2018 30+ National
Cleveland Steve’s Sports 11, Boston Cardinals 7
‘Jackman and Tillman Take Charge’
By Mike Camunas, Special to MSBL
January 15, 2018, Kissimmee, FL — All Cleveland Steve’s Sports needed was 12 players. The eight-time 30+ National Champs added four more out of the player pool and that did the trick. So did the five-run seventh inning to break a 6-6 tie and defeat the Boston Cardinals11-7 on Monday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.
“It’s tough when you have limited guys because then you have to pull your best outfielder to pitch, so you want the most innings you can out of your starter,” Cleveland manager and catcher John Ramsey said. “This year, (using the player pool) came through. Anytime you play five games in four days, it’s tough. We’re not 18 anymore — I’m 40 and I’m catching every game, but the guys have to, and did, overcome a lot. It was a tough, physical week.”
Rob Jackman was named the MVP after going 2-for-4 with a sac fly, a strikeout and two stolen bases. Jackman also pitched in the team’s second game during its championship run. “Everyone plays a role, pitchers are doing multiple things, but everyone is doing their part and more to help the team win,” Jackman said. “We’re a scrappy team — it all falls behind John Ramsey. That guy finds a way to motivate everyone whether in your regular position or you’re filling in a position, he just finds a way to get you ready to play the game. Everyone follows the leader.”
Cleveland starting pitcher Jeff Tillman helped his own cause and drove in the two runs that tied the game in the fifth. Boston jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the fourth that included a two-run homer in the first by third baseman Richie Burgos. Cleveland scored its five runs in the seventh with one out, as Steve Ross drove in two RBI during the inning.
However, Ramsey knows that it Jackman that was Cleveland’s spark all week. “Rob started every big inning we had,” Ramsey added. “He sets the table as the leadoff guy and is always on base, so he’s been the engine that makes us go all week.”