DCMSBL, 30 ‘A’ Division
Loudon Nationals 9, Grays 1 (Game two of best of three series sweep)
‘Nationals Make it an Amazing ‘Five in a Row’
Under the leadership of Michael Garrison, the Loudon Nationals captured their fifth consecutive DCMSBL 30+ title. Coming out the number five seed to defend the title, some might call the run improbable aside from the fact that the Nationals have been in this position three other times in the past five seasons extending their playoff record to 18-0 since 2018.
The Nationals defeated the Dukes 12-0 in round one behind a steady offensive assault and a stellar pitching performance by Steve Smith in which he struck out nine and allowed only one hit after the third inning.
The semifinal matchup against the top-seeded Dominion Bulls would be challenging. After some defensive miscues resulted in the Nationals surrendering two runs in the bottom of the first, Steve Smith once again did what he has always done; close the door. The Bulls would not score again. The Nationals mounted a rally in the middle innings using a combination of small ball and timely hitting for a three-run inning, tacking on two more insurance runs later in the game to take home a 5-2 win.
The Nationals would then meet the second-seeded Grays in the best of three final championship series.
Game one of the series was a borderline classic. Despite a solid pitching performance by starter Kris Turberville, the Nationals trailed for the entire game carrying a three-run deficit into the top of the eighth inning. Then, lighting struck. With two outs in the inning, the Nationals would plate one run on a single, keeping runners on first and third. A two-out walk would then load the bases bringing one of the league’s most dangerous hitters to plate in Kris Turberville; and Turberville did not disappoint, sending a long double to the gap in right-center to clear the bases giving the Nationals a 6-5 advantage. To finish his night, Turberville would strike out five of the next six Grays’ batters, bringing his strike-out total to 10 for the game and sealing the victory.
Game two of the series came and went without much fanfare, particularly with Steve Smith on the hill. The Nationals plated runs in three of the first four innings and never looked back. Smith, dominant once again, struck out nine in the outing and did not allow a Grays’ hit until the sixth inning. 9-1 was the final.