2007 Fall Season
Triple A Division Champions

2007 PCBL Triple A Division Champions

Barracudas (1) (10-0) -vs- Sharks (5) (4-6)
November 18, 2007 @ Stengel Field, Glendale College




'Cudas Sink the Sharks in aptly-named "Foggy Fish Bowl"

By Scot Sweet / PCBL Staff Writer

The twilight game of our championship doubleheader brought with it some of the coldest and foggiest game-time conditions we've seen in recent memory. How foggy could it possibly be, you ask? Well, let's put it this way .... for about 15-20 minutes time late in this championship contest, outfielders were nowhere to be seen! A thick layer of fog settled over the field and had all of us in attendance wondering what would come of a ball hit deep to the outfield at that very moment. Would it be swallowed into the abyss, never to be seen again? Would an outfielder actually see a ball coming towards them? Are there actually outfielders out there or have they all disappeared into the cornfield? Very eerie conditions on this championship evening to say the least.

Nonetheless, everyone knew that this was going to be a championship game in the truest sense; based on the history of the teams involved. The 5th seeded two-time defending AAA Champion Sharks (4-6) squeeked into this championship with a limited squad throughout the season. Despite limping into this year's championship, the Sharks know how to win big games and they have four previous titles to back them up - Fall AAA Champs in '05 & '06 and Fall A champs in '03 & '04.
On the other side of the coin, you have the top-seeded Barracudas (10-0) who swept the regular season and also have a bright history in big game appearances - Summer AAA Champs in '06 & '07, Fall AAA Champs in '04 and Summer AA Champs in '04. With eight titles between them, it was a given that this would be a competative championship matchup. So enough of the pre-game chatter ... let's get to the action!
The Sharks get their first baserunner in the top of the 1st inning when Pierre Rodnunsky draws a 1-out walk. He would score on a pair of throwing errors while Scott Sharts went down swinging for the 2nd out. Jim Vatcher comes up with 2 down and nobody on. He blasts a solo homer for the second run of the inning. The Sharks settle for a pair and take the early 2-0 lead.
So up come the 'Cudas in the bottom of the 1st inning; already in a 2-run hole. They send up their leadoff hitter, Chad Gordon, who draws a walk. The next batter is Dave Lopez, who drives one up the middle and against the wall for an RBI double. The next batter flies out, bringing up cleanup hitter Corey Pearson who singles. With 1 out and 2 on, the next batter is Javik Mahon who draws a walk to load the bases for Anthony Cheveria (Shev-Ree-Ay). He cashes in on a 2-2 pitch with a line drive into the right field corner for a 3-run double. The 'Cudas end up with 4 runs in the inning and now hold a 4-2 advantage through 1 complete inning of play.
The Sharks get a single from Tim DeGrasse in the top half of the 2nd inning but fail to score, bringing the 'Cudas up in the bottom of the second still holding the 4-2 lead. They lead off with Eric Sterz who draws a walk; paving the way for centerfielder Brian Ward who crushes a 2-run homer to left center field. The 'Cudas settle for 2 in the inning and now hold a 6-2 advantage through two complete.
The score would remain 6-2 as we entered the top of the 4th inning with the Sharks sending up Jim Vatcher to start things off. Having homered in his first at-bat, Vatcher reaches base safely due to a throwing error and steals 2nd a short time later. Alan Jaeger follows with a double down the left field line to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Tim Degrasse who singled in his last at-bat. He grounds out to 2nd, but picks up the RBI from 3rd. The Sharks settle for the single run in the inning and now trail 6-3 going into the bottom of the 4th inning.
The next inning would go scoreless, bringing the 'Cudas up in the bottom of the 5th inning with the hopes of extending their 3-run lead. They send up their leadoff hitter, Chad Gordon, who has reached base safely in his first two at-bats. He does so once again, thanks to a throwing on the shortstop which sends Gordon to 2nd base. Next up is Dave Lopez who scored the RBI double in the 1st inning. He sends a missle back up the middle that almost takes out the pitcher and bounds into center field for an RBI single. The next batter is Justin Collins who is hit by a pitch; afterwhich starting pitcher Jose Banuelos is relieved by Alex Merricks. The next two batters would go down in order, but with a run scoring in the process. The 'Cudas end up with two runs in the inning and now take a comfortable 8-3 lead through five complete innings.
But the Sharks weren't ready to lay down just yet. The first two Sharks go down in order, bringing up Alan Jaeger who singles for his second hit of the game. He is followed by catcher Tim DeGrasse who drives a shot deep to left for a 2-run homer. The Sharks add a pair of runs and now cut the gap - trailing 8-5 through 5 1/2 innings of play.
The score would remain 8-5 going into the bottom of the 7th inning. The 'Cudas would lead off with Brian Ward who strikes out; bringing up leadoff hitter Chad Gordon who walks. As Gordon steals second and a pass ball sends him to third, the next batter is Dave Lopez who flies out to right to score Chad Gordon from third. The 'Cudas add another run and now lead by a score of 9-5 through 7 innings.
The Sharks come up in the top of the 8th inning with a sense of urgency. Their first 2 batters are retired, bringing up the big man, Scott Sharts, who blasts a solo shot to left center. It needs to be said that Scott Sharts was playing injured and it took everything he had just to trot around the bases following his solo homer. The Sharks settle for the single run off the homer by Sharts and now trail 9-6 through 7 1/2 innings of play.
The rest of this game would be academic, as both teams would go quietly in their last at-bats; giving the 'Cudas the title of 2007 PCBL AAA Fall Season Champions! Congratulations to the 'Cudas for derailing the Sharks' plan for a third consecutive championship and for holding off an always tough Shark squad!
MVP Honors: This was a difficult game to assign any one player as MVP, but there were definitely some standouts which deserved mention. In the pitching department, we had two solid performances by Matt Stone of the 'Cudas and Alex Merricks of the Sharks. Matt Stone held the Sharks to 7 hits and struck out 8 en route to another championship victory. Alex Merricks came in to relieve Shark starter Jose Banuelos and provided four of the most solid innings you will ever see by a relief pitcher - 4 innings, 1 run on 1hit and sriking out 7. An incredible performance!

                    R H E
Sharks 2 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0      6 8 3
 4 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 -      9 7 2
Game Time:
5:45pm - 8:40pm (2 hours, 55 mins.)
Umpires: (Plate) Chris Chegwin
 (Bases) Ryan Goodman


Jose Banuelos (4 innings, 8 runs on 6 hits, 4 walks & 1 K)
               Alex Merricks (4 innings, 1 run on 1 hit, 2 walks & 7 K's)  
'Cudas: Matt Stone (8 innings, 6 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks & 8 k's)
               Michael Alba (1 inning, 0 runs on 1 hit, 1 K)