East Metro Baseball League (GA) 18+
River Rats 10, Indians 7
‘MVP Kles Leads the Rats to Seventh Straight Title’
Submitted by Brad Moody, River Rats manager
The River Rats won our seventh consecutive 18+ league championship in the East Metro Baseball League in Georgia. This year was a little more trying than our previous championships. Our pitching was spotty at times and our bats were not always on the same page. Essentially, we’re getting old.
Our MVP was Zach Kles. He performed well all season in all aspects of the game. He led the team in home runs. Each of his dingers seemed to come at a crucial point in the game. For instance, he hit the go ahead home run in game two of the semi-finals to keep us alive in the eighth inning and the tying homer in the ninth inning of game two of the championship series. He also played stellar defense at short and third all season.
Jeff Hewatt was our best pitcher. He only played in six games in the regular season (he is a fireman and the games often fell on days he was on duty) but pitched almost every one. He pitched game three of championship and left with a 10-0 lead in the sixth. He throws hard and throws three pitches for strikes.
We were down in both series in the playoffs, having received a bye in the first round. We were pushed to elimination in both, trailing in the eighth or ninth both times. We really thrive under pressure.
Our team features plus hitters throughout the lineup. In addition to Kles, catcher Brad Moody hit .444 and was second on the team in RBI. Third baseman Casey Rider led the team in RBI and hit .460. Twin brother and second baseman Carl Rider hit .435. First baseman Chris Hays contributed tons of power finishing second in home runs. Right fielder Matt Whitenton hit lead-off and led the team in runs. Kyle Melvin led the team in wins and strikeouts. Chris Whitenton finished second in wins and batted over .300. Left fielder Darryl Tillman batted .310. Center fielder Danny Hartman was our best defender and contributed the second most runs scored. JT Parrott is our reliable utility man that filled in whenever and wherever he was needed. He contributed several keys hits down the stretch. Outfielder Taylor McDaniel really added a spark to the bottom of the lineup and came up huge in the semifinals hitting .800 for the series with three doubles.
It was a tough loss for the Indians who played so well during the regular season. Indians manager Shane Bailey added, “I want to congratulate the Rats on a great series. They earned it.”