Columbia [Tenn.] wins BP Invitational, beats Dimond 7-3

Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Jul 16, 2012

First Columbia [Tenn.] Post 19 won with a walk-off homer.

Then the team walked away with the first-place trophy in the annual BP Invitational Tournament.

Columbia claimed the championship Sunday night with a 7-3 victory over Dimond Post 21 in the title game at Mulcahy Stadium.

Starter Heath Slatton – an 18th-round MLB draft pick – recorded the win with 5 strong innings and benefitted from his team’s six-spot in the third inning to snap Dimond's eight-game winning streak.

Eight of Sunday night's 9 starters have already signed to play college baseball this fall, including 5 at NCAA Division I schools.

Slatton, a powerful righty who throws in the low 90s, struggled with his command early by loading the bases in the first inning on two walks and a hit batsman.

He would find his groove, though, mixing his fastball and curveball to frustrate Dimond hitters.

Offensively, Columbia scored all seven runs in the first three innings.

Blake Phillips drove in 3 RBIs and Seth Staggs, Desi Ammons, Taylor Ellis and Dakota Underwood each had 1 RBI.

Post 19 collected two individual awards, with Staggs winning Most Outstanding Player and Dathan Prewitt winning the Gold Glove.

Dimond's Sagan Osborne went 2 for 4 with a run and RBI in the title game. Jordan Clevenger also had an RBI.

Dylan Lauwers reached base all four times on a single and 3 walks.

He also pitched in relief and shut down the Tennessee bats over the final 3.2 innings, allowing no runs, to drop his tournament ERA below 1.40 and help him win the Most Outstanding Pitcher award.

Kaleb Keith of Castroville [Texas] Post 460 won the tournament’s Big Stick award for his production at the plate. Keith smacked two home runs in three days, including a grand slam in the first inning against Columbia in Sunday’s early semifinal game.

That made it 5-0, a score that probably would have held true against most teams.

But Columbia proved all weekend to be a special squad.

Trailing 5-2 with two outs and runners at second and third, the Tennessee team scored four times on consecutive swings – first a two-run single by Staggs and then a walk-off two-run home run by Clay Hughes.

Coach Mickey McKeel’s team finished 5-0 in the BP Invitational Tournament, improving to 24-11 overall this year.