Kansas City Rebels winning pitcher Jonathan Kryza

Kansas City Rebels 5, Tri-Valley Shockers 4
By Rodney Johnson, MSBLNational.com

Tempe Diablo 2, October 21, 2012- Size, as it turns out, really doesn’t matter.

Tri-Valley bullied their way through pool play by scoring a division high 68 runs. Their roster featured no fewer than four players who stand at least 6’3” and tip the scales at 220 pounds or more. They answer to colorful nicknames such as Thor, Huggy Bear, and C-Lo. As impressive at the group looked, they weren’t big enough to stop the top seeded Rebels from claiming the title.

Tri-Valley scored first on an RBI single by Richard McDowell in the third inning. In the bottom half of the frame, KC tied it on a home run by Fernando Esquivel. The oldest member of the team, Esquivel had singled in the first and lost his non-runner status on a mix-up of replacement runners. “I told Fernando that I messed up so he would just have to hit a home run next time up,” explained KC manager Justin White. Esquivel obliged when he knocked a 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

KC forged ahead for good by scoring four runs in the fourth inning. The rally was aided by two throwing errors on the Shockers’ catcher. Pitcher Jonathan Krysa capped the uprising by driving in what proved to be the winning run with a two-out RBI single.

Trailing 5-1, the Shockers battled back with a pair in the fifth. They drew within a run when they tallied again in the seventh. Tri-Valley missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Mike Hoefs led off the inning with a double. After a hit batter, Jason Coulie moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. With runners at second and third, Eric Matos’ ground ball to shortstop turned into an anything-but routine double play. Hoefs got too far down the line and was run back toward the bag where he was tagged out. Meanwhile, Matos rounded first too far and ended up getting tagged out before Dyer, who started out on second, could cross the plate. When the dust cleared, the Shockers had come up empty.

“Our base running mistakes were the difference,” lamented disappointed Shockers manager Keith Souza. “You really have to give their pitcher (Krysa) credit. We scored a lot of runs all tournament and he held us down,” added Souza. Krysa allowed eight hits and just two earned runs in eight-and-a-third innings of work. Luke Kathol came in with one out in the ninth and pitched out of a jam as Tri-City left the tying run stranded at third.

KC manager John White accepts the championship trophy from Jon Brower

The Shockers went 3-1-1 in pool play including a 16-4 rout of the Rebels. Both managers acknowledged that they expected this game to be different. “We had already clinched the first seed when be played in pool play, so that one didn’t really matter us,” said White. For KC, the loss to the Shockers was the only black mark on their near-perfect World Series record. The Rebs went 4-1 in pool play and beat Long Island 7-4 in the playoffs. Tri-City advanced to the final by nipping the So-Cal Reds 5-4.

Still trembling from the excitement, White called winning the World Series “the biggest adrenalin rush I’ve ever had.” With a plane to catch, the team packed up and headed toward the airport for the trip back to Kansas City. “I guess we can catch a celebratory beer while we’re at the airport.”

18 Federal 2012 World Series Champion Kansas City Rebels