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Rutz all the way: Local slowpitch softball team adds to summer of success with Labor Day title


2009 is apparently the year of the “Rutz” as far as local slowpitch softball goes.

A team sponsored by Rutz Trucking all summer, has added to its trophy collection, after going 7-0 to win the 45-team Waldron Labor Day Marathon Tournament last weekend.

The team was also sponsored by Cooperstown Softball Complex of Jackson, and L&J Lanes of Jonesville and the name ‘Rutz’ has been adopted as the team’s moniker and has become synonymous with winning, passion, and grit.

The same collection of players took second in the MASA Class D State Tournament earlier this year and was the league champions for the Thursday Night Cooperstown League in Jackson.

The team used solid defense and clutch hitting to come out on top last weekend, finishing the holiday weekend off with a 13-10 win over Team Benefit in the championship game.

Mark Lipscomb Jr. led off the game with an in-the-park home run for Rutz, a feat he equaled in his final at bat.

Catcher Chad Goetz was good for a homer and a triple in the finals and Gary Franson had a homer, three hits and a walk, capping off a stretch of reaching base in 14 consecutive plate appearances.

Franson was named the Tournament MVP in Waldron, with an on-base percentage of .785, 21 hits and 15 runs.

A key defensive play in the third inning by right fielder Jason Manville was also a difference maker in the championship. On a hit to deep right field, Manville dove while keeping his feet in the field of play and he crashed through the temporary orange snow fence to catch what would have been a home run. 

Here is a brief look at the Rutz other six tournament contests:

Game 1: Rutz 24,  All-Weather Tree Service 12
This was actually the tightest game of the bunch, final score aside. The game went into extra innings tied at 12 after Rutz battled back, but one extra session was all it took for Rutz to close the door. First baseman Tim ‘Pooh’ Whinnie had a whopping nine RBI with five hits, including a grand slam.

Game 2: Rutz 11, Trinity Softball 8
Rutz played sharp defense and scattered enough hits to edge their opponent in this effort. Outfielder James Galloway collected two doubles, a single and a walk in a 3-for-3 effort.

Game 3: Rutz 23, Team Bondsteel 5
Rutz collected four, 11 and eight runs over the course of the second, third and fourth innings. Lipscomb was 4-for-5 with three doubles, Whinnie was 4-for-4 with a double and second baseman Rob Cole added a single, double and triple.

Game 4: Rutz 9, Legendary 8
With the game tied at 8 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Franson delivered a clutch 2-out single which scored the speedy Galloway from 1st base.  Galloway was quick out of the blocks, sprinted hard the whole way, and beat the relay to the plate for the win.  Shortstop Joe Kimball, Goetz, and Andy Pepper all homered in the game for Rutz.

Game 5: Rutz 18, Inergy 5
This contest lasted just four-and-a-half innings as Galloway and Cole started things off with home runs in the first inning. Goetz and Kimball also hit dingers, Pepper and Whinnie added triples and Franson was 3-for-3 with two doubles.   

Semifinals: Rutz 15, Tri-State 11
Whinnie’s 2-out 2-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth ended up accounting for the winning runs. Rutz jumped out to an early lead with an 8-run second inning, featuring home runs by Franson and Cole. Kimball, Cole, Franson and Lipscomb each had three hits in the contest.
 
Information from the Web site www.softballcoast2coast.com, provided by James Galloway was used in this article.

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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