SoCal Snappers 5, Tacoma Tugs 1

By Jason Johnson

The SoCal Snappers, 18+ Division Champions

Salt River Fields, October 23, 2011 – Riding the arm of starting pitcher Jesse Smith, the SoCal Snappers shut down the Tacoma Tugs’ offense en route to a 5-1 victory in the 18+ MABL National World Series.

Smith did not allow a hit through the first four innings and allowed just two in eight and one-third of an inning.

“Jesse Smith, dominated. That made all of the difference,” said manager Frank Sansone. In the top of the first inning the Tugs stranded runners on second and third and were unable to score. After that Smith settled down and threw eight shutout innings. “We’ve battled all week to get here and today we just came out flat,” said Tugs manager Ray Bala. “We just didn’t get it done with the bats.”

The Snappers got it done with bats and speed. Greg Martinez and Greg Bernard led off the game in the bottom of the first on bunt singles down the first base line. “They improvised,” said Sansone. “Those two guys have amazing speed and really know how to do it.” Manny Pimentel, Adam Geery and Matt Graves followed with RBI singles to cap off a three-run first inning for the Snappers.

The Snappers enjoyed a lot of two-out magic.

Geery doubled to lead off the fourth inning and Kjavik Mahon drove him in with a two-out single to center field. Sean Driscol singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, and then scored on Martinez’ two-out single to right field. Four of the Snappers’ five runs came with two outs.

The Tugs ninth inning rally fell short. Marcus Faulkner’s sacrifice fly scored Scott Hanish and left one runner on base, but Sansone turned to his bullpen to stop the bleeding. Wayne Franklin and Matt Wagner retired the last two hitters in order.

“These are great teams and they’re all very competitive,” said Sansone. “We have a lot of respect for everybody and there are good relationships between every team.”

Tacoma battled to a 2-3 record in the round robin.

The Snappers, 4-2, played extra innings in three of their six pool games. One of those games was a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Astros in which Robert Enriquez, six month after shoulder surgery, struck out 14 batters in eight and a third innings.

The Tugs got a complete game gem in from Fernando De Silva and beat the top-seeded Astros 5-2 in the semifinals. The Snappers defeated the Long Island Black Sox 8-4. The Sox had knocked them out of the playoffs three of the last five years including twice in the championship game.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tacoma Tugs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 0
SoCal Snappers 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 X 5 1 3

Ryan Henderson and Kowal; Smith, Franklin (9), Wagner (9) and Graves. W – Smith. L –Henderson. Leading Hitters – (Tacoma) Reavis 1×3, Gamboa 1×3, 2B. (SoCal): Geery 2×3, 2B. Greg Martinez 2×4, Bernard 2×4. Flatten 3×3. SF – Faulkner (Tacoma). SB – Reavis (Tacoma). CS – Gamboa (Tacoma). LOB – Tacoma, 6; SoCal, 9.