2016 PCBL A-Division Fall Championship
For the second straight fall season, the Royals and Lookouts met in the big game. The Lookouts won their only regular season meeting this year, but the memory of watching the Royals celebrate the 2015 championship on this very field was still fresh in their minds. The weather report at Conejo Creek seemed grim, but the rain held off long enough to get the game in.
Michael Schofield took the mound for the Royals, striking out a pair in the first. The Royals' offense struck quickly in the bottom half of the inning. With Matt Stock on the mound for the Lookouts, Zach Sloane and Danny Platt led off with back-to-back singles, and Trevor Nathanson followed with a double off the wall in left center, plating Sloane. Chris Dyer grounded out to bring home another, and Dylan Pereira doubled home Nathanson. Stephan Ohayon reached on an error, and Ryan Schappery singled home Pereira. With 2 outs, Ryan Elliott singled home a pair, giving the Royals a 6-0 lead after 1.
In the top of the 2nd, the Royals logged 2 quick outs before their defense temporarily fell apart. Evan Haskell singled, and James White walked. Isaac Axelrod grounded up the middle, reaching on an error to load the bases. The Lookouts quickly took advantage of the miscue, scoring twice on a passed ball and an errant throw, and after a Justin Carl walk, Sean Jackson singled home Axelrod to cut the Royals lead to 6-3.
The Royals answered back in the bottom of the 2nd. Zach Sloane led off with a walk. Danny Platt followed with a single, and Trevor Nathanson walked to load the bases. After 2 outs, the Lookouts were on the verge of escaping the jam when Stephan Ohayon singled home a pair to increase the Royals lead to 8-3.
With one out in the top of the 3rd, the Lookouts' David Langstaff singled, and Matt Wapnick walked. With 2 outs, James White hit a ground ball between the legs of the Royals' shortstop, but left fielder Dylan Pereira threw a strike to catcher Zach Sloane to cut down the runner at home and keep the score 8-3.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Royals' Rick Valdez led off with a walk, but was erased after Ryan Elliott grounded into a fielder's choice. Mike Miller singled, and both Elliott and Miller swiped bags to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. But the Lookouts' Matt Stock settled down and struck out the next 2 hitters to get out of the jam.
Both teams went quiet until the bottom of the 5th. The Lookouts brought in Evan Haskell to pitch, and with 1 out, Rick Valdez singled. After stealing 2nd, Valdez was balked to 3rd. With 2 outs, Mike Miller hit a slow roller to short, but a bad throw allowed Valdez to score. Miller strained his hamstring on the play, but the Royals' extended their lead to 9-3.
Ryan Schappery came in to relieve for the Royals and struck out the side in the top of the 6th on 9 pitches. In the bottom of the inning, Royals' pinch hitter Justin "Juice" Born and lead-off man Zach Sloane started things off with back-to-back walks. With 1 out, Trevor Nathanson singled to load the bases, and Chris Dyer grounded into a fielder's choice, with Born being forced out at the plate. Now with 2 outs, Dylan Pereira skied a ball to deep center, but the center fielder dropped it, and all 3 runners scored, giving the Royals a 12-3 lead.
Schappery worked a quiet top of the 7th, and the Royals offense stayed hot in the bottom of the inning. Schappery and Rick Valdez each walked, and Ryan Elliott singled to load the bases. Michael Schofield got hit by a pitch to plate one and chase Haskell from the game. James White came in and struck out the side, but not before Zach Sloane hit a sac fly that was dropped to bring home another run and give the Royals a 14-3 lead.
The Royals brought in closer Chris Dyer, who immediately found himself in a little trouble. Greg Wapnick walked and Mike Wapnick singled to put 2 on with no outs. But David Langstaff lined a ball to third baseman Ryan Elliott, who quickly turned it into a double play by throwing to 2nd. Dyer struck out the next hitter to finish the frame.
In the bottom of the 8th, Dyer led off with a double. With one out, Stephan Ohayon walked, and Ryan Schappery was intentionally walked to load the bases. But James White induced a ground ball for the 2nd out, and David Rocha made an amazing diving catch in right to keep the score 14-3 heading into the 9th inning.
The bottom of the 9th was all Dyer, as he worked around a hit batsman to close things out and give the Royals their 2nd championship in as many years. The Lookouts put up another strong season, and deserve praise for that. But this game (and season) belonged to the Royals - your 2016 Fall AA Champions!
Lookouts 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 4
Danny Platt - 2-5, 2R
Trevor Nathanson - 2-4, 2B, 2R, RBI, BB
Ryan Elliott - 2-5, 2RBI, SB
Ryan Schappery - 2IP, 0R, 2H, 4K (co-MVP)
Chris Dyer - 2IP, 0R, H, 2K, BB, HBP (co-MVP)
Justin Carl - 2-3, BB
Sean Jackson - 2-3, RBI
Evan Haskell - 2IP, 2ER (6R), 3H, 4BB, HBP
James White - 2IP, 0R, H, 3K, BB