By Martin Soosloff
Michael Jordan would be proud. The “three-peat” is complete. The Lyons Storm, boys' 13 & 14 year old baseball team, completed a three-peat championship run Monday, July 17. The boys capped off their run through the playoffs with an impressive 12 to 7 win over the Niwot Cougars.
The win followed a double-header sweep on Saturday, July 15, that propelled the number two seeded Storm into the championship game Monday. Saturday’s second game was a see-saw back-and-forth affair that found The Storm trailing by two runs (nine to eleven) heading into their final at bat, as the home team. After squeaking in a run, scored by Charlie Gau following his crisp single with one out, the top of the order was coming to bat. Sean Stevelinck
singled, and advanced to third base on an infield out. Down to their final out, Brecken Khleif nailed a 3 and 0 pitch deep-deep into the left field corner for a two-run walk-off “tater,” securing a dramatic 12-11 victory.
“It’s hard to express how proud I am of these boys,” said Head Coach Martin Soosloff. “We talk all the time about how things will not go your way sometimes, and it’s about how you respond to adversity, and boy did they respond!”
On Monday evening, The Storm lost the championship coin flip, and so were designated the visiting team. Batting first they took an early two run lead on some aggressive base running and a timely hit by Rafael Trevino. Backed by the consistently strong shut down pitching of Aiden Christiansen, The Storm stretched their lead with five more runs in the second inning, while only giving up one run in each of the first two innings. The Storm's deep lineup all contributed timely hits and aggressive base running to lengthen the lead.
The Cougars however, wouldn’t go away without a snarl as they continued to chip away scoring three runs in their half of the third inning. Up 7 to 5 going into the top of the fourth, Coach Soosloff admitted to getting a bit nervous. “I just told the boys that this was the time to swing back the momentum, separate and take control of the game.”
Carpe Diem; The Storm, responded once again with five runs in the top of the fourth. Joe Selke and Charlie Gau started the hit parade, followed by Stevelinck, Christiansen, Rafael Ruiz, and another rocket shot home run by Brecken Khleif. Relief pitchers Stevelinck and Charlie Gau nailed down the win with Gau shutting down any thoughts of a Cougar rally with a stellar clinching four-batter fifth inning. “I just didn’t want it to end,” Brecken Khleif said about his homer on Saturday. “And then it was one more win with these guys and coach, we got it, I kinda wish we could keep playing, but the three-peat sure is sweet.”
The majority of The Storm will be freshman at Lyons High next year. Three of the boys are headed to other area high schools, but the core of the team will be staying in Lyons helping to contribute toward building a strong baseball tradition in town. An enthusiastic Coach Soosloff added, “I heard that the ten year old boys won their league, and Lyons thirteen year old team had a great season as well. Coaches Bogess and Bruckner and I talk all the time about wanting to grow the baseball tradition in town, making it a big deal. I feel it building every year. I am so fortunate to have coached this group.”
With the recent success of the Lyons High School program (the went deep into the state tournament this past season) and the new fields coming to Bohn Park by next spring,
it is clear that America’s pastime is thriving here in Lyons. Congratulations and thank you to all the families and coaches for another successful year of participating in youth baseball and softball.