Inland Angels 7, Puget Sound 4
‘McGauhey Tosses Complete Game Victory for Title’
By Stefan Modrich, special to MSBL
November 5, 2016, Tempe #4 – Ted Poleto’s Inland Angels are no stranger to adversity. They’ve conquered it again and again. Saturday was no different – as the Angels dug themselves out of an early 2-0 hole and withstood a late rally to top the Puget Sound Mariners 7-4 to earn the 2016 Cactus Division 60+ World Series title.
“Throughout the week we battled back from 8-0 and 7-0 deficits,” Poleto said. “We won our last seven straight. It was a team effort all the way.”
Angels starter Rick McGauhey went the distance for Inland and got the win, striking out two Mariners and issuing just three walks in nine innings.
After an RBI double by Leroy McClain and a single by Bob Whitacre drove in McClain,Puget Sound jumped out to an early lead in the first. McGauhey kept the Puget Sound hitters off balance for the most part, tossing seven shutout innings and inducing nine fly ball outs.
“I just started mixing everything in,” McGaughey said. “I throw a lot of knuckle balls. The fastball offsets it. I hit them with the curveball when they were looking for both.” The Inland defense was able to track down several well-hit balls and saddle McGauhey with a comfortable lead. “It was fantastic,” McGaughey said. “I’ve never played with a better bunch of guys in my life.”
The defining moment of Inland’s second three-run rally came in the fifth, when Steve Spelman roped a triple down into the right field corner to score Poleto and reignite a lineup that had gone down in order the inning before.
“He was a good pitcher – I got lucky,” Spelman said of his hit off Puget Sound’s Kevin Olds. “I don’t even know what it was – a fastball or slider – I just turned on it and it stayed fair. I haven’t hit a ball like that for years. It was ecstatic.”
And even when McGaughey began to show signs of fatigue in the late innings, he got aninsurance run in the eight that would prove useful when the Mariners tacked on a pair of runs thanks to back-to-back singles and heads-up base running from Rick Filush and Leroy McClain.
Inland pounded out 12 total hits, three of them for extra bases, and tagged Puget Sound starter Kevin Olds with the loss. Clutch hitting has been a characteristic of Poleto’s teams, especially this season.
“Everybody picked each other up,” Spelman said. “Everybody was hot at one time or another, there were a few guys that were hot all the time, and that’s what you need to with this thing.” The Angels and their dugout chemistry proved resilient yet again, capturing a Cactus Division World Series title after a hard-fought playoff run.
“They battled straight up,” Poleto said. “Everybody rooted for each other, everybody supported each other. We’re just real proud to be the winners of the 60 Cactus.”