2019 25+ National

San Jose Giants 9, Albuquerque Indians 1

‘Iron Man Struble Shuts Down Indians’

By Rodney Johnson, special to MSBL

October 20, 2019, Tempe Diablo Stadium San Jose scored three runs in the second inning and then coasted to a 9-1 win in the 25+ National Championship game against Albuquerque. The Giants found different ways to score as they piled up nine runs; two runners crossed the plate on balks; one on a wild pitch; another on a sacrifice fly; one on an error; and four the old-fashioned way, by base hit. Catcher Sloan Soulia was one of three Giants to get two base hits. “He (Soulia) got about 13 hits in the tournament and was solid behind the plate,” said manager Chris Denevi. “He’s our MVP.”

Other Giants with two hits were Sean Smith and Brian Richer. In all, nine Giants scratched the hit column as they stacked up a dozen safeties. “We have a really tight squad top to bottom,” said Denevi. “These guys really know the game…they are basically professional baseball players. Almost everybody here has pro experience.”

Starting pitcher Jeremiah Struble shut out the Indians for six innings before giving up a single run in the seventh. Struble, who had pitched six innings two days earlier, gave up six hits and struck out nine to get the win. Zac Baldini pitched the final two innings to close out the game.

Albuquerque used four pitchers to try and stop the Giants but only Alfredo Reyes, their final hurler, was able to hold San Jose scoreless. “The have a really good team,” said Denevi. “They just ran out of pitchers.”

San Jose came into the playoffs as the second seed. In pool play they went 4-1 with their only loss coming in their opener to the Santa Rosa Rosebuds. “We were up 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and they scored two runs to beat us 3-2” explained Denevi. Three teams ended up tied for the top spot in pool play with 4-1 records. After a first-round bye, the Giants played the So Cal Titans who were the third seed due to tiebreaker rules. The Titans had beaten the Venice Glaze (1-4) in their opener. The Giants used a walk-off homer by Thomas Meals in the bottom of the ninth to beat So Cal 5-4 and advance. Meanwhile Albuquerque, 2-3 in pool play, knocked off the top seeded Rosebuds by the same score in their semifinal contest. “We had to battle to get here (the finals),” said Indians manager Sergio Molinar.

“We were hitting, and pitching and did it the Giants way,” said Denevi. “We’ll be back next year and I don’t want to change a thing. “I’ll go to battle with these guys anytime. This is a band of brothers and every single guy in there will take his shirt off for you. That’s what makes it work and is why we win.”

Team                         1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9          R    H   E

Albuquerque          0    0    0    0    0    0    1    0    0          1   7   2         

San Jose                    0    3    2    0    1    0    3    0    x          9  12  0

Pitching Line: (Alb): Clenaghan; Varela (3); Mundo (5); Reyes (7). (SJ): Struble; Baldini (8).

WP: Struble (San Jose)

LP: Clenaghan (Albuquerque)

HR: none

3B: Thrappas (SJ)

2B: Smith (SJ)

Leading Hitters: (Albuquerque): Nicklous Gomez 2×3; Jamie Bustamonte 1×2; Hector Cano 1×2; Jesus Carrillo 1×2. (San Jose): Sean Smith 2×3; Sloan Soulia 2×3; Brian Richer 2×3, RBI.

SAC: none

SF: Walker (SJ)

SB: Soulia (SJ); Hoefs (SJ).

DP: San Jose 1.

Team LOB: Albuquerque 5, San Jose 10

Time of Game: 2:37