DFW Phillies 7, Sacramento Tribe 6
‘Williams and Olmo Share Co-MVP Honors in Rivalry’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL National
November 5, 2016, Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz. – In a rubber match for the ages, two evenly matched teams went head-to-head after splitting their first two championship contests in previous years. The last time these two teams met in a championship game the Tribe walked away with the trophy after dealing the Phillies the worst loss they’ve ever had. This game was a tight rope act and in the end the Phillies hung on 7-6 to take home the 60 Mountain Division title.
“This is a little bit of a grudge match and it’s going to be a good game for sure,” said Phillies manager Frank Philips before the game. “The way our teams our going there is no way we are going to shut each other out this year.”
Philips was right as this game came down to the final out.
The Phillies led most of the way through the first five and a half innings behind the arm of starting pitcher Richie Figueroa. Figueroa allowed just two runs through the first five innings and looked to be in total control of the game.
Ahead 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning Figueroa ran into trouble allowing the first four batters to reach safely. With one run already in Wayne Grapes hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one run and Philips turned to his bullpen. With two wins and a save to his record in pool play, co-MVP Wayne Williams took the ball. With Lanny Ropke at the plate a pitch from Williams got past the catcher to score Phil Gelhaus and tie the game.
The Tribe continued to put pressure on the Phillies in the seventh inning when Dave Deitrich hit a one out triple and Tom Arguijo followed with a sacrifice fly to give the them 6-5 lead heading into the eighth inning.
“It was an absolutely exciting game,” said Phillies manager Philips. “These were the two best teams and showed they deserved to be there.”
In the top of the eighth inning the Phillies were running out of time when Gary Firestone proved he’s got some tread left on the tires as he lined a double to right field to drive in two runs and put the Phillies ahead 7-6.
“Gary without a doubt was the game MVP,” said Philips. “He’s been doing it all week. He finally solved his nemesis which was slow curve balls. They started him off with a couple of slow curve balls and they came back with a fastball on the outside corner and he came through. We had to have it.”
The Tribe wasn’t done. In the ninth inning with runners on the corners and one out Dietrich grounded the ball to the third baseman who promptly threw out the Tribe runner at the plate trying to score the tying run.Williams would get Arguijo to fly out to end the game stranding the tying run on third and the winning run on second.
“It was definitely a championship game,” said Tribe manager Joe Soto. “It was back and forth but we just came up a little short.”
Co-MVP Angel Olmo was the offensive star for the Phillies going three for four on the day.
The Tribe went 5-1 in pool play earning them the top seed and home field advantage in the championship game. Throughout pool play the Tribe’s team strengths were their pitching and defense.
During pool play the Phillies went 4-2. Wayne Williams was the star for the Phillies throughout pool play pitching in three games and earning a win in two of them and a save in another.
The Tribe defeated the Chicago Fire 6-0 in the semifinal game behind a complete game (they played five innings) from Gary Stonebrook.
In the semifinal game the Phillies defeated the St. Paul Saints 4-1. In the first inning of that game Williams had a big hit to drive in two runs and the Phillies never looked back.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DFW Phillies 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 2 0 7 13 4
Sacramento Tribe 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 1 0 6 14
WP:Williams LP: Stonebrook
2B:Arnold (DFW), Olmo (DFW), Firestone (DFW), Arguijo (ST)
3B:Henley (DFW), Arguijo (ST), Dietrich (ST)
Leading Hitters: Phillies – Olmo 3×4; Henley 2×3, 3 R; Firestone 2×4, 3 RBI. Tribe – Arguijo 2×4; Gelhaus 2×3; Lane 2×4.
SAC:Cesario (DFW), Kelly (ST)
SF: Weathers (ST), Grapes (ST), Arguijo (ST)
SB: Graham (DFW), Olmo (DFW), Williams (DFW), Wooden (ST)
Team LOB: Phillies 10, Tribe 14
Time of Game: 3:29