Dodgers 19, Diablos 4

‘Lopez on the mound and 21 hits lead the Dodgers’

Ventura Dodgers 19, Nor Cal Diablos 4

By Patrick Lagreid, special to MSBL National

Maryvale Ballpark, November 2, 2013-Before the start of the 2013 MSBL/MABL 35+ Central Championship, Nor Cal Diablos manager Dale Moul said that he had eight pitchers ready to go in his bullpen and would have every one of his hurlers on a short leash. It turned out he would need to yank that leash several times as the Ventura Dodgers jumped all over the Diablos’ pitching early in Saturday’s game at Maryvale Ballpark en route to a 19-4 victory on Saturday at Maryvale Ballpark in Phoenix.

The Dodgers took advantage of an error and wild pitch in the top of the second to post three unearned runs, capped off by a two-run double by Ted Sarver. They tacked on two unearned runs in the third and then exploded for five more in the fourth, all coming with two outs.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Lopez kept his defense on their toes, working quickly and pitching to contact through all nine innings. Dodgers manager Brad Milner praised what the right-hander has done to contribute to the team’s success this year, saying “he’s been one of our workhorses for the last couple years; he routinely pitches well for us, keeps the ball on the ground and doesn’t walk a lot of guys.”

With the complete game on Saturday, Lopez pitched an amazing 27 innings in less than two days and was an easy selection for the championship game MVP award.

“I felt great, and the championship game made me just want to give my best for the team today,” Lopez said. He said he immediately picked up the confidence his teammates felt and were showing at the plate and carried it with him to the mound. “It comes down to everybody’s effort, not just the pitcher, and those guys made me much more comfortable today,” he added.

The Dodgers also played solid defense, putting an exclamation point on things in the fifth inning with third baseman’s Matt Frandsen’s diving catch in foul ground to retire Stephen Camp, before starting a 5-3 double play to end the inning.

The Dodgers came into the championship game on a three-game winning streak, and the confidence they exuded from the third base dugout was palpable throughout the ballpark. Milner said that he was pleased with the baseball confidence that his team showed after a long week of baseball and that they brought the ability to back up that confidence.

“Our guys showed a lot of heart today; there was a lot of solid pitching, we played a lot of solid defense and had a number of key base hits,” Milner noted. “It was a total team effort today and that’s exactly what it takes to win a ballgame, and I’m really proud of my guys for being tough throughout the whole ballgame.

The Dodgers’ offense was sparked by leadoff hitter Chad Bletscher, who went 2-4 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. Jon Murphy and Ted Sarver both drove in three , while Ernie Johnson drove in two and scored two runs.

Moul cited the three come-from-behind wins that the Diablos recorded on the road to the championship game, and while his team recorded 13 hits, they just couldn’t seem to string enough together to claw back into the game.

“We ran ourselves out of some innings, we hit some balls on the nose that found gloves – it happens, it’s baseball,” Moul said after the game. When he realized he had to go to his bullpen early, he said he was just hoping to find lightning in a bottle that could get outs and curb the walks.

The Diablos’ offense was sparked by multi-hit games from Roman Gomez, Loren Peterson, River Acciaioli and Robbie Hitchcock.