L.A. Athletics 10, USA Volkers 5

‘Little, Clark and Arnold Seal the Deal’

By Jason Skoda, special to MSBL

October 30, 2015, Maryvale Stadium, Phoenix, AZ – The ring still fits nicely, the champion’s hat has some meaning and the trophy still carries some weight. The L.A. Athletics and USA Volkers just wish there was more of an obstacle to earning one in the 65 National World Series title.

The division only had three teams so the week got monotonous leading up to Friday’s title game at Maryvale Stadium that the Athletics won 10-5 over the Volkers. It was a rematch of last year’s championship game also won by the Athletics. The two teams have developed a respect, but it is clear they are tired of seeing each other.

“We have to get more teams in this division,” Athletics manager Bob Sherwin said. “They have to force some of those teams up. Playing two other teams all week is hard.”

Volkers manager Billy Jacobs had similar sentiments. “It’s a good rivalry. They beat us three out of four and deserved to win,” Jacobs said. “Anything can happen in any game, but we knew we had to play at a level because we’ve seen them so much.”

It probably didn’t matter how well the Volkers played in the championship game considering what the three and four hitters did for the Athletics. Dan Little and Jack Clark went a combined 10 for 10 with five RBIs and five runs scored (including their pinch runners) to account for all of the runs scored. “That’s why they are the MVPs,” Sherwin said. “They started out hot and only got hotter during the week.”

Clark, who didn’t start playing baseball until 30, said he was just following Little’s lead. “It’s contagious,” he said. “He kept getting hits and I wanted to get it going.” Little had an RBI double in the first, started a two-out rally in third with a single, had an RBI single in the fourth and stole a base after starting the seventh with a single to score.

“He can still move,” said Sherwin, who won his 21st ring and second at this age group. “It’s puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

The third MVP of the week was pitcher John Arnold, who had two wins during the week as he threw a complete game in the finals. He allowed nine hits, three walks, and three earn runs with four strikeouts. “We could have done more against him, but he always made the big pitch,” Jacobs said.

Volkers, based out of Indiana, was led by Ryan Krantz, as he reached base all four times including two RBI singles. Larry Weaver had two hits and three runs scored for the Volkers. The offense was never able to string enough hits together to keep up as the Athletics took leads of 4-1 and 6-2 to keep Volkers in ‘chase’ mode the whole time.

“We got down early and never got back to even,” Jacobs said. “But it was a good week. This is a great group of and they played hard together. It just wasn’t enough.”

The Athletics have a core of players that continues to dominate and is one of the reasons the field of teams is as small as it is. “We want to keep playing and want to play the best competition,” Sherwin said. “There are teams that don’t want to play us. They need to get better and play at the highest level. That’s why we respect (the Volkers). They have hitters and they don’t quit. They keep playing hard until the end.”