Southern California Snappers 9, Minnesota Diamonds 3
The Southern California Snappers, in their 23rd consecutive Arizona appearance, captured their eighth MSBL World Series Championship by beating the Minnesota Diamonds, 9–3 to capture the 40+ National Division Championship. Minnesota entered the game going 4-2 in pool play with their only losses to the Snappers. The Snappers entered the game after going 5-1 in pool play with its only loss to the Montebello Angels. This is the fourth straight year the So Cal Snappers have played in the 40+ National Championship game, going 2-2 in these efforts.
Tied at one apiece after two innings, the Snappers added eight unanswered runs over the next five innings to take a 9-1 lead into the eighth inning. Minnesota added a single run in the eighth and ninth. Tournament MVP Mark Flatten was 3 for 3 on the day with four runs, two stolen bases, and an HBP. Troy McNaughton was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Brandon Kaye was 2 for 4 with four RBI. Chris Nelson started on the mound for the Snappers and went four innings, surrendering one earned run. Pete Hartmann followed and went four innings, surrendering one earned run. Jason Sena closed out the game for the win. Minnesota’s Ryan Engler was 3 for 4 with a double.
The tournament was really carried by our pitching and defense. The staff surrendered 33 runs in eight games with only a few rough innings. Defensively the Snappers were outstanding, led by Jimmy Ryan at third base, Mark Flatten at shortstop, and a combination of Ricky Guzman and Roberto Ramos at second. Key double plays presented themselves throughout the tournament by this group. The outfield was led by Troy McNaughton, who played every inning of the tournament in center field, and newcomer Eric McClain in left field. McClain also had 12 stolen bases in the tournament.
In the Semifinal, the Snappers faced the Montebello Angels and escaped with a 7-5 victory. The Snappers and Angels had met in the previous three year’s championship games. The Snappers Scott Richmond went five innings, followed by Manny Biruette for 3 2/3. With the score at 7-5 in the ninth with two outs and two runners on base for the Angels, Brandon Goswick came on to get the strikeout to send the Snappers to the Championship game.
Manager of the So Cal Snappers Frank Sansone said, “It is an honor to come to the MSBL Arizona tournament and compete every year. We are not a team that plays in different organizations or other weeks of the tournament. We come for one week and put everything we can into that week to come out on top. Furthermore, we carry a lot of guys and every one of them comes with a great attitude and really pushes for their teammates”
The 40+ National Division has become a special group. The teams play good baseball and seem to get along with each other very well, often spending time in the parking lot celebrating whoever won after the game.
Sansone added, “Thank you to the MSBL staff and in particular Steve (Sigler) and Tom (Prendergast) for allowing us to once again pretend like we are young and live the dream for another week in the sun.”