SoCal Snappers 8, Puget Sound Ravens 2
‘Sing-Chow Leads the Way for the Snappers’
Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
Maryvale Baseball Park, October 26, 2014 – Get ‘em on. Get ‘em over. Get ‘em in. That’s just what the SoCal Snappers did en route to an 8-2 victory over the Puget Sound Ravens in the 18 National Division Championship on Sunday at Maryvale Baseball Park. The Snappers, managed by Frank Sansone, scored eight runs on just two extra base hits but were able to get runners in scoring position all day via stolen bases, sacrifices and ground outs to advance runners.
“We have a lot of guys that have experience and play unselfishly,” said Sansone. “We’ve been through this enough times and no one has anything to prove anymore. We just come out to play to win and be with each other and have a good time.”
The Snappers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when their first two hitters, Greg Martinez and team most valuable player Waylen Sing-Chow, reached base and pulled off a double-steal to get them both into scoring position with nobody out. That set the table for consecutive RBI ground outs from Manny Pimentel and Joe Elias to drive both runners in.
Sing-Chow continued to come as advertised when he drove in pinch runner Enrique Cotto in the third inning with an RBI single to increase the Snappers lead to 3.
“Sing-Chow is a great, young player,” said Sansone. “He’s very quiet and reserved and barely said two words the entire week. He just produces – against left handers or right handers – it doesn’t matter. He’s right on it.”
In the fourth inning the Snappers continued to put pressure on the Ravens when the first three hitters reached base. Buddy Klowstad and Mark Flatten hit sacrifice flies driving in Brandon Kaye and Alonso Mendoza and the Snappers found themselves ahead 6-0.
Starting pitcher Pete Hartmann pitched five scoreless innings for the Snappers but in the sixth the Ravens showed signs of life. Trailing 7-0 the Ravens scraped together four consecutive hits including RBI singles from Gabe Orendorff and Jamie Miller to trim the deficit to 5. The Snappers answered by bringing in Charles Nading in the seventh inning who would finish the game and earn the rare three-inning save by allowing just one hit and striking out three.
“We ran into a team that can really hit the ball,” said Ravens manager Paul Davison. “Everything our starter threw up there they barreled and they just rake. They put the pressure on you and they’re hard to stop. It’s a good team.”
This championship marks the fifth time since 2000 the Snappers have hoisted the trophy in Arizona and even though they’re no stranger to the MABL World Series they relish every moment of it.
“We come thirty-plus guys and we’re all friends of friends of friends as we’ve built the team over the years and it’s kind of our way of getting back together and seeing everybody,” said Sansone. “We have a good time and we’re playing baseball doing it. It’s a good time to get our hall pass.”
In pool play the Snappers went undefeated with a 5-0 record to earn the first seed of the playoffs. Their team leader was Sing-Chow who batted near .800 and was constantly setting the table for the rest of the lineup in the top two spots of the batting order.
The Puget Sound Ravens battled to a 3-2 record in pool play led by Emmet Woods who batted .480 with five extra base hits and drove in 11 runs. Kevin Putkonen also added some thump to the Ravens lineup with a home run and a scorching batting average of .526.
Behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Chris Gschwender the Snappers were able to advance to the championship game by defeating the Santa Clara Twins 5-1 in the semifinals.
Starting pitcher Jason Castro took the hill for the Ravens in the semifinals leading them to a 7-1 victory over the Illinois Marlins. Castro and Spencer Seabourne both led the Ravens pitching staff with 2-0 records in the tournament.