Sacramento Royals 12, Fort Worth Phillies 0

‘Tuman Throws Shutout to Earn MVP Honors’

By Russ Christ, special to MSBL

Mesa, Arizona, October 29, 2014–Good glove work and dominating pitching typically wins baseball games.That was the case at Cubs Park, the Spring Training home of the Chicago Cubs, on October 29 in the55 Wood Mountain MSBL Championship in Mesa, Ariz.

Sacramento Royals right-handed pitcher Jerry Tuman, relying on his defense and pinpoint control, pitched a complete-game 12-0 shutout as his team ended the title hopes of the Fort Worth Phillies. Royals hitters tallied 20 hits to back Tuman. Bruce Anderson, Steve Welch, Phil Adams, Bobby Wooden, Darryll Foster, Mark Shillinburg and Tim Burkitt contributed two hits each for the Royals. Anderson and Burkitt knocked in two as well.

The Sacramento-based team had four players from Arizona and one from Oregon to fill its Northern California-based roster. They ended the tournament with a 6-1 record.

After scoring single runs in the first, third and fourth off Phillies starter Richie Figueroa to take a 3-0 lead, the Royals capitalized on two walks, an error and three hits, including a bases-loaded double by Anderson, to tack on three runs in the sixth.

In the seventh, the Royals scored six runs off Fort Worth relief pitchers Joe Whitmer and Wayne Williams. Figueroa, who gave up six runs in six and a third innings of work, took the loss after throwing 115 pitches, 72 of them for strikes. Phil Galloway and Alfred Alonzo had two hits for Fort Worth, 5-2.

Named the game’s Most Valuable Player, Tuman, of Gilbert, Ariz., scattered 10 hits, walked three and struck out five. The Royals righty stranded 13 base runners and saw his defense turn three double plays. Ninety four of Tuman’s 141 pitches were strikes.

Royals manager Gary Stonebrook said his defense was key all week. “Up until this game we had only one error all week,” he said. “Today it was all those hits, great defense and a shutout from our pitcher. If you could have written a script this would have been it.”

Tuman, 55, also won a game earlier in the week for the Royals. “I was hitting spots,” the Chicago native said. “With my curve I was taking plenty off to keep them off balance. My slider was strong. Steve Welch (his catcher) called a great game. I don’t think I shook one pitch off. Plus my defense really helped me with those three double plays.” “Our pitching was outstanding all week,” Welch added.

COCCHIA’S ILLNESS MOTIVATES FORT WORTH

Phillies manager Frank Phillips had hoped to ride a hot-hitting club to the championship, partly to honor Billy Cocchia, a Phoenix resident currently battling stage four colon cancer.

“What makes this year special for me is spending it with Billy,” Phillips said. “He was diagnosed earlier and this could be it. Over the years he has been a nemesis as an opponent and a great teammate as well. He is our catalyst and has been such a good friend for over the last 15 years. His play has opened a lot of young guys’ eyes.”

Slight of build, Cocchia, 64, has played in the MSBL World Series since 1988. He uses a 35-inch bat, chokes up about six inches and stands on top of the plate, a technique he said allows him to reach outside pitches.

Decades ago Cocchia played for Augie Garrido, Jr., at Cal State Fullerton (Garrido has led Cal State Fullerton and the University of Texas Longhorns to a combined five National Titles). College baseball’s winningest coach once told Cocchia he’d never succeed with his plate approach. “He said, ‘son you’ll never be successful standing so close to the plate,’ but it works for me.”

“The World Series is so unique and so fun,” Cocchia, who singled off Tuman in the sixth inning, said. “The camaraderie and support, not only from the players, but the umpires, has just been overwhelming. This could be the last World Series I get to play. I’ve always played at the highest level because I love the competition.”