The battle for first place in men’s slowpitch softball at the Show-Me State Games this past weekend in Columbia came down to two teams that know each other very well.
The Sedalia Sting won their first four games to get back to the championship game for the fourth year in a row and waiting for them was another Sedalia team sponsored by Subway.
“Sedalia went up there and destroyed the competition,” said Sedalia Sting pitcher Nick Lumpe. “I wouldn’t want it to be any other team.”
Lumpe said once they saw the brackets and saw that the two Sedalia teams were on opposite sides, they wished each other luck, knowing that if they met it would be in the final. When the Sting finished their semifinal game, the Subway players were waiting for them.
“I think it’s pretty good,” said Subway pitcher and left fielder Chris Mabry. “It tells them that we do have good ballclubs here and competitive teams. We have quality players and its fun to play with those guys because they make you work for it.”
The Sting came away with the 23-3 win in the Show-Me State Games, claiming their first title in six trips to the games, including three consecutive trips to the final.
“It was awesome, it was great,” Lumpe said. “Finally they gave us that blue ribbon, that medal and it was just a sense of accomplishment.”
In five games in the tournament, the Sting scored 118 runs.
“We were just on fire,” Lumpe said. “I’d say anywhere from 15 to 25 runs a game. Granted you have a bad game and you just can’t get going, but that’s the great thing about our team is you have positive reinforcement. We’ve got people that whenever you pop out, instead of somebody beating you up mentally, we’ve got people saying ‘hey, we’ve got your back. Play defense and your bat will come around.’ ”
The team has been together for eight years and Lumpe said that five of the players have been there throughout with other players added to the mix when needed.
The Sting play in Columbia regularly, but for Subway it was its first trip to the tournament
“We had wanted to play in the tournament before but could never get the dates together,” Mabry said.
The teams meet regularly in league play through the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department. The Sting have had the upper hand in the rivalry this summer, but over the years it has been evenly matched with each team claiming big victories over the other.
“We go back and forth with everybody winning their share,” Mabry said. “We were hoping we could get there (to the final) and play each other.”
The teams play each other so often, they have gotten to know each other and know everyone’s tendencies at the plate.
“We know where they hit and where to play each other,” Mabry said. “The thing about our teams is it’s not over until it’s done. Either team could come back and win.”
The Sting are taking a break now with Subway preparing for the Pilot Grove tournament.