The Seattle Studs have begun to celebrate their Kamloops International Baseball Tournament titles like an aging man celebrates his birthdays.
The Studs won KIBT for the third straight year on Sunday, beating the Everett Merchants 8-6 in the final in front of about 350 fans at NorBrock Stadium. Seattle has been dominant over the past 11 years, winning seven titles, including six of the last seven.
When the final out was made Sunday - Everett's Ryan Sells popped out to third-baseman Bobby Tannehill with two runners on base - there was no great celebration. Just a lot of men shaking hands to acknowledge a job well done.
"We had 20 players. Everybody contributed," said Seattle manager Barry Aden, who won the Alf Morton Memorial Trophy for top coach for the eighth time. "Everybody that's been with us all summer long had a big part of this and that's what makes it special for us."
Seattle played a lot of baseball Sunday. The Studs, who had beaten the Kamloops Sundevils 10-4 in a Saturday playoff game, lost 2-1 to the Merchants on Sunday morning, before dropping the Sundevils 2-1 in the semifinal right after.
But it was Everett, which had gone 5-0 before the final, that looked tired in the championship game.
The Merchants made four errors, leading to a pair of unearned runs, and allowed back-to-back bunt singles in the bottom of the third inning, when the Studs scored five times.
"That's the difference in the ball game - unearned runs," said manager Harold Pyatte, whose Merchants have lost four of the past five KIBT finals. "You can't take anything away from their club - you give them the opportunity, leave the door open, they're good enough to take advantage."
The Merchants looked solid before that third inning, taking a 2-0 lead on a first-inning run and Sam Parris's second-inning bomb over the left-field wall.
But it all came apart in the bottom of the third.
Seattle's Connor Savage led off with a single, before Caleb Brown, attempting to sacrifice, beat pitcher Gunnar Swanson's throw to first base. The next batter, Derek Jennings, laid down a fantastic bunt that danced along the third-base line until it hit the bag. That loaded the bases.
Tannehill followed with a two-run single, before tournament MVP Eric Peterson brought in another run, Brian Corliss swatted an RBI double and catcher Garrett Breda drove in the fifth run with another bunt single.
"The difference was that five-run inning," Aden said. "They were up one after one and two after two, and we were flat. We responded with five runs and it took the air out of their sails and reminded them that we've dominated them in years past and this year as well."
Swanson took the loss, allowing five earned runs over 2 2/3 innings. Craig Monson pitched two effective innings, before Jake Thomas finished the game. David Amberson had two singles and scored twice.
Tom DeBoer was the winning pitcher, allowing four earned runs over five-plus innings. Taylor Thompson - who always shines at KIBT - pitched the final four innings for the save, allowing one earned run.
Tannehill ended up 3-for-5, while right-fielder Kyle Boe was 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
Peterson didn't have his best game of the tournament, going 1-for-5 with a run scored, but was named the tournament's MVP and its top defensive player.
It was a pretty good day for the 6-foot-3 first-baseman, whose father played at KIBT in 1986, when the Studs - known as the Seattle Swannies Studs - won their first of 10 titles.
"It's pretty surreal," Peterson said. "I never thought I would do the same thing my dad did, but it's exciting to come out and get a chance and get it done.