Tri Valley SJ Giants 20, Houston Skeeters 5
By Russ Christ, special to MSBL
October 26, 2017, Fitch Park, Mesa, AZ-The Tri Valley SJ Giants, managed by Sacramento, Calif., resident and catcher Rob Segura, beat the Houston Skeeters 20-5 to claim third place in the 55 Plus Cactus Division of the 30th annual MSBL World Series.
The Giants pounded out 29 hits. Segura, fighting an illness, was clearly pleased with his team’s finish. “I’m happy for my guys,” he said. “We had a tough round robin (starting 0-5).” The Giants manager chose to bat all 18 players in his last game, a strategy that worked beautifully. “We kind of caught fire and I thought we’d win or lose as a team,” Segura said. “We came together. It was fun for me to see.”
In the consolation game, the Giants used three pitchers, and all were effective against the Skeeters (4-4), who were managed by Ronny Stegall. Bo Lovett, Tri Valley’s MVP, pitched the first two innings, allowing three runs. Mark Kriendler gave up only two runs in six innings of relief. And Stan Holloway pitched a scoreless ninth. “I threw a curve ball and sinker,” Lovett, from near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said, “and both worked well this week. We held them down pretty good. And our offense played pretty good ball. It was tough fighting the sun today.”
Segura was impressed with Lovett. “He’s like 69,” Segura said, “and he pitched really good against these 55-year-old kids.” But a relentless barrage of hits was the real story of the Giants finale game.
Trailing 3-1 after the first inning, Tri Valley (3-5) exploded for seven runs on eight hits in the fourth to break the game wide open. All 15 batters had at least one hit and the Giants’ first nine batters had at least two hits. Tony Jackson was 3-5 and scored four times. Dale Skinner was 4-4 with five RBI. Batting 15th, Segura was 2-4 with three RBI. “It seemed like everybody was hitting today,” Segura said.
Everything the Giants hit either found a hole or went over a defenders head. “I’ve been pretty steady all week,” Skinner said, “but that’s the first time I went 4-4. I had some solid hits with runners on. It was a beautiful ending to a rough start.”
Jackson, who batted second, said the Giants poor start early in the week was negated by an impressive last game. “It was a nice day for us,” Jackson, playing in his 10th MSBL World Series, said. “I’m blessed to be out here playing ball with my brothers. It’s a great game to be playing at our age.”
Ben Medrano suffered the loss for the Skeeters, lasting into the third inning and allowing eight runs on nine hits. Kriendler picked up the win, while Mark Weathers doubled twice and had two RBI for the Giants.
1 0 2 7 3 1 5 0 1 —20
3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 x —5
Double: S. Babcock, D. Skinner, M. Weathers (2), R. Segura (Giants); H. Christian, D. Drawhorn, G. Molina (Skeeters)
DP:Giants (1), Skeeters (1)
SAC: B. Balch (Giants)
HBP: G. Molina (Skeeters), J. Tijan (Giants)
Key Stats: S. Babcock 2×4, 2R; T. Jackson 3×5, 4R; M. Weathers 2×3, 2 RBI; D. Skinner 4×4, 5 RBI; B. Fraser 2×4; M. Stas 2×4, 2R; B. Balch 2×3; S. Holloway 2×3; T. McClain 2×4; J. Tijan 2×3; R. Segura 2×4, 3 RBI (Giants); D. Drawhorn 2×3; M. Keller 2×3; C. Griffin 2×3, RBI (Skeeters)
WP: Mark Kriendler
LP: Ben Mendrano