By Adam Burns
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — It may have been his Omaha SlumpBuster debut, but CJ Splettstoesser was at least apprised about one thing.
There are no slouches in this tournament.
"The competition was amazing,” he said. “Everyone put their hearts out there. The tournament was amazing and I love Omaha. It's a blessing to be here today.”
His 13u Minnesota Icemen squad was up for the task. The Icemen on Sunday completed a perfect 7-0 Session 3 slate with a 13u D1 title victory, a 10-0 run-rule effort against the Huntington Beach Stingrays Elite at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
“It feels really good,” Splettstoesser said. “It's a big tournament so it felt great to come out here and win it. We kept the energy up, cheered on our teammates, and we hit the ball, fielded it, and pitched well.”
Splettstoesser played a big part in the Icemen’s title win, tallying a two-hit game with a pair of RBI, including one in the game-deciding six-run bottom of the fifth. Also in that inning, Brett Buettner came through with a key two-run single, Nick Terhaar hit an RBI double and Leyten Intricri and Kingston Kost each added an RBI single.
Overall, the Iceman put together 13 hits.
“I'm really happy for these guys,” Icemen coach Nick Caldeen said. “We hit 1 through 12 and it's special to see all of them hit. We didn't have a bad part of our lineup.”
Their offense wasn't the only thing on point. Buettner dealt. He tossed five innings of two-hit, no-run ball with nine strikeouts.
“He's been dialed in this entire tournament. He was unreal,” Caldeen said of his right-handed starter.
The Stingrays, the No. 2 overall seed, also entered the title game with an unblemished record, but as coach Matt Olmstead described, they ran into a hot team at the wrong time.
“The tournament was awesome,” he said. “We're lucky to be here and to play teams from different states and for the top two seeds to meet is pretty special. All of our games were super close. But we just ran up against a good team.”
The Icemen, meanwhile, pulled off the rare perfect SlumpBuster week, going 7-0 and leaving the competition in the rear-view mirror.
“This team has been really special and has gotten close but haven't been able to piece it together by Sunday time,” Caldeen said. “So they came out, some things went our way, we had some pitching leftover and that helped.”