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East Coast Cardinals 8, Chester County Cobras 7
'Bichette Takes Control on the Hill'
By Chris Errington, Special to MSBLnational.com
Clearwater, FL., November 15, 2014 – In
a see-saw battle that had multiple lead changes and came down to the wire,
having a four-time MLB all-star and Silver Slugger award winner can make all
the difference. Only this time, it
wasn’t just with his bat.
Rockies star Dante Bichette finished 3-for-4 with a trio of singles and the
game-tying RBI, but was even more impressive on the mound, tossing 4-2/3
innings and allowing just a single run to give Cardinals manager David Hash another Fall Classic championship.
emptied the Advil bottle,” Bichette joked. "When I feel good on the mound, I
throw a lot of fastballs and I felt pretty good out there today. I think I could
have gone a few more innings if they needed me to.”
Thanks to a late
rally, it never came to that. After taking a
quick 4-0 lead, the Cardinals found themselves behind 7-5 and just seven outs
from defeat. But when Curtis Patterson and Bichette each drove in runs with
two-out hits, East Coast had tied the game and set the stage for the fateful
A base on balls and
a pair of infield errors, one throwing and one fielding, allowed the go-ahead
run to score. And when Bichette worked around a two-out double in the ninth to
induce a game-ending pop-out, another title was clinched.
"I’ve been through
this too many times to get nervous,” said Hash, who won his third Fall Classic
title as a manager to go along with three others as a player. "All of the
championships we’ve won are great. We’ve built a strong team and this was a
special group of guys. When you put the
ball in [Bichette’s] hands in a championship game and he’s on, he locks and
loads and shuts them down.”
The victory capped
a stellar week for the East Coast Cardinals, who finished round-robin play 4-1,
including an 8-3 victory over Chester County. Dennis Gawronski’s complete game
effort proved the difference in a 10-5 playoff victory over the Maryland
Monarchs to set the stage for the thrilling championship game.
For the Cobras, a
3-2 round robin effort was capped with a dominant 5-0 playoff victory over the Brooklyn Royals. It looked like Chester County would continue that momentum to
a tournament championship when it scored five runs in the third and single runs
in the fifth and seventh to take a 7-4 lead. But it wasn’t meant to be.
It marked the
second loss to the Cardinals in a Fall Classic title game, the other coming
following the 2008 tournament.
"Despite the errors
late, we can’t say we handed them anything,” said Chester County manager Pete
Alex. "To have a man on second base with a chance to tie it in the ninth is a
credit to our guys who never gave up.
"It’s easier to
lose when you know you’re not in the game rather than have it come down to the
final at-bat, but our guys won’t hang their heads. They kept staying positive
and kept fighting.”