Inland Northwest MABL, 18+ Division
Spokane Phillies 11, Rockies 3
‘Larabee Shows Ironman Status on the Bump’
Submitted by James Edwards, Phillies manager
For most of us in the Inland Northwest Men’s Baseball League, and probably most of the MSBL around the country, Sunday is a day to forget about our jobs and whatever else is going on in life and just play ball. Once we step onto the field and between the lines it’s a time to build camaraderie with our teammates and compete against teams and players many of us have known for years.
In the 10+ years I have been with this league, the 2018 campaign was certainly the most competitive from top to bottom. With that being said, this year’s championship game matched the #1 seeded Phillies against the #2 seeded Rockies, a rematch of a game earlier in the tournament in which the winner would punch their ticket into the championship. The Phillies earned their way into the championship that day with a 1-0 walk-off in the tenth inning. Jeff Larabee threw 10 shutout innings.
The Rockies dropped down to the loser bracket and were forced to play against the Astros, a team who had taken second last year, in a loser-out game to get a rematch against the Phillies. The Astros played strong and held a lead most of the game. It appeared the 2018 would feature a rematch of the 2017 championship, but then, in the bottom of the seventh the Rockies strung together a few hits, walks and some untimely Astros errors and walked it off. The Astros were stunned, but will remain a tough team next year.
The championship game was played at Avista Stadium, home of the Spokane Indians, short season ‘A’ affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Larabee would again pitch for the Phillies and go up against Chris Boyd.
The Rockies put the pressure on early as they led off the first inning with back to back singles and Rhett Long scored on a fielder’s choice as Telvin put the ball in play. In the bottom of the first James Edwards had a one out hit-by-pitch followed by a David Hauschild single. His brother Tyler followed by a walk and Just Marlow tied the game with a run scoring walk. A Kyle Wagner sac fly gave the Phillies the lead before the inning came to an end.
Jim Rupp singled in the third before back to back singles by Eric Bell and Russ Frickey. Frickey’s tied up the game. The top of the Phillies lineup started off the bottom of the third with three straight singles by Dempsey, Edwards and D. Hauschild. Marlow and Wagner followed with RBI hits to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead.
Boyd helped his own cause in the fourth with a leadoff single and later came in to score on a Kuebler double. Some great pitching and solid defense kept the game at 5-3 Phillies through the next few innings until the Phillies were able to get seven straight runners on base in the bottom of the seventh leading to six runs. The seventh ended with an 11-3 Phillies lead which would be the game’s final score. Following that third run for the Rockies in the fourth, Larabee went three up, three down in innings 5-9 finishing the game with seven strikeouts. The Rockies pitchers had nine strikeouts of their own.
Larabee ended the season a perfect 11-0 including three playoff wins. The championship wasn’t his best outing, however, as he faced the Rockies in three straight weekends, so as Manager I was very impressed with his ability to step up in the championship against a team that had seen everything he could throw at them.
2018’s championship marks five straight for the Spokane Phillies, a record for the INMBL 18+ division. Most impressive to me is the way that this team has done it. We rotate in and out at nearly every position. We bat nearly everyone who shows up that week, often having 15 or 16 in the lineup, and trust me, this is no advantage. But what we do is keep everyone loose, involved and ready to contribute. As a member of each of those five teams I’d like to thank Ron Mackie for his dedication to our team, and more importantly each of the 18+, 35+ and newly created 48+ leagues.