GREENVILLE — They needed two games and extra innings, but in the end, RJ’s Sports Bar accomplished its goal and captured the prize.
RJ’s Sports Bar outlasted defending tournament champion All-American Domination in a two-game final on Sunday to win the men’s Danish Festival Softball Tournament.
RJ’s Sports Bar came into the finals a perfect 4-0, while All-American Domination had to play its way back through the loser’s bracket and was 8-1 entering the finals (finished 9-2 overall).
“We had to fight our way through. It was not the same as last year,” All-American Domination’s Ken Mitz said. “Last year, we were sitting in the winner’s bracket, but this year had to come all the way back through.”
“We had a close game against Flo’s in the semifinals, otherwise we rolled pretty good until the finals,” RJ’s Sports Bar manager Buck Rush said. “We did a great job this weekend with great hitting, defense and they played as a team.”
All-American Domination gave RJ’s Sports Bar all they could handle, while forcing a second game with a 13-11 come from behind win in the first finals game.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Rush said. “They were last year’s champs and we knew we had to play ball. They (Domination) did a great job in the first game and really battled in game two.”
RJ’s Sports Bar scored three times in the first inning and led 7-1 after the bottom of the second inning. All-American Domination scored the next 12 runs to take an 11-7 advantage after five innings.
“They used up their two home runs early and we kept getting base hits,” Mitz said.
RJ’s scored once in the sixth and three times in the seventh, but it was not enough as All-American Domination forced a second finals game.
“They hit the ball and hit the gaps,” Rush said. “They hit, ran well and played defense.”
The second game was a reversal of fortune for RJ’s Sports Bar.
All-American Domination jumped out to the 4-1 lead after two innings. In the third inning, each team traded four runs as All-American Domination held on to a three-run lead, 8-5.
RJ’s Sports Bar scored a single run in the fourth and two in the fifth, while All-American Domination scored once in the fourth and once in the fifth to lead 10-8.
RJ’s Sports Bar scored twice in the sixth to tie the game 10-10. The scored remained the same forcing extra innings.
In extra innings, each team starts with a runner on first base and one out. This is done to help keep games within an hour time limit during the tournament.
RJ’s Sports Bar took advantage of this and scored five times, while holding All-American Domination scoreless.
The 15-10 win gave RJ’s Sports Bar its first Danish Festival win.
“Both teams were really good and we wouldn’t be here if we weren’t,” Rush said. “This is a huge win for us. We have been wanting to win this for years. Last year, we were third. I’m sure RJ’s will be proud of this win.”
Mitz wasn’t disappointed with the loss.
“We are never disappointed,” Mitz said. “We’ve been able to play in the finals two years in a row. It’s a great tournament.”