Eight local teams win knothole titles

By Garth Shanklin
Sports Editor

As the Clermont County knothole baseball season slowly draws to a close, several teams find themselves celebrating a championship.

In the Class D Jr. silver division, the Goshen Bulls held off a rally from the Amelia Red Stockings, defeating the latter squad in the championship match after falling to them earlier in the tournament.

Bulls’ head coach Corey West said that the team set their sights on a championship early on and were able to achieve their goals.

“For being one of the younger teams in the league and the first year of kid pitch, the boys played their hearts out this season,” West said. “We started practicing in January and our goal was to win a championship. We told them their hard work would pay off, and it did.”

In Class D Sr. gold division play, the Tealtown Dragons completed a perfect 5-0 run through the tournament, winning the title over the Milford Razorbacks in New Richmond.

The Amelia Wolfpack came close to winning a title in the Class C Jr. gold division tournament in Williamsburg, but the team fell to the Fayetteville Rockets and settled for second place.

In Class C Sr. play in Milford, the Amelia Defenders defeated the New Richmond Red Legs for the second time, this time clinching a championship in the process. The Defenders also defeated New Richmond in the second round of tournament play on June 26.

The New Richmond River Bats defeated the Batavia Outlaws for the second time in the championship game of the Class C Sr. silver bracket in Milford.

The River Bats knocked the Outlaws to the consolation bracket in the finals of the championship round, then defeated Batavia again in the championship game at Riverside Park on July 14.

Head coach Matt Schuster had plenty of people to thank for the team’s success this season.

“I’m very proud of the progress and contribution that every individual made this year in creating our championship team,” Schuster said. “Thank you to all our coaches, and a special thank you to all of our parents for sharing their kids!”

In the silver bracket, the Goshen Bears earned a championship title by defeating the Tealtown Vipers in the championship game, held in Williamsburg on Monday, July 17.

Goshen was the host of the Class B Jr. tournament, with the Milford Scorpions defeating the Williamsburg Wildcats on July 12 to take home the title.

“The boys worked hard all season,” head coach James Flottemesch said. “When it came down to it, they played hard for each other, never gave up and refused to let each other down.”

After a 13-day layoff, the New Richmond Titans returned to the field in Mt. Orab for the Class B Sr. silver division championship match against Goshen, a team they had defeated on July 1. The result was the same, with the Titans earning the win and the tournament title.

Head coach Doug Cmehil said the team was a bit behind at the beginning of the season due to roster turnover, but they were always willing to learn.

“The beginning of the season looked a little skeptical because we had lost five boys to select ball teams, bringing younger and less experienced boys up, which made it a weary first half,” Cmehil said. “The boys were very eager to learn and to my surprise they took every piece of information that we put out and applied it to the game.”

Once the season began and the players got playing time under their belt, they began to pick up on the things their coaches were trying to teach them, which ended up leading the team to accomplishing their goals.

“The most important thing to teach them was ‘with hard work, determination, teamwork and perseverance, this team would be winners despite the outcome of the season,” Cmehil said. “They listened and learned, I’m so proud of these boys!”

It took an extra game, but the Amelia Mustangs earned the title in the class A Jr. championship match in Goshen on July 13.

Amelia defeated the Batavia Flames way back on June 30 to advance to the title game. The Flames fell to the Milford Outlaws on July 7, and the Outlaws forced a winner-take-all match by knocking off the Mustangs on July 12. Amelia returned the favor one day later to clinch the title.

“It was a great team effort this year,” head coach Ralph Roeper said. “We were 20-3. All of the boys contributed and played extremely hard. I am very proud of their efforts.”

Like the Outlaws, the Goshen Gators rallied through the consolation bracket to force a decisive championship game. They pulled out the victory, knocking off the Milford Warriors in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, July 16 to win the Class A Sr. championship.

There are still two classes of play without a champion as of this writing. The Goshen Reds and Tealtown Squatches battled in a championship match on July 15 at 10 a.m. with the Squatches coming out on top, forcing another game on July 19 at 6:30.

Additionally, the Class B Sr. tournament is down to the final three teams. The Goshen Heat faced off against the Mt. Orab Mambas to determine the winner’s bracket representative. The loser faces the CNE Rebels, with the championship game scheduled for July 22 at 2 p.m. in Mt. Orab.