2020 HC Phillies Go ‘Back to Back’ for 25+ Title at Indiana Baseball League

Indiana Baseball League, 25+ Division

HC Phillies 7, Indy Pirates 6 (Game one)

Submitted by Matt Longfellow, Phillies manager

Game one in best of three seriesDavid Early (Pirates) faces off against 2020 IBL Cy Young Award Winner Ben Stenger (Phillies) in the opening game of the first ever 2020 IBL MSBL Championship Series. Pirates strike first getting an RBI groundout in the bottom of the 1st to take an early 1-0 lead. Still 1-0 in the top of the 3rd when Ben Stenger helps himself by reaching base with 2 outs. Stenger advances to 2B on a wild pitch to put the tying run in scoring position. Matthew Alspaugh comes through driving a base hit to RF as Stenger uses his speed to come around and score from 2B to tie the game up at 1.

Reigning back-to-back 2018 & 19 IBL MVP Scott Kessler with a base hit advancing Alspaugh to third but a throwing error allows Alspaugh to come in and score as the Phillies take their first lead of the game. Two-time Cy Young and one-time MVP, Matt Pulley stays hot hitting a line drive to RF as Kessler comes in to score. 3 big R’s in the 3rd for the Phillies.

Disaster strikes in the 4th for the Phillies committing four errors in the inning and allowing the Pirates to plate 5 R’s in the inning alone. Pirates now lead 6-3 after 4. Ben “The Professor” Kennedy comes on in relief and retires 6 batters in a row to keep the deficit at 6-3 going into the final inning.

Pirates manager Don Pollard gathers his team in the dugout knowing his team is 3 outs away from taking a crucial 1-0 lead in the series. Pollard reminds his team that the Phillies were down 2 last year and came back to walk the game off to take last season’s championship. Pirates take the field determines to not let history repeat itself. Early stays on going for the complete game and has cruised since the 3rd.

Andrew Comp on to pinch hit works the count, fights off two pitches, and takes ball 4 for a leadoff walk. Jeremy Martin lunch hits next and fights for 6 pitches before going down swinging. It appeared the Phillies might have a 4th inning in a row of getting the leadoff hitter on then going down in order. Matthew Alspaugh takes 4 straight balls to draw the walk. Scott Kessler stands in with two on. Kessler drills a line drive to CF and Andrew Comp holds at 3rd as the bases are loaded with one out. Matt Pulley stands in with a chance to give the Phillies the lead with one swing of the bat. Pulley hits a ground ball hard down the first base line that gets through bringing in Andrew Comp and Matthew Alspaugh comes in to score as well. Two huge runs come across to make it a 1 run game. Adam Wheeler stands in with the tying run on 3B and the go ahead run on 1B. Wheeler drills the ball to deep CF, Pirates CF Jay Gober goes back and looks to have a track but the ball is hit too hard and one hops the wall. Scott Kessler comes in to score as Adam Wheeler ties the game up with a huge RBI 2B.

Pirates fans and players are stunned unable to believe that this is actually happening again. Chris Cole stands in with a chance to put the Phillies ahead. A passed ball on the first pitch rolls to the back stop but Jeremy Martin sees it late and attempts to come home. Martin is called out at the plate for a big 2nd out that keeps the game tied. Wheeler advances to 3B and now represents the go ahead run. Cole hits a ground ball to the right side and it gets through. Wheeler comes across to score as the Phillies take the lead 7-6. Another amazing comeback by the HC Phillies.

Still work to do with 3 outs needed to secure the W. Ben Kennedy is on to save the game and to attempt to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the series. Kennedy works a 2-1 count before allowing a line drive to CF. Clayton Jones charges, dives, and makes an amazing catch for the first out. Kennedy misses on a 3-1 pitch to the next batter to put the tying run on. Kennedy fights back, getting a ground ball to SS Matthew Alspaugh who flips to 2B to get the lead runner but the relay is not in time. Phillies one out away. Kennedy with a 1-0 count gets a ground ball to 2B Scott Kessler who fields it, flips to Alspaugh at 2B and that will do it. Phillies complete the amazing comeback to win 7-6 and to take a commanding 1-0 lead in the championship series. An instant classic!

Game One Leaders

MATT PULLEY: 3-4 w/ 3-H, 3-RBI, & 2B.

ADAM WHEELER: 2-4 w/ R, 2-H, RBI (game tying in the 7th), & 2-2B.

BEN KENNEDY: 3.0 Shutout Innings of Relief, Win!

MATTHEW ALSPAUGH: 2-3 w/ 2-R, 2-H, RBI, & BB.

CHRIS COLE: 1-2 w/ H, RBI (go ahead in 7th), & 2-BB.

SCOTT KESSLER: 2-4 w/ 2-R & 2-H.

DEVIN SHAFFER & CHANDLER FARROW each add a Hit. ANDREW COMP draws the leadoff BB to start the comeback rally in the 7th.

Game two – Phillies lead series 1-0

HC Phillies 8, Indy Pirates 2 (Game two)

Scott Kessler makes the biggest start of his career for the Phillies with a championship on the line. Pirates put the most feared pitcher in the IBL this season, Jay Broughton on the mound in game 2 determined to even the series and force a winner take all game 3 next weekend.

Kessler with a 4-pitch perfect 1st. Matthew Alspaugh leads off the game with an infield 1B for the Phillies and advances to 2B and then 3B on wild pitches. Matt Pulley comesthrough again with an RBI groundout as the Phillies strike first. Kessler strands 2 in the first and Broughton matches after Devin Shaffer’s 2-out triple. In the 4th, the Pirates have 2 outs but the bases loaded. Kessler does his job getting a ground ball but a big throwing error allows not one but two R’s to score as the Pirates take a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the 4th, Matt Pulley rips a line drive single and advances to 2B on a wild pitch. Adam Wheeler comes through with a line drive to CF scoring Pulley from 2B as the Phillies tie the game up. Wheeler comes in to score on a wild pitch to put the Phillies up 3-2. Clayton Jones comes through next ripping a line drive to CF scoring Chris Cole. Chandler Farrow joins in hitting a base hit to the right side as Jones uses his speed to come in to score. Still not done, Ben Stenger drives a fly ball to RF allowing Farrow to tag and score as the Phillies plate 5 R’s in the 4th to take a commanding 6-2 lead.

Kessler settles in for a perfect 6 pitch 5th inning. Matt Pulley stands in with nobody on in the 5th and crushes the ball over the RF wall for a big solo HR adding to the Phillies lead. Kessler continues to pitch the game of his life with a scoreless 6th. Devin Shaffer’s turn as he crushes a line drive over the LF wall for a solo HR as the Phillies go up 8-2. Phillies 3 outs away from back-to-back titles.

In the 7th, Clayton Jones takes away a hit with an amazing diving catch in CF. Devin Shaffer does the same back handing a hard-hit ball down the 3B line and fires across the Diamond for a big out. One out away, Kesslers first pitch is a fly ball to LF, Jeremy Martin camps under it and makes the catch! Phillies win it all again with an amazing sweep of the talented Indy Pirates! Back-to-back champs!

Game two Leaders

SCOTT KESSLER: Complete Game performance in the mound!

DEVIN SHAFFER: 2-2 w/ R, 2-H, RBI, 3B, Home Run, & Sac-Fly!

MATT PULLEY: 2-3 w/ 2-R, 2-H, 2-RBI, & Home Run!

ADAM WHEELER: 1-3 w/ R, H, & RBI.

CLAYTON JONES: 1-3 w/ R, H, & RBI.