Rangers 9, Athletics 8
The Rangers defeated the Fairborn Post 526 Athletics 9-8 and 13-5 to win the 2015 MVABL Championship on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Action Sports Center.
The Rangers made their fourth straight appearance in the MVABL Finals. In a rematch of the 2014 championship series in which the Rangers were swept by the A’s, this year’s outcome was ended on a more positive note.
Coach Jonmarc Lippincott handed the ball to this season’s top pitcher Joe Becker for the game 1 start. Becker ran in to early trouble in the top of the first, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. But Becker issued a pair of infield popups and a strikeout to thwart an early rally from the A’s. The Rangers’ bats picked up where they left off in last week’s semifinals by batting around and scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. Brandon Riley, Brennen Glass, Ben Schubert and Robert Riley singled in succession. Joe Staten reached on a fielding error and Todd Peck followed with an RBI single. After Kody Barth struck out, ending his streak of reaching base in 18 straight plate appearances, Phil Dickerson drove in the final run of the inning.
The A’s scored their first run in the third inning with a two-out RBI single from Jared Whited. But the Rangers got the run back in the bottom of the frame after Staten doubled and Peck singled him home. The A’s started their comeback in the fourth with RBI singles from Alec Voris and Shawn Haffner. Kyle Combs’ sac fly cut into the Rangers’ lead at 6-4. Peck’s third RBI hit of the game came in the fifth to increase the Rangers’ lead to 7-4. The Athletics chipped away at the lead again with a two-run single from Dan Miller in the 7th inning. With a 7-6 lead, the Rangers turned the ball over to Glass to hold the lead in the 8th. A walk from Voris and a single from Matt Addis put the tying run on third with one out. Combs then smacked a ground ball to shortstop, but Voris beat the throw home to tie the game. Glass struck out the side to send the game to the ninth all tied up at 8-8. The A’s got a one-out single from Zach Swartz and a walk from OJ McDuffie. After a groundout put the Rangers within one out of sending it to the bottom of the ninth still tied, Addis worked a walk and Haffner did the same to plate the go-ahead run. Glass K’d Combs for his fifth punchout to send it to the ninth, needing a miracle to happen.
And that miracle came in the form of Steve Marshall who showed up to the game just in time for the coach to utilize his legs in the ninth inning. Glass and Schubert started the inning with singles, and Marshall came in to pinch run for Schubert. Robert Riley drilled a deep flyball to center to score Glass easily with the tying run. Meanwhile, Marshall advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting himself in scoring position to win the game. Two pitches later, another wild pitch barely got away from the catcher, but Marshall took off for third. The throw down to third skipped past the third baseman, allowing Marshall to scamper home with the game-winning run.
Rangers 13, Athletics 5
Just as was done in game two of the semifinals, coach Lippincott put the series-clincher in the hands of Todd Peck. And Peck didn’t disappoint, allowing two earned runs over five innings of work. Meanwhile, the Rangers gave Todd some early offensive support.
Ben Schubert, staying away from the questionable foul poles, belted a two-run home run to left-center in the top of the first inning for a quick 2-0 lead. The A’s answered with a Whited RBI single to cut the lead in half. But the Rangers got RBI singles from Nick Gilmore and Glass, and Brandon Riley added an RBI double for a 5-1 lead. Whited’s second RBI of the game in the third made it a 5-2 game.
The Rangers put the game away in the fifth, batting around and scoring six times. Three consecutive walks to start the inning led to a two-run double from Staten. After another walk, Barth plated two more with a double. Barth scored the final run of the inning after escaping a rundown from the third to home.
Schubert relieved Peck in the sixth and allowed three runs over the final four innings of work to earn the save. The Rangers’ final two runs of the night came on Brandon Riley’s second home run of the season, a two-run shot down the left field line in the 8th inning.
Offensive highlights: Brandon Riley 4-10, 3 runs, 3RBI, double, HR; Brennen Glass 3-8, 4 runs, RBI, SB; Ben Schubert 5-9, 3 runs, 3RBI, HR; Joe Staten 5-9, 3 runs, 2RBI, 3 doubles; Todd Peck 4-7 3RBI, SB; Phil Dickerson 3-8 RBI.
Historical Notes: This was the 3rd championship for the Rangers and a league-record seventh appearance in the Finals.