It's tough to repeat as NABF College World Series champion.
The Ohio Monarchs Gold found that out last weekend during the four-day tournament in Toledo. The 16-team LineDrive Sportz NABF World Series presented by Buckeye Cable Sports Network was held Aug. 6-10 at Ned Skeldon Stadium, Owens Community College, Bowman Park and the University of Toledo's Scott Park.
The Crystal Lake Cardinals, from Illinois, blanked the Dix Hills Dodgers (Long Island, N.Y.) 3-0 in the title game on Aug. 10 at Ned Skeldon Stadium.
Last year's NABF Series champion, the Monarchs Gold, made the semifinals last week but was eliminated by Dix Hills 11-4. The Gold had a 3-0 lead through four innings but couldn't hold on.
"It was as competitive as it was last year," said Gold coach Ed Mouch, the head baseball coach at Sylvania Southview. "We pitched extremely well, especially in pool play. We threw the ball pretty well. They weren't real happy (with the semifinal loss). They've been competitive all year.
"One of our goals was to go back and repeat, so they were frustrated with not winning, especially not making it to the finals. It takes you playing your best baseball and luck to have things fall for you. We didn't have the breaks that could have gone our way."
The Gold went 2-1 in Pool B play, while their sister team, the Ohio Monarchs Blue, coached by Southview assistant coach Tim Mathews, finished 1-2 in Pool D play.
The Gold lost to the Michigan Bulls 7-6 in 11 innings and beat the Long Island Astros 9-1 and the Louisville Orangemen 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. The Gold then beat the Boyle Braves (Philadelphia) 6-5 on Brian Bilius' bases-loaded single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.
The NABF College World Series All-Tournament team included Gold outfielder Cory Hornyak from Genoa and teammate Brandon McFarland, a designated hitter from Perrysburg. The Gold roster included infielder/outfielder Casey Winckowski from Clay.
Hornyak was the MVP of last year's NABF World Series.
"Cory played well all weekend long," Mouch said. "He struggled the first game, but after that he swung the bat extremely well. Casey was up and down. If you ask him, he didn't play the greatest baseball but he played well in the field. He took some extra bases with his legs. His expectations are so high, no matter what he does he's not going to be able to reach that.
"Those two guys, Cory and Casey, if we don't have them around, we don't make it as far as we did in the Series."
The Gold finished the season with a 37-13 record.
"It was a really good season. The kids played extremely hard," Mouch said. "When you have a target on your back and to be able to put up those numbers ... We won the Toledo league and the Tri-State league. We had a great summer and realistically we only lose a couple guys next summer. Hopefully, we can try to get it where we play for the Series championship next year."
"I was proud of all of them for the way they played," Mathews said. "I wish we had a little more time. They played well."