OC Sox 4, Steelhead Tavern 2
‘Darensbourg Complete Game Victory Seals Title’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
November 7, 2015, Tempe Diablo Stadium – Déjà vu strikes all over again in Arizona as the OC Sox bested Steelhead Tavern in the 45 American Division Championship for the second straight year in the World Series. Team MVP Vic Darensbourg pitched a complete game for the second straight day giving up just two runs leading the Sox to victory.
Darensbourg, who pitched seven seasons in the big leagues primarily with the Florida Marlins, didn’t allow a run to cross until the eighth inning while pitching out of jams all afternoon. In the first inning with runners on the corners and two outs Darensbourg struck out Steelhead Tavern’s Chuck Douthit. Steelhead Tavern put the pressure on again loading the bases with one out but Darensbourg struck out John Sayles then got John Mahalik to ground out to end the inning.
“We had a couple of shots early and left some guys on base early, “said Steelhead Tavern manager John Haney. “We did leave a lot of guys on base and we had a shot. Darensbourg is a pretty good pitcher and the OC Sox are a very nice team.”
In the second inning the Sox loaded the bases with two outs and manager David Rice stroked a single to right field to drive Robert Wasmund and Eric Martin who just beat the throw to the plate to stake the Sox to an early 2-0 lead.
“I’m not going to lie, the ball looked big coming in and I could see it really well,” said Rice. “He tried to sneak a fastball by me on the outside corner and I took it to right field. There was a bang-bang play at the plate and we were fortunate enough to score two runs.”
After the second inning Steelhead Tavern starting pitcher Lincoln Mikkelsen settled down pitching four scoreless innings. However, Mikkelsen ran into trouble again in the seventh inning when Junior Esparza led off reaching base on a fielding error by the shortstop followed by a double to left field by Martin driving Esparza in. With the bases loaded and two outs Cobi Cradle was hit by the pitch to drive in the fourth Sox run.
Steelhead Tavern would finally get on the board in the eighth inning when Mahalik hit a one out double and Andy Postema drove him in with a single to left.
Down 4-1 in the ninth inning Steelhead Tavern mounted a rally when Bradley VanBergen drove in Douthit to cut the deficit to two with two outs. Jim Hazlett would follow that with a single and Mikkelsen was hit by the pitch to load the bases with two outs and the tying run on second base. Steelhead Tavern called upon Kevin Corcoran to pinch hit and Darensbourg struck him out to end the rally and secure the title for the Sox.
“I knew this was going to be a close game heading into this and Vic had just enough gas left in the tank to get us out of there,” said Sox manager David Rice. “It didn’t even cross my mind to get a guy up in the pen. I wanted Vic to focus on the hitters. He knows what to do.”
The Sox and Steelhead Tavern battled to an 18-18 tie in a slugfest in pool play setting the table for what would be an exciting championship game. Steelhead Tavern went 5-0-1 in pool play while the OC Sox played to a 4-1-1 record.
The OC Sox defeated the Houston Baseball Club 4-2 in the semifinals behind a complete game from Darensbourg. He allowed two runs in the first inning and shut them out for the last eight. After pitching the first seven innings and not allowing a run in the championship game it made it 15 consecutive shutout innings between the semifinal and championship game in two days.
Steelhead Tavern advanced to the championship game after an offensive explosion against the Nasty Boys defeating them 15-2. Rich Capparelli was the winning pitcher and also had four hits in the game.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
OC Sox 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 7 1
Steelhead Tavern 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 8 2
Darensbourg. Mikkelsenn, Kinnane.
WP:Darensbourg. LP: Mikkelsen.
2B: Martin (OC); Capparelli (ST); Mahalik (ST).
Leading Hitters: Sox – Woods 2×3, 2 BB; Rice 2×4, 2 RBI; Steelhead Tavern – Mahalik 2×4; Postema 2×4; VanBergen 2×4.
LOB: Sox 10; Steelhead Tavern 11
Total game time: 2:43