Salt Dogs
2004 Fall Season
Wood Bat League Champions


Salt Dogs bite the Giants 4-2!


Tuesday, 11/23/04 - 7pm @ El Cariso Park
by Scot Sweet

The temperatures were downright chilly at El Cariso Park in Sylmar on this Championship Night, easily dipping into the 40's. We begin with the visiting Giants coming to the plate to start the evening. The top 3 in their lineup go down in order by way of an opening strike out and pair of flyouts to the outfield. We quickly move to the bottom of the 1st where the Salt Dogs make their evening plate debut.
The Salt Dogs also feel the cold as they ground out and strike out for a quick 2 outs in this game's 1st inning. With 2 outs, the number 3 hitter is Chris "The Hammer" Powell. And before we could figure out why he is coined "The Hammer", he gave us the answer with a solo homerun to give the Salt Dogs the early 1-0 lead. The clean up spot would fly out to end the inning, but a lead had indeed been taken by the Salt Dogs on this chilly November evening.
The Giants start off the top half of the 2nd inning with their own cleanup hitter, Ed Watkins, who draws an opening walk. The next batter is Kody Kimbrel who singles to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Somewhere in the midst of the single and the base on balls, a series of wild pitches score both Watkins and Kimbrel, putting the Giants up 2-1. The next three batters would go down in order, but the damage was done; with the Giants scoring 2 runs on 1 hit and a host of wild pitches.
The game would see no other scoring until the bottom of the 5th inning. The Salt Dogs sent up Jason Temple to start off the inning. He grounds out, bringing up Dale Eby, who draws a walk. Rick Munoz steps up with 1 out and Eby on 1st. He singles to put runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out. The next batter is Vargas, who sacrifice flies to left to move the runners up 90 feet. With 2 out and 2 on, the Salt Dogs send up the bottom of their order, Tito Gallardo. Gallardo singles to drive home a big run to tie the game at 2. The top of their order would ground to 2nd, but a huge RBI by Tito Gallardo would bring this game even at 2 through 5 complete innings of play.

The Giants would fail to score in the top half of the 6th, giving the Salt Dogs a chance to come up in the bottom half of the inning to try and break the 2-2 tie. They send their number 2 hitter, Josh Olsen, up to the plate. Olsen strikes out, sending up Chris "The Hammer" Powell, who grounds back to the pitcher for the 2nd out of the inning. With 2 out, Eric "The Shark" Martin draws the walk to keep the inning alive for Frank Marquez. Marquez doubles to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and Jason Temple next to bat with a chance to put the Dogs ahead. He singles home The Shark to put the Salt Dogs up, 3-2.


The Giants miss a golden opportunity in the top of the 7th inning. They leave 2 men on base in the inning to once again give the Salt Dogs offense a chance to extend upon their slim 3-2 lead. The Salt Dogs start the bottom of the 7th inning by sending Rick Munoz to the plate. He singles, bringing up Rojas who grounds into a fielder‚s choice, forcing Munoz out at 2nd. With 1 down and Rojas on 1st, Tito Gallardo draws the walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd for the leadoff hitter, Brent White. White singles home Rojas to put the Salt Dogs up 4-2. This would be the only run of the inning, but a big one nonetheless, as the Dogs now own a 2-run lead with an inning and a half to play, now up 4-2.
It was at this point that we would see some masterful relief pitching on the part of the Salt Dog's Chris Powell. Chris Norton leads off the top of the 8th inning for the Giants, hoping for some late heroics. He draws a leadoff walk, bringing up David Buss who singles to put 2 on and nobody out. With the tying run standing on 1st base, the next batter is Fred Goetschel. Goetschel strikes out for the 1st out of the inning, making way for Jake Ford to try and move the runners up. He singles to load the bases for Jason Sheilds who singled in his last at bat. Sheilds goes down swinging for a huge 2nd out for the Salt Dogs, who hold the Giants runners on base with 2 outs in this most important 8th inning. Brian Tampa steps up next for the Giants, needing a hit now more than ever if the Giants are to have any chance for victory. A  high fast ball has Tampa swinging and missing for the final out of the inning. "The Hammer" strikes out the side despite having the bases filled to get out of the inning unscathed. 4-2 Salt Dogs through 7.
The score would remain the same going into the top of the 9th inning, where the Giants were hoping for one last offensive surge to possibly postpone the Salt Dog celebration. However, this wasn't to be as the Giants went down quietly, largely due to the masterful relief pitching of Chris Powell, who struck out 5 batters in the last 2 innings to help seal the victory for the Salt Dogs.
Congratulations to a tough Salt Dogs team, who earned the title of the 2004 Fall Wood Bat League Champions, edging the Giants in a tight and well played game by a final score of 4-2.