So Cal Quakes 12, CA Capitals 8
‘Salinas Just ‘Manny Being Manny’ for MVP Honors’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL National
October 30, 2016, Sloan Park, Mesa, Ariz. – Barbecue, swimming and Madden video game tournaments all under one roof. What sounds like a fourth of July party is actually how the So Cal Quakes spend their time together in Arizona when they’re not on the playing field.
“We always rent a big house and 14 of us stay there where we talk about past years,” said Quakes manager Jon Love. “We barbecue, cook, talk and joke around. It’s just a great father/son boy’s trip.”
Love credits much of his team’s success to the their cohesiveness on and off the field and it showed on the scoreboard with the Quakes outlasting the Capitals 12-8 at Sloan Park on a cool Sunday morning.
The Quakes jumped out to an early 5-1 lead with timely hitting and by capitalizing on some defensive miscues. Aaron Henry – named after Henry Aaron – got the Quakes on the board with a two out RBI single to put them ahead 1-0.
In what was a scary moment in the top of the second inning Quakes hitter Jobe Lowen collided with the Capitals first baseman Mike Pankow at the bag trying to beat out a bunt. Pankow was on the ground for several minutes and when he returned to his feet Lowen and Pankow embraced each other with a big hug as the crowd cheered.
“That’s why it’s the best tournament of all the tournaments,” said Capitals manager Jeff Gardenhire. “There have been guys that have come down here for years and never played Father/Son and they come here and they think, ‘Wow this is a great experience,’ and they want to come back and do it again.”
With the Quakes leading 3-1 in the third inning Love lined a two-run single to left field driving in two staking starting pitcher Scott Hildebrant to an early four run lead. Hildebrandt would go on to retire the next six batters in order to set it up for the son relief pitcher Frankie Patino. Hildebrant allowed just one unearned run during his four innings.
In the sixth and seventh innings the Quakes added seven more runs extending the lead to 12-1. The Capitals were looking for anything to spark a rally and they got it when Bob Crump and Ben Guimont reached base and eventually crossed the plate to cut the deficit to eight runs.
With their backs against the wall in the ninth inning the Capitals sparked a two-out rally when Dean Messier hit an RBI single to drive in the second run of the inning. After Drake Crump walked, his dad, Bob Crump, hit a bases-clearing double to left field. That was followed up by another Crump double, this one from son Dalton and suddenly the Capitals had the tying run in the hole. The Quakes then brought in Tim West to pitch to Mike Pankow and got him to ground out to end the threat and capture the championship.
“I was really proud of my team with how they came back and didn’t give in,” said Gardenhire. “They made it respectable and I was sitting here thinking that maybe a miracle is going to happen. It almost did!”
While the Quakes are proud of their team unity they did have one player that really stood out for them throughout the tournament and they named him their team MVP – Manny Salinas.
“We call it Manny being Manny,” said Love. “He’s a pure hitter and had a great tournament. He did some damage and hits shots all day.”
The Capitals and Quakes both played to a 3-1 record in pool play with the Capitals getting the tie breaker due to having the fewest runs allowed earning their pitching staff co-MVP honors.
In the semifinal matchup against the Pro Bats Yankees the Capitals fell behind 4-2 and were on the brink of elimination. The Capitals were stranding runners and couldn’t get the big hit until the bottom of the eighth inning when Jeff Gardenhire hit a rare three-run single. They would go on to shut it down in the ninth to advance to the championship game.
The Quakes didn’t have as much drama in their semifinal as they defeated the Maine Diamond Dogs 18-5 to advance.
WP: Patino LP: Lewis, T.
2B: Salinas, M. (SQ), Henry, A. (SQ), Annunziato, F. (SQ), Lowen, J. (SQ), Henry, K. (SQ), Crump, B. (CC), Crump, D. (CC)
Leading Hitters: SoCal Quakes – Salinas, M. 3×4; Love, J. 2×3, 3 RBI; Annunziato 2×2, 2 R; West 2×2; Hildebrandt, M. 2×4; CA Capitals – Crump, B. 3×3, 2 R, 2 RBI
SB: Henry, A. (SQ), Salinas, D. (SQ), Cole (CC)
Team LOB: Quakes 10, Capitals 7
Time of Game: 2:45