2003 Summer Season
National Division Champions

Game Summary

Just when we thought we might have seen the best this Championship day had to offer; we would soon find that intense, competitive baseball would not be limited to the Federal Division on this steamy day in Lancaster. In almost a continuation of the morning game, the Giants and Bruins seemed to pick up where the Bulls and Angels left off by providing us with an exciting see-saw battle between two teams that just refused to back off the pressure, despite playing in temperatures which easily topped the century mark.

The Giants got on the board first in the bottom of the 1st inning with an RBI single by the pitcher, Tie Curran. The score remained 1-0 Giants until the top of the 4th inning, at which time the Bruins scored their first runs of the game. The Bruins combined for 2 runs on 5 singles in the inning, four of them being consecutive. The members of the hit parade in the 4th included Kevin Nykoluk, Phil Derryman, Keith Loitz, Chris Tahan and Albert Hernandez; thus giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead through 4 innings of play. The Bruins came up with another run in the top of the 5th with combined singles from Phil Derryman and Keith Loitz, both of which were 3 for 3 on the day at that point in the game.

The Giants closed the gap in the bottom of the 5th by scoring a run of their own, thanks to a lead-off double by Javik Mahon, and a 1-out RBI single by Steve Nelson; which cut the Bruin's lead to 3-2. The Bruins went down quickly in the 6th, which the Giants saw fit not to duplicate. They came out in the bottom of the 6th inning with 3 big runs on four hits; which included singles by Pat Rizotti, Javik Mahon and Josh Goldberg; as well as a double by Tie Curran. Through 6 innings of play the Giants held the edge, 5-3.

It was the 7th inning where the flood gates began to open and runs just kept coming. The Bruins, trailing 5-3, played out the top of the 7th inning in unusual fashion, to say the least. A ground out started the inning - 1 down. A fly-out to left came next - 2 down. One would believe that they were about ready to run out of the inning and wait for some later-inning heroics, until ...Britten Pond draws a 2-out walk and the next batter, Kevin Nykoluk, the HR Derby Champion at this year's All-Star game, parks one over the center field wall for a 2-run shot, tying the game at 5. Next, back to back walks put runners on 1st and 2nd and up comes Chris Tahan with 2-outs who's currently 1 for 3 on the day. He bangs one through the infield for a 2-run single. Bruins retake the lead, 7-5. Next batter is Pete Hernandez, who before this at bat reached base by way of a walk, a fielder's choice and an error; promptly cranks an RBI double in the gap. 5 runs on 3 hits - Bruins lead it 8-5. All she wrote, right? Wrong ..... The Giants go back to work in the bottom of the 7th. Steve Nelson gets on by way of an error and is driven in by a Steve Klein double. Josh Nadler gets a single, and soon thereafter he scores on a Josh Goldberg single. Zack Fields steps up to the plate and rips a triple in the gap to score Goldberg. With 1 out, Greg Venger hits a sacrifice fly to score Zack Fields from 3rd. Four big runs and at the end of 7 complete innings the Giants retake the lead, 9-8. Storybook stuff.

But hold on sports fans, here comes the 9th...

Bruins come up down a run and leading off is Kevin Nykoluk who draws a huge leadoff walk. The next 2 batters would strike out, putting Chris Tahan in a tight spot with 2 outs and a man aboard. He blasts a 2-2 pitch for a very timely double, scoring Nykoluk to tie the game with Pete Hernandez stepping to the plate. Hernandez doubles in Tahan to put across the go-ahead run, Bruins now ahead 10-9.

Of course, no one was counting out the Giants the way this game was going. The Giants subbed Schwartz for Nadler, who got a clutch single to lead of the inning. However, the next at-bat resulted in a strike-out and a subsequent throw out on an attempted stolen base to 2nd; and a game-ending groundout gave the Bruins an exciting, almost overwhelming victory. Much to all of our satisfaction, we saw another incredible ballgame in the same day with still one game left to play. Can you dig it?

The Bruins certainly did as they piled on each other in a mad infield celebration. A game certainly not for the weak at heart! Congratulations to the Bruins on a great game and a much-deserved National Division Championship in their first year in the division!

Other interesting game facts:
Hats off to Keith Loitz of the Bruins who came on in relief to pitch 2 2/3 scoreless innings to pickup the win. Interesting to note that a number of the Bruin players in this championship lineup had crossed paths between the lines long before their involvement with the PCBL. Keith Loitz, Kevin Nykoluk, Britten Pond and Phil Derryman had all played either against or with one another during their high school years in the Simi Valley. Pond and Nykoluk were '93 grads from Simi Valley High, and Loitz and Derryman hailed from Simi's Royal High. At that time, Simi Valley High was ranked #1 in the nation; but was beaten by Royal High that year. All four ended up at Moorpark College for a time until their individual departures to 4-year schools. Britten Pond attended the University of Wyoming. Derryman and Loitz went on to Chico State, both whom played in the College World Series in different years. Kevin Nykoluk went on to Miami, where he competed in the College World Series, as well. Also interesting to note was that their PCBL Championship challengers, the Giants; also have players hailing from Moorpark College. Steve Klein, Pat Rizzoti, Steve Nelson and we understand a couple others; played for Moorpark College during that time frame as the above mentioned Bruins. Goes to show you the kind of overall baseball talent that the Simi Valley has been known to produce!