Orange County Wolves 12, SoCal Reds 4

by Jason Johnson

The Orange County Wolves, 18+ Federal Division Champs

Salt River Fields, October 23, 2011 – In the second inning the Orange County Wolves exploded for six runs and never looked back, defeating the SoCal Reds 12-4 in the 18+ MABL Federal Division Championship Game.

Ryan Green set the table all afternoon for the Wolves as he reached base all four times he batted, stole two bases and scored twice.

“We were waiting for our bats to bust open,” said Wolves manager Jason Kovac. “We went this far on pitching and defense and we really had a great lineup. This was our day that it just all came together.”

SoCal jumped out to an early lead, scoring one run in the first inning off of a RBI double by Charles Poe. They continued to swing the bats well in the second inning with a leadoff double by Josh Goldfield, followed by consecutive singles from Brian Fatur and Justin Collins giving them a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning Ryan Benabous’s single to center field drove in James Luster and Tyler Mahon and sparked a six run rally. Ryan Keys capped off the inning by lining a double to right field that drove in Green.

“First and foremost, you just have to give it to the other team because they just flat out hit all game,” said Reds manager Nick Gontmaher. “I think errors got us out of our game fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it was a little too tough to recover against a team like that.”

After the second inning Wolves starting pitcher Ryan Clear settled down to pitch five consecutive scoreless innings earning him the victory. “I’m really grateful for our pitchers, our defense and our unselfish play,” said Kovac. “It was just awesome and I’m speechless.”

Lars Knepper, Bobby Sears, Mike Larue and Andrew Riddle all had outstanding finals performances. The Wolves added two runs in the seventh inning off of a two-run double that was driven to left field to drive in Eric Foor and Knepper.

Eddie Russell tripled in the eighth inning for the Reds and Bogden Tomalevski drove him in with a single.

“This was a learning experience all in all,” said Gontmaher. “When you fall short it’s tough. I think you make some tweaks and adjustments and try to come back stronger next year.”

The SoCal Reds earned a 4-1 record in pool play relying heavily on their pitching including a no-hitter thrown by Grant Williams against the MS All Stars. Justin Keeney also played a big role for the Reds batting .500 in the tournament heading into the championship game.

Eddie Russell pitching 12 innings against the San Antonio Blaze earning the win to get the team to the championship game. Last year the Reds lost to the Blaze in the championship game so these teams were familiar with each other.

The Wolves earned an unblemished record of 5-0.

Knepper earned the win for the Wolves in their tournament game against the Kansas City Rebels to get them to the championship game.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
So Cal Reds 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 11 3
Orange County Wolves 0 6 1 3 0 0 2 0 x 12 17 0

Hernandez, Van Slyke (3), Stone (6), and Goldfield, Bogden Tomalevski; Clear, Riddle (9) and Sears, Payne. W – Clear. L –Hernandez. Leading Hitters – (SoCal): Russell 2×3, 3B, R, RBI; Martin 2×4; Goldfield 1×3, 2B, R. (O.C) Green 2×4, 2R; Keys 2×3, 2B, 2R; Sears 3×3, R, RBI; Koshko 2×4, 2B, 2RBI. SB – Green, 2 (O.C.). LOB – SoCal, 5; O.C., 9 O.C.