August 20, 2021
Burdett’s hot bat leading Red Sox
August 24, 2021

By Darryl G. Smart

The Hill United Chiefs have climbed back on top of the world of softball. But this one meant something different.

On Saturday, the Chiefs beat their arch-rival New York Gremlins 7-4 to capture its fifth International Softball Conference world title in eight years. Not only was it the first championship since 2017, it was the first without sponsor Kenny Hill, who passed away earlier this year.

Jason Hill was the hero in the final, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, and broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning to hand the Gremlins their only loss of the tournament.

“Well I can tell you this was a special one,” Hill said. “With Kenny’s passing, this meant a lot to his family, to our team and to our fans. We had some extra motivation to get this done for Kenny, because without him, none of us are here in this position. You could see the emotion on everyone’s face after the final out and as Pete (his brother) said, Kenny was watching down on us, and you can guarantee he is up there celebrating with us.”

The Chiefs had the Gremlins on their heels much of the night, scoring two in the second and one more in the third. But the Gremlins tied things up in the bottom half of that inning and added one more to take the lead in the fourth inning.

After tying the game up on a Gremlins error in the sixth, the Chiefs offence kicked into gear scoring three in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.

Defensively, the Chiefs were rock solid, especially in the outfield taking away a handful of extra-base hits and home runs from the Gremlins. The biggest was Wayne Laulu’s long fly ball that looked like trouble in the bottom of the seventh inning with two on base and the potential to tie the game up. But the Chiefs outfield came through and Nico Carril made a spectacular catch at the fence for the final out.

Offensively, the Chiefs scattered 12 hits in the game. Brad Ezekiel, Hill, Carril and Tony Gonzalez each had multiple hits in the win.

Devon McCullough, who earned the Leroy Zimmerman Memorial Award Most Outstanding Pitcher Award, started on the mound for the Chiefs. In three and a third innings, he allowed one hit and no runs while striking out six. Patrick Burns threw one and one-third innings in relief and got the win, while Pablo Migliavacca threw two and one third innings, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out three.

Andrew Kirkpatrick started for the Gremlins and lasted three innings, giving up three runs on six hits. Josh Pettett took the loss in four innings of work, striking out five, but giving up four runs on six hits.

The win not only meant a lot to the Chiefs because of Hill’s passing, but because of the way they had to prepare for the world tournament, not having been able to play thanks to COVID-19.

“We faced a juggernaut in the New York Gremlins, and it was a true battle. These guys were going for three-in-a-row. We’ve been there and that’s certainly not an easy feat,” Hill said. “We basically came together three weeks ago in Minnesota to try and prepare for the worlds. The rust was evident, but our goal was to get better each day. Our management lined up daily practices, exhibition games, inter-squad, you name it. They did everything they could to help us get ready to battle, and that exactly what we did. It’s a remarkable feeling, sitting here today as world champ. A lot of people had us wrote off, especially after a year layoff and without a couple of our horses in Adam Folkard and Nick Shailes. But, again we found a way, came together as one, and now are back on top of the world.”

The Chiefs capped off a near-perfect six days for the Chiefs, who went 6-1. Earlier Saturday, they beat the Kitchener Hallman Twins 7-3 to earn another shot at the Gremlins, who defeated them in walk-off fashion Wednesday 6-5.

Friday, the Chiefs defeated Simcoe’s Rob Schweyer and the Kegel Black Knights 6-2. They also beat LC Ostrander Norsemen 17-0, AWP Lumberjacks 11-0, and rebounded from the Gremlins’ loss with a 4-2 victory over J&B.

First Team All World

Shane Boland, Hill United Chiefs

Tony Gonzalez, Hill United Chiefs

Erick Ochoa NY, Gremlins

Thomas Enoka, Hallman Twins

Bruno Motroni, Hill United Chiefs

Brad Ezekiel, Hill United Chiefs

Mike Lewis, Kegel Black Knights

Zenon Winters, NY Gremlins

Nick Mullins, NY Gremlins

Devon McCullough, Hill United Chiefs

Jorge Segura, Circle Tap Dukes

Martin Gonzalez, AWP Lumberjacks

Second Team All World

Jerome Raemaki, NY Gremlins

Steve Mullaley, Hill United Chiefs

Cam Schiller, Hallman Twins

Carlos Menchaca, OMMA Tigres

Blair Ezekiel, Circle Tap Dukes

Nico Carril, Hill United Chiefs

Matt Ratliff, Circle Tap Dukes

Mathieu Roy, NY Gremlins

Wayne Laulu, NY Gremlins

Pablo Migliavacca, Hill United Chiefs

Huemul Mata, Hallman Twins

Josh Pettett NY Gremlins

Cleo Goyette Memorial Most Valuable Player

Bruno Motroni Hill United Chiefs

Leroy Zimmerman Memorial Award Most Outstanding Pitcher

Devon McCullough Hill United Chiefs

Kevin Herlihy Memorial Newcomer of the Year

Lane Kurtz RM Kurtz Enterprise,

Most RBI

Shane Boland Hill United Chiefs 10

Leading Hitter

Tyler Pauli Bear Creek Express .545