So Cal Reds 3, So Cal Snappers 0
‘Russell Shuts Out Snappers, Holder Earns Save’
November 4, 2017, Sloan Park, Mesa AZ- Shut outs are rare in the Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series. But they are not unheard of, especially in the younger age groups where talented pitchers usually outlast good hitters.
At Sloan Park, the Spring Training home of the Chicago Cubs, the So Cal Reds (4-2) scored runs in the second, third and eighth innings. And right-handed starter Eddie Russell, the winning pitcher, scattered five singles before giving way to lefty Scott Holder, who pitched a perfect ninth to earn the save. The two men lead the Reds to a 3-0 victory over the So Cal Snappers (4-3) in the 25 plus National division of the 2017 MSBL World Series.
“I’m aggressive (on the mound),” Russell said. “I pound the zone and keep up a good rhythm for my defense. They (Snappers) are a good team every year, but I used my defense today to make some plays behind me.”
In another MSBL championship game anomaly, the pitcher’s duel took just over two hours to complete. Credit Russell, who pitched like he had a plane to catch. Several Snappers called time out and stepped out of the batter’s box to adjust to his quick pace. “I like to keep that kind of tempo,” Russell said. “I’m going to control the game. I’m going to control the strike zone and the tempo. It keeps my defense on their toes.”
Offensively, the Reds were led by shortstop Jerry Madueno, (2-4 with an RBI), Kevin Howard, (2-4 with a triple), and Colin Cortland, (2-4 with two RBI). Howard opened the second by hitting a line drive over the center fielder’s head and later scored on a fielder’s choice by Courtland.
That was all Russell, and his manager, Nick Gontmaher, his longtime friend and teammate, needed. “It was a great team win all the way across,” Gontmaher, who reached base three times, said. “Everybody stepped up all week. Everybody came
up in a crucial situation and delivered. Eddie is our horse, our power pitcher. He spots up. He’s as competitive as they come. He was the right guy.”
Howard agreed. “He’s the type of guy you love playing defense behind,” Howard said, “because the innings go quick and you’re always in it. And the two guys up the middle anchored the defense all week. We had a lot of double plays.”In the third Ozzie Lewis singled for the Reds. He advanced to third on a SAC bunt by Sal Dangelo and a wild pitch. Madueno drove in Lewis with a single to make it 2-0. In the eighth, Courtland knocked in Josh Goldfield, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, with a run-scoring single. Snappers’ starter Kevin Bay, who allowed six hits in seven innings, pitched well, but took the loss.
Gontmaher awarded co-MVP’s to Madueno and Goldfield. “Jerry got on base, hit and did a great job defensively,” Gontmaher said. “Josh got a ton of two-out hits that were huge.”
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —0
0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 x —3
DP: Snappers (1)
Double: N. Gontmaher (Reds)
Triple: K. Howard Reds)
SAC: S. Dangelo (Reds)
HBP: N. Gontmaher (Reds)
Key Stats: J. Madueno 2×4, RBI; K. Howard 2-4, 3B; C. Courtland 2×4, 2 RBI; N. Gontmaher 1×2, 2B (Reds)
WP: Eddie Russell
LP: Kevin Bay
Save: Scott Holder