By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A Goshen Little League team has not gone to a regional tournament since 2004.
That string will end this weekend when tthe Goshen All-Stars travel to the 13-year-old regional tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Goshen, under head coach Travis Davidson, outlasted Auburn, 16-13 in Tuesday night’s state championship game in Terre Haute.
The championship contest was a rematch of a pool-play game won by Auburn, 12-11.
Goshen was sparked by Alan Rivera’s three-homer night and got a winning pitching effort from Joey Peebles, who hurled 96 pitches in 5 1/3 innings of work. Phillip Wertz got the final two outs for a save.
Peebles said it was a hot evening in Terre Haute — just as it has been here all week.
“You stay hydrated, and you grind through it,” Peebles said on Wednesday. “You just have to battle.”
Even though Peebles — Davidson’s son — gave up some runs, he said he had faith that his teammates would score their share of runs behind him. Indeed, Davidson said the Goshen lineup is a potent one, with power up and down the batting order and two excellent pitchers in Peebles and Wertz.
The Goshen All-Stars will have to step up their game another notch at the regional, a double-elimination affair that gets under way for Goshen at 11 a.m. Saturday with a matchup against Michigan.
At the regional level, Davidson said defense will become even more important.
“We’ve got some good hitting and two good pitchers,” Davidson said. “Consistent defense is going to be critical.”
Team members include Peebles; Wertz; Rivera; Tyler Cultitts; Ken Hostettler; Trenton Scott; Max Harmon; Jose Pizana; Peyton Cripe; Manny Castillo; Austin Bontrager; Bailey Mast; Cade Fisher and Robby Riegsecker.
Davidson is assisted by Perry Cripe and Jeff Wertz.
The regional includes Indiana; Michigan; Ohio; Minnesota; Illinois; Missouri; Iowa and Wisconsin.