Rhode Island Salty Dogs 11, Criollos Venezuela 1
‘Peasley and Mohart Provide One-Two punch’
By Andy Villamarzo, special to MSBL
Clearwater, FL., November 14, 2015 – If there was any doubt about Rhode Island Salty Dogs’ pitcher Cliff Peasley’s tear of the past four games he’s started, he silenced any doubters with a gem of a pitching performance Saturday morning.
Peasley pieced together a real gem and helped the Salty Dogs take home the 45 American championship in a 11-1 victory over Criollos Venezuela at the Joe DiMaggio Fields. Noah Clark’s club was 5-2 prior to winning the title and expressed that his team had been playing very well recently, especially in starts by Peasley, who went eight innings and struck out nine in the victory and was named Most Valuable Player. Peasley went 3-0 and made two saves during the tournament.
“We had Darrell Mohart, who was probably our leading hitter for the entire tournament, Clark said. “He really sparked us. Cliff won two games for us and another couple games we were struggling and he came in and shut the door. He’s just a bulldog and he wanted the ball for the finals. For us, that was a great team we played today and they were tough. They beat us during the week. We had some timely hits today. Dan Fitta had a triple that scored three runs and that really iced it for us.”
Rhode Island put together a huge top of the second inning, as the Salty Dogs produced seven runs off seven hits and took advantage of two errors made by Criollos Venezuela. The flurry of runs was ignited by Jim Foster, who started off the frame being hit by a pitch from Criollos’ pitcher Joel Albannan, who lasted an inning and 2/3. Critical mistakes in the infield extended the Salty Dogs’ stay at the plate and helped give Rhode Island the fast start they needed.
Criollos ran into tough sledding against Peasley’s pitching throughout the morning, as they were able to amount 10 hits off the right-hander but only scored once. Through the first five innings Peasley, who has two saves in his past four games, held his counterparts to two hits and struck out seven batters. The Rhode Island native kept Criollos Venezuela in check and his team was able to give him a bit more run support in the top of the fifth inning, when Fitta tripled home Norm Dumont,Mike Lunardelli and Sean Duprey to give the Salty Dogs’ a commanding 11-0 lead.
“They were playing off the plate, so I threw a lot of pitches to the outside corner,” Peasley said. “Sliders, changeups, curveballs, fastballs and that kept them a little off balanced as far as swinging goes. I got a lot of ground balls and I tried to keep most of my pitches to the outer half of the plate. I’m just more happy to pitch for the guys and pitching for the players behind me. Winning MVP is a nice thing to have and now I can bring it home and show it to my son.”
The Salty Dogs finally yielded a run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Victor Rosario scored on a single by Albannan. Criollos Venenzuela lost out on scoring two runs in the inning, with Gabriel Alvarez was thrown out at home plate. Peasley faced one more serious threat in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Criollos loaded up the bases with two outs and was able to shut down any comeback with a groundout of Hugo Perez. Joc Ward closed out the game for the Salty Dogs in the ninth inning.