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Players/Mizuno Win ISA Class D State

Champions Win Seven Straight Games Out Of The Loser's Bracket

Photo By Jerry Jackson


URBANA: Players/Mizuno from Canton came roaring back through the loser's bracket after dropping their second round game in the 2005 ISA Men's Class D State Tournament to run off seven straight wins to win the state tile. The champions earned a berth to play at the 2005 ISA Men's Class D World Tournament in Lexington, South Carolina on August 26th through 28th. Robinson Plumbing (5-2) from Pekin took home second place, Wise Guys (4-2) from Peoria finished in third place, and City Vendors/Bombers (4-2) from Mackinaw was fourth. Tying for fifth place were Lakota Tribe (3-2) from Urbana and Aero Softball (2-2) from Sandwich with Kelly Glass (2-2) from Peoria and Roundin' Third (2-2) from Chicago tying for seventh place at this tournament.
The Players/Mizuno ball club was led to their state title by the play of Eric Abernathy who was named as the MVP of this tournament. Five other Players/Mizuno players were also named to the 2005 ISA Men's Class D All-State Tournament team plus manager Matt Pemble was named as the manager of the 'all-state' tournament team. The other Players/Mizuno named to the All-State Tournament team were; Chris Dwitt, Tracy Pratt, Brett Caukins, Dax Heddan and Corey Trone.
Tournament director Jerry Jackson said, "All of Sundays games were played in the rain. The conditions were not the best but the teams handled it well and we were able to finish the tournament."
Players/Mizuno opened tournament play with a pig tail game against the Springfield Bar Boys winning 7-0 after the Springfield team failed to show up for their game. Next up was a contest with Big Ox Softball from Chillicothe and Players/Mizuno posted a 13-10 win onto the bracket board to advance into the second round of this tournament.
Players/Mizuno stubbed their toe against the Wise Guys in the second round losing to them 14-10 to drop the Canton ball club into the loser's bracket where they needed a long winning streak to get to the finals. The Wise Guys had defeated D's Nuts from Riverton 15-3 in a pig tail game before stopping Balls Deep P.A.L. from Bloomington 21-15 in the first round of play to advance into this game with Players/Mizuno.
Players/Mizuno set their aim high and went to work as they disposed of Team Complete from La Salle first in a very high scoring game winning 28-17 to move forward in the bracket.
On Sunday morning it was Players/Mizuno and Roundin' Third tangling with each other as Players/Mizuno posted another win onto the bracket board sending Roundin' Third to the parking lot to pack their cars for the trip back home after beating them 10-0.
Playing every hour on the hour Players/Mizuno next took the field with Aero Softball occupying the other dugout. Again the bats were booming for Players/Mizuno as they plated twenty runs winning 20-11 over Aero Softball.
Now Players/Mizuno and City Vendors/Bombers went toe to toe with Players/Mizuno coming out on top by the final score of 19-15 as the bats remained hot for the canton based ball club.
Now only the Wise guys, the team that had handed Players/Mizuno a loss on Saturday stood between them and the chance to play for the state title. Players/Mizuno took advantage of this by getting some revenge over the Wise Guys sending them home with third place after beating them 12-5 to earn the right to play unbeaten Robinson Plumbing for the 2005 ISA Men's Class D State title.
Players/Mizuno came out and made a clear statement to all those who were present by pounding out an impressive 30-15 win over Robinson Plumbing to force the need to have the 'if necessary game' played to decide between these two team who would wear the crown of the 2005 Illinois I.S.A. State championship.
The deciding game was everything that anyone could ask for. Lots of hits and lots of great defensive plays as these two teams went at each other holding nothing back in reserve and when the last play was finished the score board read 20-19 in favor Players/Mizuno the new Illinois I.S.A. Men's Class D State champions.
Players/Mizuno did not provide Illinois softball Report with any team information, stats, highlights, or quotes as to how they were able to accomplish their success in winning this state tournament.
Robinson Plumbing made it to the title game by winning the winners bracket before they were upended in the championship game. They were led by the play of Kyndal Zander who was named as the 'Golden Glove' defensive player of the tournament. Zander was joined on the 'All-State Tournament team by his teammates Mark McMahon, Jason Crawford, John Drowns, and Jim Fletcher.
Robinson Plumbing opened play with a 7-0 forfeit win over the Academy from Champaign in a pigtail game to get into the bracket.

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