Sunday, August 8, 2004

Watanabe looking for another shot at title

By Colleen Kane
Enquirer staff writer

Twice Watanabe has taken the word "loser" out of the loser's bracket at the Cincinnati Metro Softball Tournament.

Today it'll try for a third.

For the second consecutive year and the third time since 1999, Watanabe will try to rebound from a first-round Metro loss and win three games today for the Major softball title.

"It's just a matter of playing perfect now, so we hope that continues," manager Dave Watanabe said. "It's a tough thing, the loser's bracket, but we've just got to stay focused and get back to the finals."

On Saturday evening at Rumpke, Watanabe used an eight-run third inning to beat Robke Sales/Reds Boys by the run rule 16-1 in the fifth inning to advance to this afternoon's loser's bracket final.

"Reds is a good base-hitting team, but we played good defense and just shut them down," said Watanabe's Brian Wegman, who went 3-for-3 Saturday with three home runs.

Brian May also went 2-for-3 with one home run to lead Watanabe.

Today, Watanabe plays the loser of Saturday's late-night Springdale Cleaners/EMR Worth game at 4 p.m.

If Watanabe wins that game, it advances to tonight's championship final, where it will have to win back-to-back games to take the title. It did just that last year to win the title after losing a first-round game to Perkins.

"It's always tough. You never know when you'll have another bad game, and then you're done," said Watanabe's Larry Wert, who was on last year's championship team. "It's never easy. You've always got to play more games and spend more energy."

Also up today: The winner's bracket finals of the Major through D divisions will be played. In A, NKY Softball will play Storm/Front Porch Saloon at 5:30 p.m.

The B winner's final is at 7 p.m., when the winner of Saturday's late-night semifinal between House Rules/Crosley's and Loveless Hardwood will play today's 2 p.m. winner's semifinal between and Graystone Mortgage.

The C and D North, South, East and West divisions also will play divisional finals tonight. A through E championships will be Monday and Tuesday.

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