So Cal Sun Devils 11, Team New Era 6
By Jason Johnson, MSBLNational.com
Mesa Hohokam Park, October 20, 2012–Augie Alonso ignited a decisive, seven-run, fifth-inning rally to help his Southern California Sun Devils to an 11-6 title game win over the defending champion Team New Era squad.
Early on it looked like Team New Era had control of the game but Alonso, who had two hits, reached base three times, and scored three runs on the day, came through in the clutch.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because we played them in the round robin and saw what they had,” said Sun Devils manager Dennis Swartout. “It shows that you can get a lot of tired guys out there that are sore, beat up and hurt but when they step up to the plate and reach down inside they can rise to the top.”
Playing in the MSBL championship game for the fifth straight year, Team New Era couldn’t sustain their early lead. After earning come from behind victories during round robin play Team New Era could not muster a rally once the Sun Devils wrestled away momentum in the fifth inning.
“The Sun Devils are a very good hitting team and you have to get as much as you can off of them,” said Team New Era manager Ralph Proulx. “Although we won the first half of the game they won the second half,” he said. “They’re a good team and I’m proud of our guys. They never gave up,” Proulx said.
The Sun Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on hits by Alonso, Derek Clair and starting pitcher Beau Wesson. Team New Era roared back scoring five unanswered runs in the next two innings led by Keith Thrower who had two hits, two stolen bases and two runs scored.
“We got those first two runs in the first inning and were feeling pretty good but our pitcher started to leave the ball out over the plate and they (Team New Era) were hitting the snot out of it and took that 5-2 lead,” said Swartout. “Guys came in and you felt they were a little down so we pulled everybody together and had a little pep talk and reminded everybody why we’re here.”
Bottle that pep talk and sell it.
The first eight post pep talk batters in the fifth reached base safely for the Sun Devils. Frank Castro’s two-run single scored Wesson and Dale Eby to cap the scoring.
It was more than enough for starter and team MVP Wesson who settled down and allowed just one run after the fourth inning.
“This week Beau Wesson really stepped up,” said Swartout. “He’s a really decent ballplayer and this week he raised his game. He was one of the guys that kept things rolling when we thought things were going to slow down for us and we were beat up and tired.”
After blowing a four-run lead and losing their tournament opener to the Dallas Rangers, Team New Era reeled off four straight wins. They had a shot to win the division with a final showdown against the Sun Devils in their last game of pool play, but lost that game 5-1 and finished with a 4-2 record.
The Sun Devils came into the tournament with their goal being to go 5-1 or 6-0 in pool play and they did just that by going 5-1 and clinching first place in the division. Catcher Brett Stewart was an iron man behind the plate catching all but 13 innings in the tournament.
Team New Era defeated the Dallas Rangers 16-6 in the semifinals. Joel Crisler earned the victory. Starting pitcher Darrin Fleming led the Sun Devils to a 13-2 semifinal win over the Fort Worth Phillies.