They’d come up short at other tournaments during the summer. But the WWBA 16u Prospect Meadows National Championship was going to be different. That’s what Justin Gominsky and his team kept saying as they fought seven grueling games to reach the championship. There, the MN Icemen took home the trophy with an 8-1 victory over the South Oakland A’s.
Kade Peloquin of the Icemen was named the tournament MVP, while Braydon Nigh of the A’s was named the MV-Pitcher.
“They came out and battled,” Gominsky, who also founded the Icemen program, said. “This team, they’re never out of it. They always come back and put up good at-bats.”
The Icemen appeared to have the A’s under control from the moment they hit the field. Between near-perfect defense, nine hits and a superb pitching performance by Austin Bergum, all the pieces fell together for a championship trophy.
Peloquin was first on base with a four-ball walk. Brandon Lockhart displayed that same patience before Cole Brownloaded the bases after being hit by pitch. With bases loaded, Max Aug fought off a 3-2 count to drive in the first run of the game, reaching first base on balls. Bergum followed with the first hit of the game, a two-run single up the middle.
The Icemen wouldn’t score again until the third with two outs and no one on base. Aug reached on an error before Bergum singled for his second hit of the game. Lucas Hess singled to the infield, tallying another run on the board. They continued to add four runs across the next three innings, only giving up one lone one in the sixth.
The team combined for nine singles, with Bergum and Lockhart having two each. Peloquin and Brown scored multiple runs with three and two, respectively. Even so, the stats sheet was relatively even across the game.
“Being so even throughout the lineup is great,” Gominsky said. “They push each other every day. From day one of practice to our last day of summer ball, it’s a really good end note. Every guy is in it for each other and they all fight and compete for each other. That’s what makes a great team and that’s what we have.”
“We fought all through the year, came up short a couple times,” Peloquin added. “It’s good to go out with a win.”
Prior to the championship victory, the Icemen posted an 11-6 victory over Pro Player Canes-Matsie in the semifinals. In the slug-off victory, the two teams combined for 21 hits. Ultimately, though, it prepared the victors for the final game.
“The team we played up there is a really solid team,” Gominsky said. “Having those moments really does help you get ready. I feel that was a great test for us to get into the championship.”