San Antonio Titans 3, Manhattan Beach Reds 0
|The San Antonio Titans claimed the 25 Wood Bat Central title at the 2011 MSBL World Series|
By Jason P. Skoda, MSBL On-Line
Maryvale Stadium, Oct. 23, 2011 – Mark Pircher is a modest Texan with a ho hum, laid-back attitude and the ability totally dominate on the mound.
Just ask the Manhattan Reds.
Pircher retired the first 17 Reds he faced, gave up a sixth-inning single, and then retired the next 10 hitters in a row to lead the San Antonio Titans to a 3-0 win over the Reds and a third World Series title since 2006. The game was played at Maryvale Stadium where the Milwaukee Brewers enjoy spring training.
“Every game I try throwing a game like that,” he said about his relaxed attitude. “Sometimes it works out that way sometimes it don’t,” he said.
“He is one of those guys when he takes the mound he is 7-foot tall and bullet proof,” Titans manager Doug Rosini said. “He is a complete bulldog.”
Team MVP Kelly Skeens said they expected nothing less from Pircher with the another ring in the offing.
“We call him Big Game Pircher because we know we can count on him to give us a chance to win,” Skeen said. Pircher, who whiffed seven, wasn’t the team’s only star pitcher. Al Mow threw 17 1/3 innings the day before in two playoff wins. He had help from a tough defense – especially second baseman Sean Bressette who made a diving play on a grounder and twice ranged into the outfield to make over the shoulder catches.
“Yeah but he let one go by,” Pircher said of the lone hit that squeaked past a diving Bressette when asked he if he owed his second baseman, who was playing with a tweaked hamstring, a steak or an adult beverage or two.
The Titans attribute some of their success to their closeness. Many tournament teams are made up of pieces parts from around the country, but the Titans, who went 8-0 in the tournament, are all true Texans.
“It makes a huge difference,” Rosini said “We know each other’s tendencies and we’re all friends. We all get along so well and out here is just a continuation of our relationship.”
Skeens continued to be the big bat in the championship game after picking up five RBIs in the two playoff games. Against the Reds, he had a sacrifice fly in the first inning and a two-run single in the third to drive in the only runs of the game.
“I was just trying to get us on the board early,” he said. “We wanted to get that third ring so putting the pressure on them early was important.”
While the Titans have been to the title game five times in their seven years in Arizona, the Reds made their first appearance in the playoffs in five years and managed to find their way into the title game to finish 5-2-1.
Manager Gary Walsh couldn’t complain too much as he believes they finally figured what it takes to be successful in tournament play. He brought his biggest roster (18) after noticing most winning teams had plenty of players to turn to late in the weekend.
“You have to have fresh bodies, legs to keep up the level of play,” he said. “I made a point of bringing as many players as we could.”
It worked out well until they ran into Pircher.
“We had a great tournament, no question,” said Walsh, who added that David Treat was the team’s MVP. “We know how to get here now and hopefully we can get back and give it another shot.”
2011 World Series Division: 25W Central
Venue: Maryvale Stadium
Membrano, Viola (6) and Castellanos; Pircher and Zapata. WP-Pircher. LP-Membrano. 2B: Sansom (SA).
Top Hitters-Moore (SA) 2×3, 2 runs, 3 SB; Skeens (SA) 1×2, 3RBIs; Bettancourt (MB) 1×2. SAC-Zapata. SF-Skeens. SB-Moore 3; Palomo (SA); Atkins (SA). LOB-MB 2; SA 7. Time: 1:57.