2008 EAST Summer Seminar

Southern Sweet Teas Prevail 13-12 in Kickball Battle

An epic battle for kickball superiority was waged on July 22, 2008, at the Holiday Island Resort in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, highlighting the 2008 EAST Summer Seminar festivities.

With the picturesque Ozark Mountains providing the backdrop for this historic clash, the visiting Midwestern Illowas raced to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on the strength of kickball ringer Melissa Gallegos two-run single (Gallegos was then replaced on the Illowas by burgeoning star six year old Sierra Gregory following the revelation that her amateur status had been revoked following her stint as a kickball professional in the small European country of Luxemburg).

The Southern Sweet Teas then responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame making it 4-2 after one inning of intense kickball action.

The respective pitchers then settled in, Keturah West for the Illowas and Savannah Diesel for the Sweet Teas, and neither team scored until the fifth inning. Both pitchers benefited from stellar defense behind them including the omnipresent Ryan Copico for the Sweet Teas who turned an unassisted double play ending an Illowa threat in the fourth inning. Meanwhile for the Illowas Eric Updegraff and Andrew Duncan patrolled the outfield making circus catches one after another.

Finally in the fifth inning, the Illowas pushed four runs across behind the pinpoint kicking accuracy and daring baserunning by Gregory. The Sweet Teas retaliated with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to close the cap to 8-4.

In the sixth inning, the Illowas padded their lead with two more runs behind the efforts of Gregory who seemingly was untouchable in the contest, rounding the bases with reckless abandon as she continued her quest for MVP honors.

However in the bottom half of the sixth, the Sweet Teas unveiled a new plan of attack in an effort to close the six run gap; bunting and then running really fast to the respective bases. The Illowas struggled to adapt to the new-fangled strategy and committed numerous errors due to overwhelming humidity, elevation and a lack of sufficient footwear. When the dust had settled, the Sweet Teas had scored an astounding seven runs and took a11-10 lead heading into the seventh.

In the seventh inning, the Illowas regained the lead 12-11 on consecutive hits by Gregory, Updegraff, Duncan and Brian Davis. Following the seventh inning stretch and a harmonious rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" sung by the crowds in the overflowing stands, the Sweet Teas struck for three runs behind the efforts of Capico and Adam Barnes to take their biggest lead of the contest, 13-11.

After a scoreless eighth inning for both teams, the Illowas closed the gap to 13-12 on a run by Gregory but Copico made a running catch in centerfield to strand two Illowa baserunners and secure the 13-12 victory for the Sweet Teas.

Despite the fact that her team lost, six year old Sierra Gregory of the Illowas was awarded MVP honors for her perfect night at the plate (7-7) and her five runs scored.

It was an amazing athletic display by all participants involved and although the media coverage was sparse, there are preliminary discussions about a rematch during the EAST Summer Seminar in 2009. Rumors that ESPN8 will be on hand to televise the event have yet to be confirmed as of press time.