Shockers 8, Indians 0

‘Local boy Spillman shuts down Indians’

Tri-Valley Shockers 8, Stanislaus Indians 0

By Patrick Lagreid, Special to MSBLNational.com

Shockers’manager Dave Lewis said it was timely hitting that got his team to the championship, and it was timely hitting along with a solid performance from starting pitcher Jeromie Spillman that netted his team the MSBL/MABL 35+ Mountain Division championship Saturday morning in an 8-0 victory over the Stanislaus Indians at Maryvale Ballpark in Phoenix.

“We put the pressure on in every inning,” Lewis said after the game. “One thing we tried to do is get the first runner on; the thing we have going for us is speed, and we utilized that to get into scoring position and capitalize on those timely hits.”

The Shockers posted single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to get out to a quick lead, while a defensive miscue by the Indians gave them one more in the fifth. They kept the pressure on by adding a run in the sixth, two in the seventh and one more in the eighth. The offense was spread throughout the lineup, with championship game MVP Geno Ballardo contributing two hits, scoring a pair of runs and adding a stolen base. Nine different Shockers picked up hits, with Charles Loseth and Andre White each notching a double for the teams’ two extra-base hits.

Shockers’ starting pitcher Jeromie Spillman certainly appreciated the run support but did more than his part to contribute to the win, yielding eight hits in a complete game shutout, striking out five along the way.

If Spillman looked at home on the mound at Maryvale Ballpark, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; he pitched at Grand Canyon University, which is less than four miles away from Maryvale Ballpark and is currently the head baseball coach at Phoenix’s Maryvale High School, located just about a mile from where he took the hill in the 35+ Mountain Division Championship.

“I like this ballpark, I think it’s one of the nicer ones in the Valley,” Spillman said. “It’s cozy, and I felt good out there on the mound,” which he said led to his fastball working so well. He said his change-up helped to keep the hitters off balance and minimize the damage, even when the Indians were threatening.

Spillman was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2000 draft, and the lefty showed professional composure against a team that has put up run totals of 17, 24 and 25 in three of their wins this tournament.

“We just didn’t execute – we didn’t hit, we didn’t execute, real simple,” Indians manager Clint Romero said after the game. “We faced a good pitcher and he shut us down, and defensively we didn’t execute,” he added.

The Indians weren’t without their opportunities though, leaving runners stranded at first and second in both the fourth and fifth innings, and then getting runners at the corners in the sixth before catcher Victor Sanchez made a nice play on a popup in front of the Shockers’ third base dugout. Stanislaus threatened again in the bottom of the eighth, getting runners to second and third with two out before Spillman struck out Romero for his fourth strikeout of the day. They posted a pair of two out singles in the bottom of the ninth before Spillman got Rick Russelle to lineout to shortstop to end the game.

Indians starting pitcher Jason Jarvis did his part to keep the Indians in the game, pitching seven innings and keeping the damage in any one inning to a minimum.

The game featured a number of players that have known each other for a while, and the two squads played like a pair of opponents that knew each others’ strengths and weaknesses, with the Shockers claiming victory in this latest matchup.