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TJ Lutz

TJ Lutz and company are set to compete in the 34-team NAFA tournament this weekend.

GIBSON CITY - The Gibson City Elite (9-11) were without five starters at last weekend’s state tournament, where the crew went 1-2, but enters this weekend’s season-ending NAFA tournament with a full lineup that hopes to do some damage.

A 34-team bracket with teams representing 20 different states, the competition is expected to be intense but nothing the team believes is impossible to overcome.

With the gang at full strength for once, the confidence is high and the team plans to be aggressive and make their opponents beat them.

“The goal is to come out aggressive and be solid defensively,” Elite member Tyler Brucker said. “Hits will come, but we have to make sure defensively we keep ourselves in games and not to put too much pressure on the offense.

“We are a very fast, dangerous team; it's important to give ourselves a chance and not let middle innings get away from us,” Brucker added. “We can make a solid run and contend for a championship if we do that. Most importantly, we need to have fun and play solid ball. We can't beat ourselves. We definitely have a shot to make some noise if we do all of that.”

State tournament

The Elite went 1-2, defeating Wessles 5-4 and falling to Cerro Gordo 11-4 and T-Town Bud 7-1 last weekend.

Gibson City opened with a 5-3 fifth-inning lead on Cerro Gordo before the bats heated up for their opponent.

“Josh threw very well,” Brucker said of pitcher Josh White. “We had a couple lapses on defense, and they started hitting the ball very well.”

Cerro Gordo went on to win the tournament.

In game two, the Elite found themselves down 4-2 going into the fifth inning, before pulling off a comeback of their own.

“The bats came alive, and we scored three in the sixth inning,” Brucker said. “Bobby G threw five great innings; then Josh came in and shut them down for the win.”

The third and final game saw little action offensively from Gibson City as the group struggled to find scoring.

“They have a powerful lineup with solid pitching, and we couldn’t get anything going,” Brucker said.

Key stat

Josh White went 7-11 with two triples and a double.

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