Apr. 26—The Westmont Hilltop offense struck early and often in the championship game of the 10th Gene Schultz Memorial Tournament. The Hilltoppers racked up 16 hits on the way to a commanding 26-6 victory in six innings over Bishop McCort Catholic at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point on Sunday afternoon to earn the program’s first tournament title.
“They came out and swung the bats well,” veteran Westmont coach Paul Knupp Jr. said after his team improved to 3-3 on the season. “We didn’t swing very well yesterday (Saturday), I think we’ve had a long layoff in between games. We just preached about squaring balls up and they came out and hit.”
Westmont was able to break the game open early with a five-run second inning, which was highlighted by a three-run triple by senior catcher Tanner Civis. He finished the afternoon 3-for-6 with seven RBIs and three runs scored. He also worked 22/3 innings of scoreless relief and was named MVP of the tournament.
“Tanner is one of our leaders and if he can stay hot, he can do some damage on the baseball,” Knupp said of his senior catcher. “He’s been with us for four years and he gave us the lift and the spark that we needed. He’s one of our leaders.”
After a 1-3 start to the season, the Hilltoppers picked up a pair of wins over the weekend. Civis believes he’s starting to come around personally as well as the team.
“I started off slow this year and I’ve been in situations where I needed big hits and couldn’t come up with them, but in a big game like this, it’s nice to come up with the big hits,” Civis said following his three-hit performance.
The Hilltoppers tacked on five more runs in the next two innings to build an 11-1 advantage, but the Bishop McCort offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth. The Crimson Crushers rallied to get it to 11-6 and were still threatening.
Knupp called on Civis to work out of a jam, and he did just that.
Bishop McCort shortstop Nate Conrad lined a ball with the bases loaded, but Westmont shortstop Tyler Mosorjak snared it and doubled off the runner at third to halt the threat, and ultimately the Crushers’ chances in the game.
“It’s definitely nerve-wracking,” Civis said of coming in to pitch with the bases loaded.
“But it feels great and it’s the situations you always want to be in playing baseball, you always want to be put there and do the best you can there.”
“We had some hiccups in the middle where we didn’t field the ball as well, and we came back and changed that momentum because that was huge,” Knupp said. “We needed to get that momentum back and they did a great job at the plate getting that momentum back.”
The Hilltoppers responded in a big way with a massive 15-run sixth inning that saw 19 batters head to the plate. Civis put an exclamation point on the game with an inside-the-park three-run homer to dead center, which was his second hit of the monster inning for Westmont.
Alex Ray, Mosorjak and Drew Buettner all were named to the all-tournament team after recording two hits each during Sunday’s victory over the Crushers.
Westmont has played in all 10 Schultz Memorial tournaments dating back to 2011. The win over Bishop McCort represented the program’s first championship in the event.
“It’s awesome to be a part of this tournament, and I thank Chris Pfeil and Bishop McCort for inviting us back every year,” Knupp said. “It gives the kids a great opportunity to play in a great stadium and it’s special to play down here. Anytime these kids get an opportunity to play down there, they really enjoy it. We’re happy to be able to play in this and this is our first title, so we’re excited about it.”
Bishop McCort pitchers allowed nine walks in this game, while also committing an uncharacteristic eight errors as well. The loss drops the Crimson Crushers to 4-4 on the year.
“You’ve got to give Westmont a lot of credit, they hit the ball all over the field today,” McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. “We certainly didn’t help our cause. We played poor defense and that’s the difference between an experienced team and an inexperienced team. We got to be able to put this behind us and turn the page because we have a four-game week coming up and we got to win some games and continue to try to earn a playoff spot.”
In the consolation game, United erased a two-run deficit against Shanksville-Stonycreek with three runs in the fourth, four in the fifth and three more in the sixth to notch a 10-4 victory over the Vikings. United improved to 8-3 on the year with the win. All-tournament team selection Hunter Cameron collected three hits and scored a run in the win for the Lions. Caden McCully, Ben Tomb and Wade Plowman all had two hits apiece for United. Gavin Fritz produced a multi-hit game for the Vikings in the defeat.