Scottsdale, coached by Bob Parness, claimed the 35 American title Oct. 20 with a 9-7 win over Zinger DJaxx.

Scottsdale’s Finest beats Zinger Djaxx 9-7 for title

By Doug Haller, MSBLnational.com

Minutes after the game, Rich Capparrelli had no idea.

Pitch count? Capparrelli laughed. “One hundred and eighty maybe?” he said.

This much is known: The right-hander went 11 innings, leading Scottsdale’s Finest to a 9-7 extra-inning win over the stunned Zinger DJaxx in the 35-American division final at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

This one appeared over.

The DJaxx led 6-1 entering the eighth, and then they self destructed.

“A little bit,” DJaxx manager Scott Hanish said. “We had a couple plays that didn’t go our way.”

Rich Capparrelli, Scottsdale’s Finest MVP

For seven innings, the DJaxx were sharp. For the final four, they were a disaster, committing five errors, and letting the game slip away. As the Finest celebrated, a few Zinger players asked umpires for explanations on a couple controversial plays. By then, it was too late.

The Finest clawed back in the eighth. Jamie Brewington, Gary Wolf, Chuck Douthit and Capparrelli all had hits. Jason Conti punched a two-run single to the opposite field. The last run scored when the Zinger pitcher and first baseman let a fly ball drop in-between them.

Hanish claimed a Scottsdale runner yelled “I got it,” as the ball was in the air, confusing the fielders. “Not exactly illegal, but that’s what happened,” he said.

Scottsdale tied the game in the ninth behind Jamie Sensabaugh’s smart base running. On first, Sensabaugh took off for second on Armand Candea’s sacrifice bunt on the third-base side. But Candea didn’t stop, heading to third. With two Zinger players racing to cover the bag, the throw skipped into left field and Sensabaugh trotted home with the tying run.

“I saw the third baseman charge, so I just told him to keep on coming,” Scottsdale manager Bob Parness said.

Scottsdale added three runs in the 11th, taking advantage of three Zinger errors. Capparrelli got into a jam in the bottom of the inning, but escaped to secure the win.

“We finally started to be a little more patient at the plate,” Parness said of Scottsdale’s comeback. “You go through the lineup once, and you start to pick up a pitcher’s tendencies.

Bob Parness, Scottsdale’s Finest

I figured if we could keep it close – and down five was a little more than I would’ve liked – we had a chance.”

The DJaxx, the division’s top seed, finished 3-1-1 in pool play. (The tie was called because of darkness.) Most of their team has been together for three years. According to Hanish, they have gone 32-2-1 over that stretch.

Scottsdale survived without two of its top hitters, who couldn’t play because of previous obligations. The Finest finished 3-2 in pool play. They advanced to the final by scoring six in the ninth to beat Mezcal 6-2.  From there, they relied on Capparrelli. “What can you say about him?” Parness said of his pitcher. “A lot of pitchers, down 6-1, wouldn’t have wanted to keep going out there. He’s an animal. I have no idea how many pitches he threw. I just know it was a lot.”

Scott Hanish, Zinger DJaxx manager