Retif Oil did what no other team in the American Legion State Tournament could do, and did it twice.
Jesuit-based Retif used two impressive complete game pitching performances Wednesday to beat previously undefeated Shaw-based Refuel to win the tournament. The first game ended 3-0, while the second was a more lopsided 7-1.
In the first game, Jack Burk tossed a complete shut out and struck out 14 batters. He chased a no-hitter until the seventh inning, when Refuel’s Brandon Guillot doubled down the left-field line. Guillot had two of the three hits Burk ended up conceding.
Glynn Hyer’s performance in the second game was better than good enough to get the job done. Hyer also gave up only three hits — the first a single that scored a run in the fifth, and two more in the bottom of the eighth — to provide some drama before he stranded the base runners with a strikeout. He finished with nine strikeouts, three walks and no earned runs.
“That’s probably the best offensive team we’ve seen all year, and to hold them to one run over 18 innings — if you’d have told me that before the day started, I’d have said you were insane,” Retif manager Joey Latino said. “It’s a testament to Jack Burk and Glynn Hyer, great defense and timely hitting.”
Retif got off to a hot start in the first game, scoring twice in the first inning on just one hit. Refuel pitcher Keith Meier walked Nick Ray to start off, and Ray scored two batters later when Dan Edmund hit a double to the left-field gap. Edmund advanced to third on a ball mishandled by the catcher on the next at bat, then tagged and scored on the next out. Edmund finished the game 3-for-5.
In the next two innings, Meier forced Retif to strand five on base, recording strikeouts at the end of both innings to get out of trouble.
But he couldn’t get out of the fourth unscathed. Retif’s Matt Cedro made it to second after a throwing error went over the wall, and two sacrifice bunts sent him home.
Meier gave up six hits, three earned runs and four walks, striking out 10 batters in seven innings.
With several players on the mend, the only change Latino made to the lineup between games was his pitcher. During the break, he told the team to not be satisfied.
“I said enjoy it in the moment but quickly refocus, because we’ve got another nine innings to play,” Latino said.
Retif went up early again in the second game after back-to-back doubles in the third by Dan Edmund and Trent Forshag down the right- and left-field lines.
After Refuel’s Jace Nini scored in the fifth, Retif went back up in the seventh after loading the bases. Edmund scored on an error, then Harrison Daste was hit by a pitch to score another run. D.J. Alexander replaced Guillot, who started the second game on the mound, and stranded three to save Refuel from a bigger hole.
It grew, though, in the ninth, in which Retif seemed to hit the ball at will and scored four runs, putting the game, and the title, out of reach.
“I told them before we left the school, there’s a difference between being hopeful you can win two games and being determined you can win two games. I saw a lot of determination in this group of kids tonight.”