By Gabe Chavez

Salt River Fields Stadium, Oct. 30, 2011 – MVP Dan Korvas threw a complete game, six-hit shutout as his Chicago Skyliners beat the Detroit 65’s, 5-0.

“Danny was a monster on the mound today,” said Skyliner manager Bart Zeller. Korvas was so effective that in the fourth inning, Detroit sent the top of its lineup to the plate, and he needed only four pitches to retire the side. Leadoff hitter Fred Krause led Detroit with two hits.

Third baseman Mike Spratt led the Skyliner attack with two RBIs, and shortstop Joe Gogolsky was a virtual Detroit roadblock up the middle, accounting for nine defensive outs. “Joe did a hell of a job at short,” said Zeller. “The secret is to make all the routine plays and force the other team to make mistakes.”

The Skyliners scored the only run they needed early in the bottom half of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Frank DiMaria was hit by a pitch and quickly stole second base. David Schultz laid down a sacrifice bunt to move DiMaria to third base, and Spratt knocked him in with a groundout to first base.

Losing pitcher Gary Sovey was dealing a no-hitter until Darryl Johnson broke it up in the fifth inning with an RBI single, and the Skyliners never looked back.

“We came a long way [in pool play],” said Detroit manager Mike Hendrie. “Chicago is an awfully deep team, and they beat us three times this week.”

Zeller, who played one game in the major leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals, wasn’t taking anything for granted. “Anytime you play a team like Detroit, you never feel comfortable,” he said.

Korvas allowed only two Detroit hitters to reach second base, stranding one of them at third base in the fifth inning. “I felt like I haven’t thrown a pitch all day,” Korvas claimed after the win. “I was really pumped up, like I was in charge and not the hitters. The adrenaline keeps you going.”

The Skyliners added to their lead in the sixth inning with a beautifully executed squeeze play by Spratt and an RBI single by Gogolsky.

Art Benotti led off the inning with a base on balls and DiMaria scorched a line drive single to left field. Schultz laid down his second sacrifice bunt of the day to move up both runners, setting the stage for Spratt’s suicide bunt to score Benotti. Gogolsky lined his RBI single to right field, but even after back-to-back hits by Korvas and Wes Monty, Gogolsky was stranded at third base with all the runs the Skyliners would get for the rest of the game.

The previous day, second seed Detroit shut out the third seeded Terre Haute Volkers, 7-0, in the lone division semi-final game. That game was a rematch of sorts as Detroit lost to Terre Haute last year in the 65 American championship final. The Skyliners, who won the 65 Wood National Division last year, earned a semi-final bye as the top seed, going undefeated in pool play.

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Sovey and Entwistle. Korvas and Zeller, Maganzini (8). W – Korvas. L – Sovey. Top Hitters: (Detroit) Krause 2×4, CS. (Chicago) Johnson 2×3; Spratt SAC, 2 RBI; DiMaria HBP, SB, 2 Runs; Schultz 2 SAC. LOB – Detroit 8; Chicago 5.