Milleteers Sweep Rebels
Posted July 23, 2009
After a tight pitcher’s duel the night before the Milleteers and Rebels combined for 23 hits and 15 runs in the second game of the PBL semi final match up. Normally a high scoring game wouldn’t favour the Milleteers usual popgun offense, but tonight was a different story.
After the Rebels jumped on veteran Scott Peterson early with three runs in the first, it looked like it would be a long night for the Milleteers, but after getting one in the second and with a good start in the bottom of the third the Milleteers chased crafty lefty starter Darcy Grandberg from the hill.
Ryley then turned to hard throwing righty Curt Stensrud to stop the bleeding, but after his herculean effort last week in pitching eleven innings to clinch a playoff spot for the Rebels, he just didn’t have his normal velocity, and the Milleteers batted around for an eight run third. This was all they would need as they tacked on a couple of insurance runs to put the game out of reach.
After a shaky first Peterson settled in and kept getting his outs, going a strong six innings, before rookie Ryan Walker came in to seal the deal in the seventh. The defense was a little shaky at times, but two double plays and a nice diving catch from center fielder Dan Stephen killed a few rallies when Ryley started to threaten. Ryley’s defense also had an up and down night, but a couple of great over the shoulder catches from shortstop Dylan Solberg kept a few more runs off the board.
After a tight, low scoring regular season series between the two teams, pundits expected much of the same in the playoffs, but the two playoff games seemed to magnify two distinct advantages that the Milleteers held. Ryley held a power edge versus a more small ball orientated offense of the Milleteers, but as the regular season series showed they pretty much offset each other.
Top end starting pitching was also relatively equal as both squads had a couple of top notch starters. The first real difference was bullpen depth as the Milleteers boast the deepest pitching staff in the league, plus a good closer in Kevin Doyle.
The second big advantage was in the catching department as the Milleteers went 13 for 13 on the base paths in the two games versus just two stolen bases for Ryley. When you add in all the past balls Ryley gave up versus none for the Milleteers, singles become doubles and triples, and pitchers definitely feel the pressure when a catcher can’t stop the running game or hold on to a ball.
The Milleteers will now play the waiting game as to see who their next opponent will be as the defending champion Bardo A’s hold a one game advantage over the regular season champion Camrose Roadrunners, which is a rematch of last year’s first-round semi-final series.
Posted on July 23, 2009 by Steve Pahl