The University Bank 88s won their second tournament in Martin City, Mo., this season the weekend of June 11-13, and next weekend they have a chance to win their second Ottawa tournament.
The 88s' success in tournaments already has paid off with a berth in the USSSA World Series in July in Hutchinson. The 88s qualified for the series by taking first place in the Heartland Series, which features nearly two dozen Midwest teams.
In the team's second Martin City tournament, the 88s rallied to defeat the St. Joseph Hardballers on June 13 and earn a spot in the championship game later that day. The 88s had lost to the Hardballers the day before, 11-10.
The 88s' momentum from their rally against St. Joseph carried over and helped them defeat the Olathe Tigers in the championship game, earning a spot in the USSSA World Series.
88s coach John Parker sad one thing that has been key in the team's tournament wins has been pitching. Both Drake DeBiasse and Michael McCabe have pitched complete games this season. Strong performances from the entire pitching staff have helped the 88s conserve their arms.
"We didn't even need to use some of our top pitchers in the tournament," Parker said.
After a nine-day break, the team is rested up for a month of stiff competition. The 88s will participate in their second Ottawa tournament of the season this weekend, and also will play a tournament in Pratt before heading to the World Series on July 11.
Parker is confident in the 88's ability to handle the competition they will face at the World Series.
"So far, we've played really well against rock-solid teams," Parker said