Omaha Red Sox 6, Puget Sound Reds 3
‘Bilek Throws Two Complete Games in 24 Hours to Secure Title’
By Jason Johnson, special to MSBL
October 21, 2017, Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, Ariz. – After pitching a complete game less than 24 hours before the championship, the Red Sox were hoping to get at least four innings out of starting pitcher Tony Bilek. They got much more than they bargained for, however, when Bilek threw his second complete game in as many days to lead the Omaha Red Sox over the Puget Sound Reds to capture their first ever championship.
“I can’t say enough about Bilek,” said Red Sox manager Chris Yordt. “They started to get to him the last couple of innings but it didn’t really shake him and the defense stood up for him. He has a rubber arm.”
Bilek didn’t disappoint as he threw seven consecutive shutout innings to start the game and allowed just six hits. The Reds were only able to get two runners into scoring position up to that point and the Red Sox were in control.
Matt Slattery would get the Red Sox offense going in the second inning when he doubled to center driving in Corey Grisim. In the fourth inning Erron Boone led off with a triple to left field and Brian Beuning drove him in on an error by the right fielder staking the Red Sox to a 2-0 lead.
“Guys got key hits in critical spots all day,” said Yordt. “Slattery hit the double to left and Boone hit the triple down the third base line, guys contributed all over the place, up and down the lineup.”
In the fifth inning the Reds threatened to get on the board when Mike Collier led off with a single to center field and with one out Ruby Hernandez singled to left putting runners on first and second. Bilek settled down striking out Rafael Riconsosciuto and getting Corey Coate to ground out to get out of the jam.
“We ran into a really good pitcher today,” said Reds manager Adrian Brockway. “They made all the plays and our bats went cold.”
The Red Sox would tack on four very important insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings when Tony Vangrinsven, Travis O’Gorman, Alex Ablan and Grisim all drove in runs to extend the Red Sox lead to 6-0.
Collier led off the top of the eighth inning reaching first base on an error by the shortstop which brought the Reds offense to life. Coatehit an RBI single and Lyndon Britt hit a sacrifice fly to get the Reds on the board. They loaded the bases with two outs and Bilek was able to wriggle off the hook when he got Jeff Meyer to ground out to end the inning.
The Reds continued to rally in the ninth inning when Jeremy Thornton hit an RBI single and they brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. Bilek again was able to buckle down and get a ground out to end the game and clinch the championship.
“He started to run out of gas in the eighth inning and when he came into the dugout he wouldn’t even look at me,” said Yordt. “I couldn’t even ask him or suggest if he should come out. I can’t say enough about him and he got it done.”
During pool play the Reds were 4-2. Heading into the playoffs the team was able to get all 21 players together for a team barbecue which was a turning point for them. The bond they shared brought them together which helped fuel their playoff run.
In the semis the Reds defeated the Murietta Mutiny 4-1 led by starting pitcher Jason Rivers who pitched eight innings earning the victory and a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning.
The Red Sox defeated the Houston Marauders 2-1 in the semis with Bilek pitching a complete game to earn the win.
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Puget Sound Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 13 3
Omaha Red Sox 0 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 X 6 10 1
WP: Bilek LP: Riconsciuto
2B: Slattery (ORS)
3B: Boone (ORS)
Leading Hitters: Reds – Collier 2×4; Thornton 2×4, RBI; Wilday 3×3. Red Sox – Boone 1×4, 2R; Grisim 3×4, RBI; Ablan 2×3, RBI, BB.
SF: Britt (PSR)
SAC: Yordt (ORS)
SB: Boone (ORS), Ablan (ORS)
Team LOB: Reds 10, Red Sox 12
Time of Game: 2:1