2017 Father/Son Central
Minnesota Crosstown Traffic 16, Whittlesey Reds 15
‘Unbelievable Heroics in Bottom of Ninth Steals Title’
By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL
October 29, 2017, Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe, AZ–The proverbial fat lady warmed up for nearly four hours for the finale of the Father Son Central tournament at Tempe Diablo Stadium. When she finally got a chance to sing, her tune was different from the one she had expected to deliver. The Whittlesey Reds scored in the first inning and didn’t trail until there were two out in the bottom of the ninth. That’s when the Minnesota Crosstown Traffic finally forged ahead to snatch the title by a 16-15 score and complete an unlikely comeback.
After scoring five runs in the top of the ninth, the win looked secure for the Reds as they built a six run cushion. Minnesota flipped the script by scoring seven times in the bottom of the frame. It didn’t come easy. Minnesota was down to its last strike before three straight singles brought them back from the dead. The inning started with five consecutive hits by Tim Flemming, Brett Gwaltney, Trevor Jaunich, Paul Jaunich and Matt Miller. That plated three runs and drew Crosstown Traffic within three. After the next two batters went down, A.J. Jacobson lineda two-run single to right field to draw Minnesota within one. Scott Gwaltney followed with a single and Jacobson stopped at second. Dom Flemming battled at the plate but struggled to a 0-2 count. Down to his last swing, Flemming lined a soft single to center scoring Jacobson with the tying run. Tim Flemming scratched out an infield single setting the table for Brett Gwaltney who delivered the game winner, an RBI single to center.
Flemming’s ninth inning heroics as well as his pitching performance, earned him MVP honors. “There are a couple of other guys who played really well for us,” explained Minnesota manager Dave Johnson. “But for his clutch performance today, we awarded it to Dominic.”
For Minnesota, this title was a long time coming. “Who scores seven runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs when you’re down six,” marveled Johnson. “This was our first championship since 2001. We’ve been in the finals several times since then but always came up short. So this one is really sweet.”
Minnesota came through pool play with a perfect 4-0 record while Whittlesey went 3-1. In the playoffs, Minnesota beat TABU 4-1 and the Salt Lake Dodgers 21-3. The Reds topped the Arkansas Diamonds 6-3 and Maine Diamond Dogs 6-4.
Following the game that lasted three hours and forty-three minutes, produced 31 runs and 46 hits, Whittlesey manager Dan Kraschnewski was exhausted…and thirsty. “Last year we came from behind to win, and this year they did it to us. But we had a good time and we’re still going out to have some beer. After all, we are from Wisconsin.”
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Whittlesey Reds 1 0 2 2 3 1 1 0 5 15 22 1
Crosstown Traffic 1 0 0 1 1 4 0 2 7 16 24 1
Pitching Line: (Whittlesey Reds) Mike Loertscher; Jeff Kraschnewski (5); Cody Loertscher (6). (Minnesota Crosstown Traffic) Drew Johnson; Tim Flemming (4); Dom Flemming (5); Adam Jacobson (9).
WP: A. Jacobson LP: C. Loertscher.
3B: Trevor Jaunich (MIN)
2B: Jeff Kraschnewski (WHI); Nick Myers (WHI)
Leading Hitters: Whittlesey: N. Myers 3×5, 2 R, 3 RBI; J. Kraschnewski 3×5, 3 R, 3 RBI; M. Loertscher 2×5, 2 RBI; C. Loertscher 2×4, R, RBI; M. Hoffman 4×5, R, 4 RBI. Minnesota: B. Gwaltney 4×6, 2 R, RBI; T. Jaunich 3×4, 4 R; P. Jaunich 4×5, 3 R, 4 RBI; M. Miller 2×3, 2 R, 3 RBI; S. Gwaltney 2×3, R; T. Flemming 4×5, 2 R.
SAC: D. Werner (WHI); L. Kraschnewski (WHI).
SF: S. Hoffman (WHI); M. Loestcher (WHI); M. Miller (MIN).
SB: L. Kraschnewski (WHI),
Team LOB: Whittlesey 13; Minnesota 9.
Time of Game: 3:43