UMB Bank and the Milgram Mustangs squared off in the finals of the league championship tournament and the Bankers took home the 2016 Ban Johnson title in an exciting best of five series. The series took place July 25-28 at Mid-America Sports Complex in Shawnee, Kansas.
The Mustangs won the first game 7-4 and led UMB 13-6 entering the bottom of the seventh of the second game.
However, the 7-run lead did not hold up.
The Bankers scored eight runs with two outs to win the game 14-13.
UMB outfielder Austyn Cochran delivered the walk-off hit, a ground ball single past the second baseman.
“Anything can happen if you believe in yourself, ” Cochran said. “We were relaxed down so many runs.”
Both managers Kevin Shaw of the Mustangs and Cary Lundy of UMB said that they had never experienced anything comparable to the 8-run come from behind victory in the last inning of a ballgame.
In the third game, Cochran pitched the Bankers to within one game of the championship. He gave up one run, two hits, one walk and three strikeouts in a 3-1 victory over the Mustangs.
“My key to pitching is throwing strikes,” Cochran said. “I’m a ground ball pitcher and my defense was great (on that night).”
Then, UMB captured the title with a 10-7 victory in the fourth game.
Cochran was four-for-four in the fourth game with two doubles and three RBIs.
League officials named him the MVP of the tournament finals.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “I played good during the series.”
He was eight-of-15 in the series with two doubles and eight RBIs. On the mound he gave up one run in six innings. He fanned three and surrendered just one walk.
The Raymore-Peculiar High School graduate played in the spring at North Arkansas Community College and has signed to play for Park University this coming school year.
In the fourth game, UMB third baseman/pitcher Daniel LaMunyon got the last three outs after the Mustangs Drew Standifer’s grand slam homer had cut the lead to 10-7.
LaMunyon came in to get the save. He also had the save in the third game.
At the plate, he was three-for-three in the third game with a homer and all three RBIs. In the fourth game, he was two-for-three with two RBIs.
“This was a great year with a great group of guys,” he said.
The Blue Valley High School graduate will be a senior at Emporia State this fall.
“This is likely the last time I will be playing summer baseball,” he said. “I’m glad we could win this championship.”
This marked the seventh Ban Johnson title for UMB and manager Cary Lundy adding to championships from 1987-90, then again in 1996 and 2001.