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East Metro Baseball League (GA) 18+
River Rats 10, Indians 7
‘MVP Kles Leads the Rats to Seventh Straight Title’
Submitted by Brad Moody, River Rats manager
The River Rats won our seventh consecutive 18+ league
championship in the East Metro Baseball League in Georgia. This year was
a little more trying than our previous championships. Our pitching was
spotty at times and our bats were not always on the same
page. Essentially, we're getting old.
Our MVP was Zach Kles. He performed well all season in all
aspects of the game. He led the team in home runs. Each of his
dingers seemed to come at a crucial point in the game. For instance, he
hit the go ahead home run in game two of the semi-finals to keep us alive in
the eighth inning and the tying homer in the ninth inning of game two of the
championship series. He also played stellar defense at short and third all
Jeff Hewatt was our best pitcher. He only played in
six games in the regular season (he is a fireman and the games often fell on
days he was on duty) but pitched almost every one. He pitched game three
of championship and left with a 10-0 lead in the sixth. He throws hard
and throws three pitches for strikes.
We were down in both series in the playoffs, having received
a bye in the first round. We were pushed to elimination in both, trailing
in the eighth or ninth both times. We really thrive under pressure.
Our team features plus hitters throughout the lineup. In
addition to Kles, catcher Brad Moody hit .444 and was second on the team in
RBI. Third baseman Casey Rider led the team in RBI and hit
.460. Twin brother and second baseman Carl Rider hit .435. First
baseman Chris Hays contributed tons of power finishing second in home
runs. Right fielder Matt Whitenton hit lead-off and led the team in
runs. Kyle Melvin led the team in wins and strikeouts. Chris
Whitenton finished second in wins and batted over .300. Left fielder Darryl Tillman batted .310. Center fielder Danny Hartman was our best
defender and contributed the second most runs scored. JT Parrott is our
reliable utility man that filled in whenever and wherever he was needed. He
contributed several keys hits down the stretch. Outfielder Taylor McDaniel really added a spark to the bottom of the lineup and came up huge in the
semifinals hitting .800 for the series with three doubles.
It was a tough loss for the Indians who played so well
during the regular season. Indians manager Shane Bailey added, "I want to
congratulate the Rats on a great series. They earned it."