2019 Fall League Champions

2019 PCBL Single A Division Fall Championship
November 17, 2019 @ El Cariso Park
Hitmen (3-6) -vs- Berserkers (3-6)



The sun is out and we're ready for an exciting day of championship baseball.  Fresh off their thrilling walk-off win against the Bats (with the final inning delayed 7 days due to darkness), the Hitmen were ready for their first championship appearance.  The situation couldn't be any more different across the field for the Berserkers, who were making their 4th straight championship appearance.  The only similarity was that neither team had ever brought home a trophy - so someone was going to make franchise history!  Let's get to the action.
Taking the hill for the Berserkers was veteran Michael Maglione, who worked around a pair of singles and a hit batter to put up a zero in the first.  His counterpart, Ryan Lindquist of the Hitmen, returned the favor, working around a Johnny Lopez single in the bottom of the first, keeping the score tied heading into the second.
The Hitmen wouldn't let a scoring opporunity slip by this inning.  Mike Mandel, who scored the semi-final walk-off run less than an hour earlier, stayed hot and singled to lead off the inning.  After Michael Reynoso reached out a fielder's choice, Joseph Barraza hit a line drive to right that bounced off Steven Diaz' glove for an error.  However, Diaz recovered quickly, gunning the aggressive Barraza at second for the second out.  Back-to-back walks to Gene Jang and Cory Morales brought up leadoff hitter Miguel Martin.  With an 0-2 count, Martin laced a 2-run double to put the Hitmen on the board.  Morales scored on a wild pitch, and halfway through the second, the Hitmen led 3-0.
The Berzerkers bats came to life in the bottom of the inning.  Back-to-back-to-back singles by Dan Hagman, Art Castaneda, and Steven Diaz plated one, and Anthony Saldana brought home 2 more when he reached on an error at third.  The Hitmen defense settled down and got out of the jam, but not before the score was knotted at 3 after 2.
With one out in the 3rd, the Hitmen were at it again.  Jonathan Prince singled and stole second.  With 2 outs, Mike Mandel singled him home and swiped second himself.  Michael Reynoso reached on an error, plating Mandel, and designated runner Freddy Cardenes swiped third AND home to score another.  Joseph Barraza singled and swiped second, and Gene Jang singled him home.  All told, the Hitmen put up 4 in the 3rd to take a 7-3 lead.
Both pitchers put up a zero, and the Berserkers added some pressure in the 4th.  With 2 outs, Steven Diaz was hit by a pitch, then took second on an errant pick-off throw.  Anthony Saldana doubled him home to cut the lead to 7-4.
The 5th inning provided more fireworks for both teams.  Leading off for the Hitmen, Jonathan Prince singled, and with one out, the red-hot Mike Mandel singled (his third hit of the day), bringing home Prince.  Michael Reynoso singled, and designated runner Freddy Cardenes stole second.  On the throw, Mandel swiped home.  Joseph Baraza walked, stole second and reached third on Gene Jang's fielder's choice.  It would be deja vu all over again, and Jang stole second, and Barraza swiped home on the throw to extend the lead to 10-4 halfway through the 5th.
The Berserkers answered right away, taking advantage of some VERY shaky Hitmen defense.  With one out, George Williams reached on an error, and moved to second on another error.  Marcos Rodriguez then reached on an error, and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.  Johnny Lopez singled both home, and moved to second on an error by the centerfielder.  Mickey Anderson singled, and Lopez scored on another error in center.  Dan Hagman reached on a fielder's choice, and Art Castaneda reached on an error.  Steven Diaz walked, but not before Hagman scored on a wild pitch.  Anthony Saldana cashed in Castaneda on yet-another error - the 7th of the inning.  Lindquist figured he'd have to do it himself, so he struck out the 10th hitter to come to the plate, ending the rally and his day, with the Hitmen now clinging to a 10-9 lead.
Both teams now went to their bullpens, who were equally effective in the 7th.  Johnny Lopez took over for the Berserkers, and worked around a walk and a hit batsman, picking off a runner to put up a zero.  Michael Reynoso took over for the hitmen and worked a very quick bottom of the 6th.
Unfortunately with time running low (due to the morning make-up semi-final inning, and a second championship game coming in right after), the 7th inning would be the final inning of the game.  After 2 quick outs, Reynoso walked, and you know what that meant - designated runner extraordinaire Freddy Cardenes came on to steal another base.  Joseph Barraza fould off 4 pitches before popping up to second, but the wind made the play difficult, and it was dropped, bringing in what would be a VERY IMPORTANT insurance run.  Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the Hitmen held an 11-9 lead.
Johnny Lopez led off, and singled for his 4th hit of the day.  Mickey Anderson reached on a fielder's choice ground ball to short, and Dan Hagman singled, putting the tying run on base!  Art Castaneda reached on a fielder's choice ground ball to short, bringing the Berserkers to their final out.  Steven Diaz came through with an rbi-single, moving to second on the throw and putting the tying run at third and the winning run in scoring position for the Berserkers.  The Hitmen elected to intentionally walk Anthony Saldana, loading the bases with 2 outs.  With their first championship so close, Reynoso got the next batter to hit a ground ball to short - the third fielder's choice to shortstop in the inning - and the Hitmen dogpiled in the middle of the field to celebrate their accomplishment!
Congratulations to the Berserkers, on yet another amazing season.  If you keep playing like this and fielding solid teams, your time will come.  But this game, and this season, belonged to the Hitmen - your Fall 2019 Single A Champions!
Congratulations to the 2019 Fall Single A Division Champion Hitmen!
Hitmen           0   3   4   0   3   0   1   x   x      11   11   10  
Berserkers     0   3   0   1   5   0   1   x   x      10   11    3
Pitching Stats:
WP: Ryan Lindquist (Hitmen) - 5IP, 9R (1ER), 8H, 5K, BB, HBP (Championship Game MVP)
LP: Michael Maglione (Berserkers) - 5IP, 10R (6ER), 11H, 3K, 3BB, HBP
S: Michael Reynoso (Hitmen) - 2IP, 1R (1ER), 3H, BB
Johnny Lopez (Berserkers) - 2IP, 1R (0ER), 2K, 2BB, HBP
Batting Stats:
Jonathan Prince - 3-3, 2R, HBP, SB
Mike Mandel - 3-4, 2R, 2RBI, 2SB
Miguel Martin - 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
Freddy Cardenes, 0-0, 4SB
Johnny Lopez - 4-4, 2B, R, 2RBI
Steven Diaz - 2-2, 2R, 2RBI, BB, HBP, SB
Dan Hagman - 2-4, 2R