Dennis Mendoza, Ricky Huggins and Striebel singled. Lighthouse averaged 7 home runs per game, Sierra 6. Steele's, which played only three games, was tops at 8 HRs per game. The all-tournament team included Rose, Davis, Rickard, Dennis Mendoza, Robin Higginbotham and Scott Striebel of Lighthouse, Garris, Fredieu, Beeler, Mark Creson and pitcher Paul Drilling of Sierra, pitcher Jim Burbrink and shortstop Randy Vollmer of Wessel/Hague (they were good in the hit department too) and Shane Dubose, Jeff Hall and Johnny McCraw of Sunbelt. Hall and McCraw and Rusty Bumgardner of Team TPS were playing before home fans. Hall and McCraw (and Sunbelt manager Gary Lowe) are from Gastonia, Bumgardner from nearby Kings Mountain. Lighthouse jumped out to leads of 5-0 and 9-3 in the final game. Rickard, Rose and Davis homered in the first and Davis homered after a triple by Robbie Ergle in the second. Mendoza had a homer leading off the third after a 2-run double in the first. He another another RBI hit, plus his hit in the seventh. Rickard and Rose combined for 13 RBI. Sierra tied it at 11-11 in the top of the fourth, then moved into leads of 18-11 and 23-14. Garris, Fredieu and Parnell each had two homers, Beeler and Everett one each (both 3-runners). Mark Creson was 5-for-5. Parnell had two other hits, Kendrick, Drilling and Cannedy triples. Rickard had two homers and Rose a triple and homer in the 20-12 loss. Elliott had the only other HR for Lighthouse. Sierra built up a 12-3 lead going into the bottom of the fourth vs. Wessel. Sierra's only HRs were by Garris and Beeler (a 3-runner). Garris was 4-4, Drilling 3-3. Sierra jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first inning and held on in the 18-15 elimination of Sunbelt. Creson, Beeler and Fredieu homered, while Garris had two hits in the big first. Everett went 4-4 with a homer. Beeler added another one. Dale Walters had a homer. Hall had two homers, Hightower, Tot Powers, Schuck and McCraw one each for Sunbelt. The 17 runs in the bottom of the fourth of the 33-13 run-rule romp for Lighthouse over Wessel in the winners bracket finals saw homers by Frizzell, Elliott, Davis, Rickard and Rose and a triple and single each by Mendoza and Kirk Stafford. It was Mendoza's second triple of the game. Rickard had a 375-foot line-drive double earlier in the big inning and Huggins and Striebel each had two singles. Rickard and Rose each homered earlier. So did Frizzell, Ergle and Higginbotham. Sunbelt's 30-14 ouster of Backstop saw two 1-2-3 innings, including the first, but a 10, 9 and 9. Jeff Hall drew 4 of Sunbelt's 12 walks. Jimmy Powers had four hits, Britt Hightower, Bobby Gilbert and Johnny McCraw two homers each Bob Van Erem was 4-4 with 2 HRs for Backstop. For three games, he was 10-for-11 with 8 HRs. Steele's was within 9-10 and 12-13 before Sierra pushed across five runs without a home run in the top of the seventh and won 18-13. Fredieu and Beeler had homers and Kendrick an inside-the-parker for Sierra. Big Randy Kortokrax had three Steele's HRs. Lighthouse had an easy 14-2 win over Backstop, with Davis and Rickard hitting the only two homers. Mendoza was 4-4. Wessel got a 3-runner from Tim Lins on, a solo and two other hits from Howie Krause and a grand slam and a 380-foot line-drive double from Brett Helmer in the 20-19 upset of Sierra. But the big key a 4-4 game from Jim Burbrink and a 3-3 game from Randy Vollmer batting in the 10 and 11 spots. Garris, Beeler and Fredieu socked successive HRs for Sierra in the bottom of the seventh, but the 5-run rally was one short. Steele's 30-10, 4-inning elimination of Team TPS saw a whopping 12 home runs -- two each by Jim Devine, Rod Hughes, Derek Jones, Jeff Ott and Keith Brockman and one each by Dennis Pierce and Dal Beggs. Devine also had a triple and single. Jones, Brockman and Beggs also went 4-4. Steele's hit for 12 runs on 4 HRs in the second for a 15-7 lead, then produced the run rule with nine runs on 4 HRs in the bottom of the fourth. Wallace was 3-3 with 2 HRs (his team's only two) and Nevitt had an opposite field triple and a single for Team TPS. Sunbelt's 16-5 win over O&S saw Hall go 4-4 with a 3-run HR. Jimmy Powers, McCraw and Hightower also homered. Derrick Williams had a triple (off the 360 mark) and a single for O&S. Backstop struck for six runs on three homers in the top of the first in the upending of Team TPS. Judson Jackson had a 2-runner, Melvin Mallernee a solo and Monty McCory a 3-runner. Van Erem and Burch homered in the third as Backstop led 8-3. Four homers (by Mike Shenk, Phil Jobe, Wallace and Todd Martin) pulled Team TPS even at 13-13 in the bottom of the seventh. ISA rules allow a baserunner put on second base in extra innings. It took a groundout and a sac fly for Backstop to score. Team TPS did not score, going 1-2-3 -- all routine fly balls. Team TPS had routine 14 fly balls (or popups) in the game. A 2-run homer by Frizzell (he also homered, tripled and singled) and a 2-out RBI single by Rick Huggins gave Lighthouse a 26-24 lead vs. Steele's . . . after Steele's seized a 24-23 lead with nine runs in the bottom of the sixth as Jeff Ott hit a grand slam, Jim Devine a single and triple and Kortokrax and Hughes homers. However, Steele's went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh. Hughes had four hits, including another homer, and Dal Beggs had four hits, with a HR, for Steele's. Kortokrax had another homer. Pierce and Brockman homered. Lighthouse had a 10-run fifth for a 23-13 lead. Davis had 2 HRs, Rose, Stafford and Higginbotham one each. Huggins had two hits in the 10-run inning, Higginbotham his HR and a single. Burbrink's lefthanded pitching was the key in Wessel's 15-10 reversal of Sunbelt, which scored five runs in the fifth, then drew blanks in the sixth and seventh. Jimmy Powers had Sunbelt's only homer. A 3-run HR by Tom White in the sixth and a 2-runner by Dale Sensenig in the seventh made the difference. White also had a triple and another homer. Howie Krause had two HRs, Tim Linson and Chris Lashley one each. O&S enjoyed an early 9-1 lead vs. Sierra as Williams and Doug Berfeldt hit 3-run HRs, but Sierra enforced the run rule with 13 runs on 6 HRs in the bottom of the fifth. Garris hit his second and third HRs, Beeler his second. Fredieu, Everett and Kendrick also homered.
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