But in the end, this is all that matters --- the Helias Crusaders hoisted the championship trophy.
In a game that featured seven errors and no earned runs, the Crusaders outlasted the Hickman Kewpies 4-2 in the title game of the Capital City Invitational on Saturday at Vivion Field.
"It's good to finally win this thing," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. "We made it interesting, but we made the plays we had to make, we came up with a couple of key hits, and we took advantage of their mistakes.
"Hopefully, this will be a springboard for the rest of the year."
There was no secret to this championship drive --- three mound gems led to gold.
The three starters ---Trevor Schnieders and Matthew Rehagen on Friday, Cole Distler on Saturday --- allowed just two earned runs in 20 1/3 innings.
Those numbers will win a lot of games ... and a lot of championships.
"I can't say enough about our pitching this entire tournament," Wyrick said. "Three great starts. We knew they could do it, but it was still great to see them do it against this kind of competition."
On this day, Distler tossed four-hitter and struck out four, and allowed no earned runs.
"We got another great pitching performance by Cole," Wyrick said. "You couldn't ask for much more."
Helias (7-2) scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first, before giving up two unearned runs in the second to give Hickman (7-3) a 2-1 lead.
But the Crusaders --- who had only two hits off tough-luck loser Andrew Roseman --- tallied three more unearned runs in the fourth to end the scoring. Helias finished with five errors, Hickman had two.
"We'll take the runs," Wyrick said, "anyway we can get them."
In a game that lacked much defensive definition, it was a play made by the Helias defense that may have been the game-saver.
In the fifth, the Kewpies had the bases loaded with one out. Up came Carter Buresh, who had already produced one of Hickman's hits.
This time, Buresh hit a sharp grounder in the hole that was snagged by shortstop Joe Reinkemeyer, who fired to second baseman Jared Bentlage, who turned the double play to get Buresh at first on a bang-bang play.
"That was an incredible turn," Wyrick said. "That ball was deep in the hole, Joe made a great feed, Jared got rid of it quick --- it was great.
"Again, we did make five errors, but we made the plays when we had to make them, and that was good to see."
Reinkemeyer and Jordan Backes both had an RBI for the Crusaders, who have won seven straight.
"They're playing for each other, they really are," Wyrick said. "I've had a lot of good teams and all of those teams had one thing in common --- they all played for each other.
"These guys are buying into that philosophy. They're playing the game to win, they don't care who gets the glory."
As a result, all of them got to hoist the championship trophy.
In the third-place game, Eureka blanked Rockhurst 4-0, while Fatima outscored Blair Oaks 17-9 for seventh place. This was an unfortunate turn of events for the Falcons from a year ago --- 3-0 and the tournament champions, to 0-3 and eighth place.
Last year, it was the Jefferson City Jays who went 0-3 in this event. But they went 2-1 this weekend to finish fifth, capped by an 8-2 win over Blue Springs on Saturday at the Legion Complex.
"We were only one of four teams to come out of here with at least two wins, so we're pleased with that," Jays coach Brian Ash said. "But it was disappointing against Eureka, because we had so many chances.
"You want to win the first game, obviously, to get to the championship side of the bracket. But we didn't."
After dropping their opener to Eureka on Friday, 7-5 --- and the Jays had the tying runs on with one out in the bottom of the seventh --- they bounced back to edge Fatima 3-2.
And the Jays won this one in dramatic fashion, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh --- a rallied keyed by a two-run blow by Adam Grunden.
"That showed a little bit of resiliency," Ash said. "When you're being dominated like that against a really good pitcher, you just have to find a way. And we found a way.
"That gave us a little pep in our step to come out and play good baseball (Saturday)."
Against Blue Springs, Steven Coots went six innings, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned), to get the win. Rylie Klosterman paced the offense by going 3-for-3 with a double and four RBI.
CAPITAL CITY INVITATIONAL
Eureka 7, Jefferson City 5
Hickman 11, Fatima 4
Helias 10, Blue Springs 5
Rockhurst 19, Blair Oaks 3
Winner's Bracket Semifinals
Hickman 14, Eureka 13
Helias 3, Rockhurst 1
Loser's Bracket Semifinals
Jefferson City 3, Fatima 2
Blue Springs 9, Blair Oaks 7
Championship --- Helias 4, Hickman 2
Third place --- Eureka 4, Rockhurst 0
Fifth place --- Jefferson City 8, Blue Springs 2
Seventh place --- Fatima 17, Blair Oaks 9