2015 55+ Mountain

Sacramento Royals, 3 San Antonio Bombers, 2

‘Stonebrook and Barker Shut the Door on the Bombers’

By Russ Christ, special to MSBL

October 29, 2015, Tempe, Arizona – It’s always advantageous to have a lefty in the bull pen, especially with the game on the line. In the 55+ Mountain Division MSBL World Series Championship at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the Sacramento Royals beat the San Antonio Bombers 3-2.

The Bombers had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Southpaw Jim Barker of Phoenix retired Freddie Douglas, who flew out to center field to end the rally. Gary Stonebrook, the winning pitcher, who doubled as the Royals’ manager, took himself out of the game with a 3-1 cushion after allowing a lead-off single to Joe Kramer.

“That was the last thing I expected,” Barker said, “because at that point it was his game.”

Stonebrook allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked two. He gave up a SAC fly to Douglas in the seventh, but was getting tired. “I was kind of running out of gas in the seventh,” Stonebrook said.

Barker had warmed up in the bullpen for three innings, and when he entered in the ninth he promptly hit Jerry Spencer, the Bombers manager. The next batter, Eric Hobelman, dropped down a SAC bunt to move up the runners. Barker was able to throw him out from his knees. “It was nerve wracking. It was really tough,” Barker said. “I’m not really a reliever.”

Mike Krueger walked to load the bases and Phil Galloway hit into a 6-3 fielder’s choice to make score 3-2. Douglas made the final out.

“I got through the eighth and the plan was to go to the pen,” Stonebrook said. “We had a lot of fresh arms down there. You bet I had confidence in Jim.”

The Royals ended the week 7-1 and avenged an earlier pool play loss to the Bombers. They went up 2-0 in the fourth after Taylor Welz lined a double to left center field, scoring Bruce Anderson, who had walked. Defensively, the Bombers (7-1) bungled the play, tripping over each other in the outfield. The error allowed Welz to race around the bases and score.

The Royals increased their lead to 3-0 in the sixth when Anderson doubled and scored two batters later. Phil Adams grounded into a fielder’s choice and avoided an inning-ending double play by hustling down the line to score Anderson.

Southpaw Rafael Fuentes started for the Bombers, hurling six innings. He gave up one earned run and six hits.

Spencer held the Royals in check for the last three innings, inducing two double plays. “We’ve played these guys for many years,” Spencer said. “We always enjoy it, but we would have liked for it to go the other way.”

Stonebrook was also named MVP. “What’s so pleasurable about this team is that there are no “me” guys,” Stonebrook, who won a championship with the 50+ Auburn Braves a week earlier, said. “Everybody accepts their role and it’s my job to make sure they get plenty of playing time. This was a great game. It was 3-2 in the championship (no errors by the winning team). It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Royals:           0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 –3 6 0

Bombers:       0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 –2 7 2

WP: G. Stonebrook

LP: R. Fuentes

2B: Royals: Anderson, Welz, Adams; Bombers: Broils

RBI: Bombers: Douglas, Gallaway; Royals: Welz, Adams

HBP: Royals (Wooden); Bombers: Spencer

SAC Bunt: Royals: Welz; Bombers: Fuentes, Hobelman

SAC Fly: F. Douglas

DP: Bombers (3)