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Rifles Unload on Dodgers to Capture 22+ Crown in DCMSBL

DCMSBL 22+ Division

Rifles 2, Silver Spring Dodgers 0


‘Sweeger Blast Propels Rifles...Griff Seals Deal on the Bump in 'if' Game'

Submitted by Craig Burlingame, Rifles manager

Championship Day was an uphill battle for the 2017 DCMSBL 22+ Rifles.  With several Rifles relocating out of state during the season for career moves, including workhorse pitcher Spencer Brookbank, outfielder Ryan Price and infielder Luis Andrade, the Rifles had to depend on eleven year Rifle veteran pitchers Jason Treon and Sean 'Griff' Griffin to battle the 2016 Defending Champion Silver Spring Dodgers.

This doubleheader was the finals of the three game mini-series championship games.  A few days earlier, the Dodgers beat the Rifles in game one 9-5 to take a one game lead in the mini-series.  The Rifles had to win game two (the first game of a Sunday Doubleheader) in order to play in the game three "If” game.

The powerful Dodgers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning.  Pitching was excellent for both teams along with super defensive plays by the Rifles third baseman Ryan Miller, shortstop Rob Bouman and first baseman Brad Bauder. In the bottom of the fourth inning the Rifles scored a run when second baseman Scott ‘Duss’ Van Dusseldorf hit a single, was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by left fielder Mike Verbickis, but was followed by a single by shortstop Rob Bouman that put runners on first and second base.  Third baseman Miller hit a single that scored Verbickis to make it a 1-2 ballgame.

In the bottom of the sixth inning Rifles right fielder Matt Murphy hit a single up the middle with two outs. Then, Rifle center fielder, stolen base leader and leadoff hitter Aaron Sweeger hit a two-run home run to put the Rifles up 3-2. In the top of the seventh, Rifles pitcher Jason Treon shut the Dodgers down with a combination of sidearm fastballs and breaking balls to clinch the victory and force the "If” championship game.

The Championship "If” game proved to be another pitcher’s duel.  Rifles pitcher Sean Griffin, who had just pitched three days earlier against the Dodgers in game one, had complete command with a great combination of fastballs, off-speed breaking balls, and total command of using the entire strike zone by hitting his spots consistently. 

In the top of the sixth inning, the Rifles broke the deadlock when Scott 'Duss' Van Dusseldorf walked and Mike Verbickis hit a single moving Duss to second base. Clean-up hitter Rob Bouman was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Ryan Miller hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Duss scored making it a 1-0 ball game.    

Pitcher Griffin held the Dodgers scoreless in the bottom of the sixth.  In the top of the seventh, Rifles Designated Hitter, JT Page led off with a single and advanced to second base on a 6-3 fielder’s choice by Brad BauderJason Treon then hit a single to score JT Page with the Rifles second run.

As it turned out, that was all the Rifles needed because Griff continued to own the strike zone with his mixture of pitches and went 3 up and 3 down in the bottom of the seventh inning to clinch the victory and championship for the Rifles over the powerful Silver Spring Dodgers.

Fine hitting and defense by Rifles outfielders Nick Price, Matt Malacane and catcher Sean Plouffe contributed to the Rifles championship weekend.  Infielder Mark Deans was unable to make the Championship games, but was a major contributor to the Rifles success during the regular season and playoffs.

This is the Rifles third Championship in the DCMSBL since our entry into the league in 2007.     

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