2004 Fall Season
Federal Division Champions

Sunday, 11/21/04 - 9AM @ College of the Canyons
It was a bitterly cold day in Valencia as the Fall Federal championship teams arrived for what would be an epic baseball final.  In a tight championship battle between two exceptional Federal squads, the pitching and defense were dominant in a see saw battle that went extra frames.

The Sharks repeated as Fall Season Federal Champions at College of the Canyons behind the pitching trio of Alan Jaeger, Jim Vatcher and Pierre Rodnunsky.  Jaeger also drove in two runs, Andrew Robbins one, and Pierre Rodnunsky one, as the Sharks rallied in the top of the 12th to defeat the previously unbeaten Royals by a score of 5-4.
The Royals had previously handed the Sharks their only defeat in the regular season finale.  Ironically, that game ended in the bottom of the ninth inning as the winning run came across on a wild pitch.
As in the prior season’s championship game, the Sharks drew first blood, when Pierre Rodnunsky singled.  After Jim Vatcher was hit in the head with a pitch, Jaeger, the Federal League RBI leader, doubled in two runs.
The Royals scored their first run in the bottom of the third after catcher Jeff Miller doubled in a run off Jaeger.
The Sharks responded in the top of the fourth when, leadoff singles by Jaeger and Mark Glennie were followed by a sacrifice fly by Andrew Robbins.
In the fifth, the Sharks would strike again.  Dave Jones led off with a sharp single to center, followed by a single from 10th place hitter John Pierce.  With one out, Rodnunsky would deliver with a big run scoring double to plate Jones.  At that point, the Sharks led 4-1.
The Royals, who had come up with numerous one run victories during the regular season and one in the playoffs, would continue to battle, seeking to deny the Sharks back-to-back championships.  In the seventh inning, Robert Reeves contributed a leadoff single which was followed by an error.  After two outs were recorded, a run scored on a boundary infraction by the Sharks, and another run scored on a single by Tad McKinney, making the score 4-3.
Alan Jaeger, the Sharks regular season MVP, started on the mound and pitched a gem.  Jaeger threw seven complete innings, yielding only one earned run and three runs total, leaving with a 4-3 lead.
The Sharks defense was keyed by shortstop Robert Mendoza and right fielder Rob Schmidt, who made several run saving defensive plays behind Jaeger and Vatcher.

Jim Vatcher came on to pitch the eighth inning.  In the ninth, Vatcher, after recording the first out on a groundout, surrendered a double to
Mike Andrade, allowing the tying run to reach scoring position.  An unfortunate error on a slow ground ball to second baseman Art Santiago scored Andrade, sending the ecstatic Royals into extra innings.
The teams battled scoreless until the bottom of the eleventh when Mike Andrade again had a leadoff hit, and Robert Reeves reached on a single.  With runners on second and third and nobody out, the situation looked grim for the defending champs.  But Vatcher, always impressive in pressure situations, somehow pitched his way out of the inning, walking the bases loaded and inducing an inning ending groundout.
Perhaps inspired by adrenaline (and certainly by the 5th inning injury of long time Shark Rob Miles), Dave Jones again came up with a huge leadoff single in the top of the twelfth, and after two out, Rodnunsky doubled. Jones advanced to third on the Rodnunsky double, and scored what would be the winning run on a wild pitch by Reeves.
Royals pitcher Robert Reeves turned in an astounding performance, pitching a complete game and allowing only 5 earned runs, while striking out eight.  Reeves threw an untold number of pitches while gallantly battling the Sharks potent offense.
Rodnunsky, one of the most clutch Shark playoff performers, after catching eleven innings, came in to relieve Vatcher who injured his hamstring in the previous inning while getting out of a jam. From the moment he walked to the mound, it became apparent that, on this day, Rodnunsky would not be denied.
Lifting the Sharks on his broad, but often injured shoulders, Rodnunsky, with the pressure in full effect, was dominant, striking out the first two Royals batters and completing the job with a ground ball out to short. The Sharks swarmed the mound and Rodnunsky to cap a jubilant repeat.  
Sharks originals Rodnunsky, Marc Schwartz, Santiago, Miles, and Glennie, whose first Federal championship came in the very first year of the Federal Fall league in the PCBL (no playoffs, but won the league outright), deserve special recognition for their selfless, long time dedication to the Sharks. And further recognition goes to team player Martin Vergara, who made sacrifices all year to assist the Sharks both on and off the field.

After a hard fought season and playoffs, the Sharks had again tasted championship champagne. The final score: Sharks 5, Royals 4.