The Scottsdale Scorpions issue high fives after their 5-1 title game win over the Westside Bandits.

Scottsdale Scorpions 5, Westside Bandits 1

By Rodney Johnson, MSBLNational.com

Maryvale Stadium, October 28, 2012- The Scottsdale Scorpions journey through the 2012 MSBL World Series confirmed the axiom that there is strength in numbers.

“There are both advantages and disadvantages of being a local team in a national tournament,” explained Scottsdale manager Keith Bellamy. “The nice thing is our guys don’t have to travel, so everyone is here,” continued Bellamy. “But the flip side of that is we all have jobs so some guys can’t get off or work or may have to work overtime and aren’t able to make it to the game. That’s why we carry a 25 man roster so we know that we will have enough players for a game.” The 18 players on the Scorpions roster that were able to be there for the championship game proved to be the right combination to deliver the title to Scottsdale.

The trip to the finals involved some drama for the Scorpions. After beating the Tri-Valley White Sox 11-1, it took them 13 innings to slip past the Salt Lake City Heat, 4-3 and advance to the title game. Salt Lake had given the Scorpions their only loss in pool play. Juan Carlos Garcia, a 30-year old former Florida Marlins farmhand put on a superhuman performance. In the final game of pool play, Garcia pitched a nine-inning complete game win. In the first game of the playoffs, he knocked a grand-slam home run; but he wasn’t through. All he did in the semi-final game was to go the distance in a 13 inning marathon to earn the nail-biting win. In all, he pitched an incredible 22 innings in two days. “He’s kind of a freak of nature,” marveled Bellamy.

Across the field from the Scorpions were the Los Angeles based Westside Bandits. “We’re a real tight group,” smiled manager Roberto Luna. “We’re all friends and hang together off of the field too.” The Bandits spent the night before the game enjoying the Mill Avenue Halloween Festival in downtown Tempe, but when it was game time, they were all business. The Bandits advanced to the final by beating the East Coast All Stars 8-3 and the Denver Kokopelli’s 6-1 in the playoffs.

The Bandits only loss in pool play came at the hands of the Scorpions, 2-0. Fernando Medina went the distance for Westside in the loss. He took the mound again for the rematch in the championship game. The Scorpions countered with lefty Isaac Hess.

An unearned run got in the first game the Scorpions the lead, but the Bandits came right back to even it up in the bottom half of the inning. An RBI single by Chris Carlos plated what proved to be the only run of the game for the Bandits.

Medina shut out the Scorpions for the next six innings, but a two-out, two-run single in the eighth by Carlos De La Riva broke the deadlock. Scottsdale added a pair of insurance runs I the ninth and went on to win, 5-1. Jimmy Balian pitched four shutout innings in relief to earn the win.

The Scorpions post game celebration was cut short by a reminder that they needed to get over to Diablo Stadium to get sized for their championship rings. No on seemed to mind.