A record $22,585 dollars was raised at the 2015 Jake Hodge wiffle ball tournament bringing the grand total to $49,311 dollars in 3 years. The event was held on August 7-9 2015 and it was a roaring success. Play opened with the West Kentucky Wildcats 10U versus 8U teams in an exhibition game with the 8U winning in an upset 8-4. Opening ceremonies included recognition of this years scholarship winners and an invocation by Shane Board.
Play began and it was clear from the start, it would not be the usual teams in the finals. The Crittenden Free Press began the evening by knocking off Kents Krew (formerly the Aztecs) in a Crittenden grudge match 7-2. The Free Press got stellar play from Chris Evans, who hit a tourney record 6 home runs and Denis Hodge, who along with Evans tied for most hits in the tourney with 8. Jeremy Wheeler made the sportscenter highlights with numerous diving catches in left field. It was apparent that the Free Press would be a playoff contender after two years of futility.
As the evening progressed last years runners-up the Kings of Crash had a nail bitter against Team 11. The Kings gave up 4 runs in the first 2 innings and would lose the game 4-3. It would be the first of 2 heartbreaking loses by 1 run each that the Kings of Crash would face en route to an 0-2 record. With the win, Team 11 would play the McCrew on Saturday for a trip to the playoffs.
A newcomer to the tournament was a team led by Joe Vanhooser called the KnuckleHeads. This group started off strong against The Squad with a 12-0 rout. As Saturdays play began, the Kuckelheads were a team that most had penciled in to win the division and advance to the playoffs.
Upset Saturday turned out to be just that; one upset after another. Gi Gi Warriors easily handled The Squad. The next game was between last years playoff team the Rally Squirrels and The Fredonia Boys. Most were expecting a close game, but Fredonia won going away 12-3 with home runs by Justin Perkins, Craig Wyatt, and Ben Tucker. With the win Fredonia opened many eyes and were one of the favorites. G G warriors the upset the KnuckelHeads 9-5 with 4 runs in the 6th inning. Elija Anderson had two home runs in the win.
Perhaps the game of the day was the McCrew versus Kings of Crash. Oliver Parker pitched a gem with 5 scoreless innings as the Kings held a 2-0 lead going into the 6th inning. In the top of the 6th with two outs, Chris Logston singled and Dylan Gray hit a monster home run to tie the game. The Kings of Crash would load the bases in the bottom of the sixth with no outs, but could not score. The unlikely hero of the game was Corey McEnaney who hit a home run in extra innings to close the door on last years runner up team. The McCrew would go on to defeat Team 11 later that evening to set up another run at the playoffs.
One of the more anticipated games was the two time defending champion Bone Collectors versus the Fredonia Boys. The Bone Collectors had a depleted squad, but still kept the game close losing 7-6 in a major let down in the 6th inning. The Bone Collectors would not recover and would go 0-2 after a loss to the Rally Squirrels later in the day. This was the first year that the boys from Paducah were eliminated from the playoffs.
The Outlaws and 12U Bobcats were new additions to the tourney this year. The Outlaws were led by former WKU basketball star Michael Fraliex and former Murray State basketball player Matt Fraliex. The 12 Bobcats and the Akridge Amazing Aces quickly discovered that the Outlaws could play baseball as well and the team easily advanced to the playoff round.
Below is the playoff bracket.
Sundays Playoff round would be another reason why we play the games. #4 Fredonia cruised past G G Warriors and that would set up a huge tilt with what many thought was the best team, #4 Fredonia against the #1 Seed McCrew. The game was a 1-0 classic with tourney MVP Conner McEnenaney hitting a home run in the first inning and pitching a shutout. Fredonia pitcher Craig Wyatt was equally effective. With a win over the Outlaws, the Crittenden Free Press would meet the McCrew in a game of #1 vs #2. The Free Press took the lead in the 5th inning with a home run by Chris Evans 4-3. But, just as they had done against the Kings of Crash, the McCrew would score 4 runs in the bottom of the 5th started off by a Bryce Thomas home run. The score would stand as the McCrew won 7-4 to claim their first Jake Hodge championship.