Dynasty of the Demons
The Demons won their third consecutive Community League title with Sunday night’s 3-2 victory in 10 innings over the Jackson County Thunder at the fairgrounds.
Add that to the title they won in their final year in the South Central Texas Amateur League back in 2010, and the La Grange Demons have a four-year championship streak going.
The Demons have been coached during this four-year stretch by James Karstedt and Curt Harbers and both agreed on what the recipe for such long-term success was.
“There’s such a camaraderie among these guys,” Harbers said. “They really look forward to seeing each other every week.”
This season the Demons rolled to a 10-1 overall record to beat out the other nine teams in the Community League. Their only loss was to Serbin, and both times La Grange played Jackson County, the outcome was a one-run ballgame.
The intense rivalry between the Demons and Jackson County goes back even farther than that.
In last year’s league title game, La Grange beat the Thunder 4-3.
“Last year it was a balk (that determined the outcome); this year it was a walk,” Harbers said.
La Grange’s Dylan Knebel walked home with the winning run in the tenth inning Sunday after Dylan Blaha drew a bases-loaded walk.
“It was a great game, and we were just able to come out on top,” said Blaha, who was named the championship game co-MVP.
It was a thrilling game that almost wasn’t played Sunday when an afternoon downpour left parts of the field underwater.
But after some field maintenance, the game began about three hours after the scheduled start time of 3 p.m.
Omar Gutierrez gave the Demons six strong innings of work as the starting pitcher, allowing just a single run on five hits.
But Jackson County was getting their own stellar pitching outing from Kevin Landgrebe, the title game’s other MVP.
La Grange went up 1-0 in the third when a Layne Schramm sacrifice fly plated Ethan Heinrich, but Jackson County tied the game on a solo homer by Chris Whitehead in the fourth.
Ryan Majewski relieved Gutierrez on the mound for the Demons in the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, Jackson County scored to take a 2-1 lead, but La Grange answered in their half of the inning. Ryan Majewski singled and eventually scored on a double by Dillon Knebel.
The game would stay tied until the bottom of the tenth, when a pair of Thunder relievers had trouble finding the plate and walked the bases full.
A suicide squeeze bunt by Chad Weisepape was handled perfectly by Jackson County as they got their first out of the inning at home. But that just delayed the outcome because one batter later Blaha drew the bases-loaded walk and Knebel trotted home.
The game was over, and the title was the Demons - again.
|Jackson||Co.||000||100||010||0||-||2 9 0|
|La||Grange||001||000||010||1||-||3 11 1|