|Sacramento Tribe shortstop Dave Dietrich turns two as Cal Blues player James Yamada slides in. The Tribe turned six double plays on the day. The Tribe defeated the Blues 7-1 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.|
Sacramento Tribe 7, Cal Blues 1
By Jeff McGaw, MSBLNational.com
Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Oct. 26, 2012— The bad news for the Sacramento Tribe defense is that they let a perfect double play opportunity slip through their collective fingers in the eighth inning of their title game versus the California Old Blues.
The good news is that they successfully completed six other double play opportunities in the first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth innings en route to a 7-1 win over the Cal Blues in the 55 American finals at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Cactus League home for the Oakland A’s.
Slick fielding aside, there was the “Rex effect,” a powerful force of nature that simply could not be contained by the Blues. Tournament MVP and Tribe general manager Rex Yuhas finished the game with four hits, including a fifth inning double, and four RBI. Three of those four RBI hits came with two outs in the inning. “In the first couple of games he didn’t do a whole lot, but he was just fantastic after that,” said Stonebrook. “He deserved it.”
Carlos Bryson scattered seven hits over nine innings for the win, and with the help of his defense was able to overcome a nausea-inducing six walks and one hit batter.
Bryson, who won the opening game of the tournament over the Lehigh Valley Moondogs gave up a single and a walk in the opening frame, but was rescued by a 5-unassisted-3 double play. He walked leadoff hitter Kevin Kearney, yielded a single to Toby Passillas, walked George Konstantino, and hit Angelo Crudale to force in a run in the second inning before getting an inning-ending ground ball.
“He’s really good, but it was one of those games that you just muddle through and hope he gets help,” said Tribe manager Gary Stonebrook.
Aside from the run they got when Bryson hit Crudale with the bases loaded, the Blues, 2-4 in round robin play, were unable to muster much offense. They totaled seven hits with John Hughes (3-for-3) and Tony Passillas (2×3) doing most of the heavy lifting.
Tournament math being what it is in the five team division, the Blues made the finals with a 2-4 record having played an extra game in round robin. They punched their ticket to the finals with a 6-3 win over the San Diego Stars with whom they split in round robin play. Vic Viegas earned the win in that game and Konstantino was 3-for-4 with three RBI.
The Tribe finished 3-2 in pool play. They defeated Rick Sorci’s Chicago North Indians 13-2 in the playoffs to advance.
“We’ve seen them a lot,” said Lagos. “They are a consistently good team and we knew we had our hands full.” Lagos and the Blues had solid tournament performances Jim Yamada at shortstop, and Mike Wilgus had two hits in every game but the finals.
Tribe skipper Gary Stonebrook was impressed with his team’s performance. “Everybody contributed,” Stonebrook said. “There are no egos on this team. It’s probably the easiest team I’ve ever managed. It’s stress free. Nobody complains. Everybody just does their job.”
Many of the Tribe players were part of the 2011 NorCal Giants team that claimed the 55 American crown last year, and part of the Tribe teams that claimed 55 National gold in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as well.
Stonebrook said that while the team lost twice in round robin, there was no panic. “It’s like you put it on autopilot when you manage this team,” he said. “It’s a pleasurable bunch of guys and you’re just thankful to be down here with them.”
|The Sacramento Tribe won the 55 Wood Bat American crown at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Oct. 26, 2012|