Salt Lake Lugnuts 8, Phoenix Tube 5
Salt Lake Wins One for ‘Maddog’
By Russ Christ, Special to MSBL
October 24, 2015, Maryvale Stadium (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Inspired by the memory of Maddog, their former shortstop, the Salt Lake Lugnuts won an emotional MSBL World Series Championship in the 35+ Central Division at Maryvale Park in Phoenix. The Lugnuts beat the Phoenix Tube, a New Jersey-based club, 8-5.
Maddog (Brian Madlung), died a couple years ago in a work-related accident at 39, but his spirit lives on in the play of his former teammates. They blared music before the game, in between innings, and exchanged hugs and high fives all afternoon. At the end, after the Tube had loaded the bases and scored a run in the ninth, the Lugnuts turned a game-ending double play. They rejoiced, but also remembered a fallen friend. Joey Robinson, manager of Salt Lake, who finished 8-1, said it best.
“After every game we kick dirt on home plate and put a “3” in there, and give him a little cheer in remembrance,” Robinson said. “He was one of our great players for sure. This is dedicated to him.”
Southpaw Corey Stone earned the win for the Lugnuts, pitching into the ninth. Stone allowed 11 hits before reliever Shane Smuin induced the 5-4-3 double play to end the game. Stone deflected the credit.
“Our catcher (Tony Peterson) called a great game,” Stone said. “I just tried to keep the ball down in the zone. We just played defense. I didn’t have one strike out the whole game. We’ve been rolling all week coming into this game. It’s been a good group of guys and a lot of fun.”
Peterson said the team’s camaraderie was key. “This is one of the greatest brotherhoods I’ve ever been a part of,” Peterson said. “We’ve gone through a five-year drought. This time everybody made the dedication and sacrifice, took time off from work and put the family together.”
It wasn’t easy as Phoenix pressured the Lugnuts all day, hitting the ball to all fields. Salt Lake led 5-4 before scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh, a cushion they needed. Left fielder Jorie Lumis knocked in two runs with a double after Skyler Wallin singled to score Bryce Blanchard, who led off the seventh with a single. “That was huge,” Stone said. “It’s a lot different going into the ninth with a four-run lead.”
Smuin had a two RBI single in the second as the Lugnuts jumped out to a 5-1 lead. They were aided by two walks and a Phoenix error. Clean up hitter Rolando Raygoza had two doubles, two RBI and scored twice to lead the Tube, who outhit the Lugnuts. Carlos Armandariz was 2-4 with two RBI and lead-off hitter Chris Archuleta had three hits and scored three times. Tom Van Wart was the losing pitcher.
“Those guys put the bat on the ball better than any team I’ve seen,” Peterson said. “They were quick and got around the bases, but we just took advantage when we could.”
Stone was the beneficiary of three double plays. “This is a pretty tight-knit team,” Robinson said. “I think we won today with good pitching and good defense.”
Phoenix 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 — 5 11 3
Salt Lake 0 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 X — 8 8 1
L: Van Wart
2B: Armandariz, Raygoza (2), Loomis (Salt Lake)
RBI: Raygoza (2), Armandariz (2), Jacabs (1), Smuin (Salt Lake) 2, Loomis (Salt Lake) 2, Wallin (Salt Lake) 1
SAC: Dewaters (Salt Lake)
DP: Salt Lake (3)