Oaks 6, Classics 5
Oaks defense save day, preserves winBy Jason Johnson, MSBLNational.com
Maryvale Baseball Park, October 20, 2013 – A ninth inning rally by the Ohio Classics was extinguished when the Sonoma Oaks threw out the tying run at the plate to end the game and give the Oaks the 65 Central Division championship.
“We could hit, we could catch and we could throw,” said Oaks manager Gary Cook. “It came down to that in the last inning.”
Heading into the ninth inning the Oaks led 6-3 but the Classics’ bats woke up after being silent since the third inning. With two outs and nobody on Dan Gates lined a single to center field and Doug Lane walked to bring the tying run to the plate for the Classics.
Steve Master would follow with an RBI single putting men on first and second base with two outs. Gary Seeger stepped up and hit a fly ball to deep right field that dropped in for a double driving in Lane from second and pinch runner Jim McKinney was waved home. Oaks right fielder Chuck Tudor hit his cutoff man, Ralph Leef, who in turn fired a laser to catcher Carl Hartman who applied the tag to get the out and the championship.
“I saw the runner rounding third and got ready because I knew there would be a play,” said Hartman.
“It was a great game,” said Classics manager George Hughes. “It’s a game of inches. If our runner holds at third we would have had our best hitter coming up. It’s a game of percentages and we lost on the percentage.”
Eddie Harmon was a key cog in the lineup for the Sonoma Oaks throughout the tournament by reaching base safely 21 consecutive times. He didn’t disappoint in the championship game as he capped the first inning scoring with an RBI single to put the Oaks ahead 2-0.
With the Oaks ahead 3-0 in the third inning it looked like they may cruise to a big victory but the Classics answered with three runs of their own by a five-hit barrage that included RBI singles by Lane and Seeger.
The Oaks responded immediately with RBI singles by Ron “Ringo” Starkey and John Rice to put them ahead 5-3. They added another run in the fourth on a Mark Stone double to left field.
Sonoma Oaks starting pitcher Hal Young went the distance and earned the win keeping them undefeated for the tournament.
For the Classics, it was a tournament of firsts. For the first time in 15 years the New England Red Sox beat the Classics 13-12. On the other side of the coin, the Classics hadn’t beaten the San Diego Angels in at least a decade but were able to pull it out in this tournament.
“It was an odd coincidence,” said Hughes. “I was talking to the Red Sox manager and I said you finally beat us. He responded with, ‘Well, I guess it’s the law of averages.’”