2005 Spring Season
Wood Bat League Champions


Muckdogs bite the Giants and clinch the Spring Wood Bat Title!

Tuesday, 5/24/05   El Cariso     7:00pm
Muckdogs - 13   at Giants - 3

Collins pitches a Gem and provides huge hit – and Justin Time!

Another cool, clear night in the Sylmar foothills at El Cariso Park for this Spring Wood Bat Championship Game between the Muckdogs and the Valley Giants. One thing that will certainly be remembered about this contest will be the game pace. These 2 teams played each other as if they had a plane to catch – blasting through the first 8 innings in a blinding 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Of course, this pace could be attributed mostly to the combined efforts of both pitchers of record in the game, Justin Collins of the Muckdogs and Bob Diaz of the Giants. Both pitchers displayed strong performances from the get go in this contest. But the MVP honors, at least in my opinion, had to go to Justin Collins, who almost seemed to be pitching in a trance. Collins started the game by striking out the side in the 1st inning, giving him 3 of what would be his total of 10 big strikeouts in the game. Adding to those 10 strikeouts; Collins had no walks, allowed 2 earned runs and threw only 79 pitches in 8 complete innings of work. A solid performance in this or any Championship game!

So both teams go scoreless in the 1st inning, bringing the visiting Muckdogs up in the top of the 2nd inning. Scott Bailey flies out to left, bringing up Stan Spencer who singles to start the action. Chase Dominguez follows with a single of his own, sending up shortstop Corey Pearson who also singles, scoring Spencer – Muckdogs take the early 1-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, an error by the catcher brings home the second run of the inning. The Giants are able to hold the Muckdogs to 2 runs in the inning and they come up in the bottom hoping to square things up while its still early.

They send up their clean-up hitter, first baseman Fred Goetschel, who grounds back to the pitcher to start the inning. Peter Langenberger comes up with 1 out and he singles to bring up 3rd baseman Cameryn Hernandez. He singles to put 2 on and 1 out for shortstop Chris Norton. A pass ball to Norton moves the runners up 90 feet; and the next pitch is a single which scores 2 – evening things up at 2 runs apiece. Collins would strike out the next 2 batters, ending the inning for the Giants who managed to recover the 2 runs they gave up just moments before.

Both teams go scoreless in the 3rd inning of play, as do the Muckdogs in the top half of the 4th. The Giants send up their leadoff, center fielder Chew Diaz; to start the bottom of the 4th inning. He singles and then advances to second on a stolen base. Left fielder Jeremy Shields would strike out for the 1st out, but an error on the catcher sends Diaz to 3rd with 1 out and Kody Kimbrel coming up. A wild pitch to Kimbrel scores Chew Diaz, giving the Giants their first lead of the contest, now up 3-2. That would be all the scoring for the Giants in the inning, as they move into the top of the 5th inning with a narrow 1-run lead.


The top of the 5th inning marked the official 3 inning stretch in this Championship contest; mainly because we raced through the 5th, 6th and 7th innings as the pitcher’s duel continued. For the exception of 2 errors which put runners on base, it was basically 3 up and 3 down for the next 40 minutes.

However, one play in the 7th inning was well deserving of mention. Scott Bailey of the Muckdogs led off the top of the 7th with a line drive to the gap in left center which should have (and would have) been a hit in anybody’s book. But the defensive play of the game, courtesy of an incredible diving catch by Chew Diaz who laid out to make the catch for the out, robbed Mr. Bailey of his leadoff effort. No runs and no hits for 3 straight innings as we sprinted into the top of the 8th inning with the Giants still maintaining the 3-2 lead.

The Muckdogs come up in the top half of the 8th inning down a run and haven't seen one since Spencer and Dominguez touched home back in the 2nd inning. They send up shortstop Corey Pearson who flies out to center. First baseman Rick Zeitlin is next up with 1 out in the inning. He singles to right, bringing up right fielder Cesar Jimenez. A rare catcher’s interference call sends Jimenez to 1st, putting 2 on with 1 out for the leadoff hitter Victor Reyes. Reyes pops out to 2nd, bringing up center fielder Lenny Beckerman. Giant’s pitcher Diaz should have escaped the inning with a ground ball to third, but a bobble by the 3rd baseman allows the speedy Beckerman to reach base loading the bases with 2 outs for pitcher Justin Collins who gets a golden opportunity to help his own cause. And he does with a huge double to send home 2  - Muckdogs take a timely 4-3 lead. The next batter is 1st baseman Javik Mahone who answers with a 2-run double of his own, further extending the Muckdogs 2 out nightmare who now lead 6-3.

The Valley Giants would come up in the bottom of the 8th inning in a sudden state of emergency; needing some late heroics if they were ever going to get back into this championship contest. They led the inning of with 2nd baseman Peter Langenberger, who grounded out to 2nd to send up Cameryn Hernandez with 1 out in the inning. He pops up behind the plate – a foul ball that would most certainly end up uncaught or out of play all together in most cases. But if things weren't bad enough already for the Giants,  catcher Matt Stone makes a great play in foul ground to make the catch for the out – retiring Hernandez and with it the hopes of the Valley Giants who have found it harder and harder to get on base in this championship. With 2 out, shortstop Chris Norton manages to get on base thanks to a fielding error; but that effort would be negated quickly as Justin Collins strikes out Brian Tampa to record his 10th strikeout of the game! Giants go scoreless in the 8th as we head to the 9th and final at El Cariso.

The Muckdogs come up in the top of the 9th with a seemingly comfortable 6-3 lead; due mostly to the strong performance by Justin Collins who have managed to contain the Giant’s offense throughout the evening. The Muckdogs start the inning by sending up Stan Spancer, who promptly single down the left field line to begin the Muckdog assault. Chase Dominguez flys out to left for the 1st out, sending up shortstop Corey Pearson. Pearson doubles to left, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out for catcher Matt Stone. He singles, scoring Spancer – Muckdogs up 7-3. The next batter is Muckdog Manager James DuPrey, who comes up with 1 out and runners on 1st and 2nd. DuPrey runs the count to 2-2, then hits a single down the right field line to load the bases for leadoff hitter Victor Reyes with 1 out. Reyes singles to right to score a pair – Muckdogs now cruising, up 9-3. Up next is Lenny Beckerman who reaches by way of an error with a run scoring on the play – Muckdogs extend their lead to an untouchable 10-3 tally. Justin Collins mercifully flies out for the 2nd out, bringing up Javik Mahone with 2 out and 2 on in an already determined contest. Mahone parks a 2-2 pitch deep over the left center field fence for a 3-run blast; capping off the ferocious 7 run 9th inning to put the nail in this Wood Bat Championship with the Muckdogs all but celebrating their pending 13-3 victory over the Valley Giants.

Chase Dominguez would take over the pitching duty in the bottom of the 9th for Justin Collins, who’s job was certainly done and done well. Dominguez would pick up where Collins left of, striking out Perry Dinardo for the first out of the inning. Catcher Dave Noll would single for the Giants 1st hit since the 4th inning. It would be of little consequence, as Noll is forced out at 2nd on the fielder’s choice; bringing up John Stradlin with 2 out and a runner on 1st with the end of the line very near. And in grand fashion, Chase Dominguez ends the inning as he had started it – striking out Stradlin to end the game and start the celebration officially.

Congratulations to the 2005 Spring Season Wood Bat League Champion Muckdogs for an incredible offensive display in this Championship Game, as well as for a great season! What a convincing and commanding way to claim a title; with the perfect combination of offense, defense and pitching as we were able to see that night!

Game time:  7:05pm – 9:25pm  (2 hrs – 20 min)

Umpires:  (Plate)  Jason Heckathorn, (Bases) Bryan Goldstein

MVP:  Justin Collins  (Pitcher / Muckdogs)