Maine Diamond Dogs 4, Suncoast Suns 0
By Frank Schaeffer
|The Maine Diamond Dogs, 45+ National Division Champs
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – What seemed remarkable was really just another day at the office for Maine Diamond Dogs right-handed pitcher Marc Powers.
After coming within two batters of a perfect game in a semifinal win over perennial powerhouse Fedlock a day earlier, he retired the final 22 batters in a row in that win, Powers tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout against the defending champion Suncoast Suns as the Diamond Dogs claimed the 45+Wood National crown at Digital Domain Park.
For his efforts, Powers was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“We had two strong arms ready to go,” Maine manager Clair Crandall said. “But Marc, it’s tough to pick the words to describe Marc. We’ve won four father and son championships in the last six years. He’s just a great player and an even better person. To be honest, we were hoping for five or six innings out of Marc today, but speaking as a right-handed batter who faces him in the regular season, you kind of feel bad for right-handed hitters who have to face him.”
Maine scored a single run in the second inning before adding two more in the fourth and one more in the sixth to complete to 4-0 final. The victory avenged an 8-5 loss to Suncoast in the first round of last year’s tournament – which was eventually won by Suncoast.
“We got beat by a better team today,” Suncoast manager Pete Moran said. “You have to tip your cap to them; they are a good team. Their pitcher was outstanding. We played them last year in a preliminary round. They are a very competitive team. They play hard, they have good pitching and they get timely hits. We had our ace on the mound today. We were set up exactly the way we wanted. They just had a pitcher who kept us off balance. You’re not going to win with four hits and no runs. It’s a compliment to them. They deserved to win.”
Powers, 46, throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, which he developed while at the University of Maine in the mid-1980s. His running sinker, mixed with a sharp slider helped keep Fedlock and Suncoast off the scoreboard for 18 straight innings.
“I come from the side and that’s a different look,” Powers said. “I don’t fall behind in the count and that puts the pressure on the hitters to swing the bat. I was in Arizona two weeks ago and I pitched five days in a row. I’ve got a rubber arm. When it’s done, it’s done.”
The Diamond Dogs won the semifinal and championship games without the services of former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who had to fly out for the weekend due to network television commitments. Still, Flutie did his part to help an undermanned Maine squad get off to a solid start in the tournament as he was the winning pitcher in a 9-4 opening day win over New Jersey.