Kansas City A’s 4, Maine Diamond Dogs 2

‘Solid Play on the Mound and at the Plate Seal Deal’

By Wes Thomas, special to MSBL

November 1, 2015, Maryvale (Phoenix) AZ – The Maine Diamond Dogs Max Peterson led the game drawing a walk off Kansas City A’s starting pitcher Mark Folk. Later in the inning he scored without a hit and suddenly the Dogs held a one to nothing lead in the Father and Son’s Federal division Championship Game at Maryvale Stadium. Peterson, and the Dogs scored the run when the bases were loaded and Shaun Chase worked a walk from the A’s starting pitcher Folk. KC A’s pitcher Mark Folk had some early control issues and A’s Manager Jim Velger suddenly started to question his early decisions. Folk had hit two batters and walked two allowing the run.

Folk settled down, however, and held the Dogs scoreless for the following three innings as Jeremy Kraus took the hill. Kraus allowed nothing until a single run scored for the Dogs in the seventh as Matt Crandal singled scoring Max Arsenault who led off the inning with a single as well. Zach Weinandt took over the reins on the mound for the A’s in the eighth inning and closed without allowing a run and only one hit. That’s it…that’s all the Diamond Dogs could muster against the fine pitching of the A’s. The A’s pitching staff allowed only six hits in the entire game against the Diamond Dogs. No player on the Dogs had more than one hit.

The KC A’s on the other hand, entered the bottom of the first inning down a run and knew they had a lot of baseball yet to play. The responded in their half of the inning with vengeance scoring four runs of their own and taking what turned out to be a commanding lead. The A’s pounded out five hits in the inning combined with a hit batter to score the runs. The key blows were by Tyler Folk and Matt Stark with rbi singles and Matt Weinandt driving home a run with a fielder’s choice. The Maine Diamond Dogs pitching corps made a statement of their own from the second inning as Clair Crandall relieved starter Doug Harmon and tossed three scoreless innings allowing only two hits. Zach Roberts took over for the Dogs in the fifth inning and shut the A’s out for four more innings allowing only three hits as well.

After the first inning of play the A’s had only one player reach second base for the rest of the game. The Dogs met inning after inning with the A’s in pitching. The game was won in the first inning. After that inning, no more offense was generated due to the sterling pitching performances by both teams.

Six players on the Diamond Dogs roster had one hit apiece while for the A’s Mike Berard and Tyler Folk had two hits apiece. The A’s had ten hits total.

Kansas City Manager Jim Velger said defense was evident all week and several times during the competition the A’s flashed the leather to give the team momentum and confidence and believing they were going to go far. Velger singled out Matt Stark due to his versatility and commitment to the team. Stark played and excelled in several positions at critical situations and was named MVP.

Velger also gave tremendous credit to his pitching staff and said they were amazing the entire tournament. “No single pitcher was dominant for us but they all did just a tremendous job when we needed it.” Hitting has to take place to get a team to the championship game and Skipper Velger once again gave credit where credit was due. “Our three, four, five guys were huge. They pulled through for us all week and delivered huge, key hits.” Greg Rosser hit third, Mike Berard, fourth, and MVP Tyler Folk hit fifth. “We had a lot of two out rallies, it was incredible.”

When asked how special this championship was to the team Velger gave an emotional thanks to his coaches John Brown and Jimmy Jansen. ” We have been together for four years now. We have lost some dear friends tragically during this time, so this just awesome! I have been a part of this league for 26 years, and never won back to back championships, so this one is really special.”

Let’s see…timing hitting, solid defense, and great pitching, yes, Coach, it certainly was!