2016 Desert Classic: 45+

OC Sox 7, Sacramento Rockets 5

‘Total Team Effort Secures Hard Earned Victory’

Submitted by John Berryman, OC Sox

OC Sox MVP and #4 hitter Buster Nietzke notified Sox manager David Rice 55 minutes before the Semi Finals that he wasn’t going to make that game or the championship if we advanced. Rice, armed with few options had to pull some magic out of his hat to put together a line-up with the remaining 11 Sox. Facing the Sacramento Rockets, fresh off a victory over the defending champs, OC Sox ace Vic Darensbourg was handed the ball for the championship. With the score 0-0 after three innings, the Rockets erupted for four runs in the top of the fourth inning making the score 4-0. In the bottom of the fourth, lead-off hitter Mike Alcala got things rolling with a base hit, followed by consecutive hits by Cobi Cradle, Darensbourg, Paul Ambrus and Jeff Goossens, making the score 2-4. Darensbourg shut down the strong Rocket’s attack in order in the top fifth when the Sox struck for four more in the bottom of the inning. Consecutive hits by Rice, John Berryman, Larry Brown and Gabe Carmona paved the way. Pitching dominated the rest of the game with each team scoring only one more run. Overall, the OC Sox were led by Alcala (2-4, 1 run), Cradle (2-4, 2 runs, SB), Paul Ambrus (2-4, 2 RBI’s), Amin David (2-4, 2 RBI’s) and John Berryman (2-3, RBI). Chris Horrell, Goossens, Gil Garcia and Carmona were great on defense all weekend.

Chris Horrell (W, 11k’s) and Eric Orue (W, 9 K’s) were magnificent in round robin starts. Larry Brown got the well-deserved victory in the semi-finals versus an always strong Utah Pirates team.

Despite the loss, Sacramento manager Alan Van Ness tried to find a positive. “We played a lot of good teams in this tournament, it was very competitive,” he said. Van Ness also credits his teams’ effort in the tournament. “We played great defense throughout this tournament, but in the championship game a couple mistakes were the difference. We still played a great tournament and we have nothing to be ashamed of. The guys were outstanding.”