Tinseltown Terror @ American Wood Bat All-Stars (AWBL)
Sunday, December 12th, 2004 @ 5:30pm / Stengel Field

All-Stars get Rich on Tobin's Huge Pinch Hit
By Scot Sweet / PCBL Staff Writer

Before this 2004 Toys for Tots Final even got under way at the beautiful confines of Stengel Field in Glendale, this writer had a pretty good feeling that we would see a competitive championship contest between two solid teams. The Tinseltown Terror's recent collection of titles pretty much speaks for the team all by itself. In the semi-final they completed the biggest come from behind victory in the teams history. Being down 11-1 to the Foothill Blaze they battled back to pull off a 14-12 victory landing them in the championship game.
The American Wood Bat League All-Star team (AWBL) is a collection of baseball talent from a similar league down in Orange County. And though these players were just recently assembled and are basically new to each other compared to that of the Terror; the fact that they are the cream of their own crop would sum up the fact that they did indeed bring combined experience to the field with them on this Championship evening. Hours before they concluded a sound victory over Federation/Union 345 Stars 9-3.

The visiting Terror would start off this Toys for Tots championship game by sending the top of their order to the plate, Daniel Nelson. He gets things rolling for the Terror right off the bat with a lead-off double. Manager Justin Urbas would bat next, and he ground out to second and advances Nelson to 3rd. With 1 out, the next batter would be T.J. Runnells who grounded out to 3rd; scoring Nelson and the Terror pick up the early 1-0 lead.

The AWBL would fail to score in the bottom half of the 1st inning, giving the Terror a chance to extend upon their early lead. The Terror lead off the 2nd inning with Rick Lopez, who doubles to start the Terror assault. The next batter is Vince Kolbe, who responds with a 2-run homer; putting the Terror up 3-0. They go down quietly after that, but they once again put runs on the board to take the 3-0 lead.
The score would remain 3-0 going into the top of the 4th inning. Rick Lopez would lead off the inning, having doubled in his 1st at bat. He hits a solo homer to extend the Terror lead to 4-0. Vince Kolbe, the man who homered in his 1st at bat to give the Terror their 1st lead of the game, would come up next. He strikes out for the 1st out of the inning, bringing up Jason Cly. Cly hits a solo homer to add to the Terror lead - now up 5-0. That would complete the scoring in the inning for the Terror, but things were looking good as they now held a commanding 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th inning.
The AWBL start things off in the 4th with their #3 hitter, Tony Gonzales; who hits a solo BOMB to right to put the AWBL on the board, now trailing 5-1. He is followed by Erich Martin, who draws a walk. Martin advances to 2nd and then 3rd, due to consecutive wild pitches. With 1 out, Steve Panek is hit by a pitch and then advances to 2nd on yet another wild pitch. With runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, Matt Graves singles home Erich Martin from 3rd; cutting the Terror lead to 3 - now up 5-2. Rich Cerallas would follow with a walk, loading the bases for Robert Saetia who strikes out. With 2 out and the bags full, leadoff hitter Tommy DeTemple has a golden opportunity to score any number of runs with a single swing of the bat. He drives a 2-0 pitch hard into left center field that would have fallen into the gap if not for an incredible diving catch by  Terror manager Justin Urbas, who lays out to get the 3rd out and save what would have easily been 2 or 3 runs. Definitely the defensive play of the game!

The Terror would go scoreless in the top of the 5th, bringing up the AWBL with a chance to yet again close the gap. Charles Scuitti is the first to bat for the AWBL in the bottom of the 5th inning. He draws a walk, bringing up Tony Gonzalez, who also walks. The next two batters would strike out, bringing up Steve Panek with two on and two out. He singles, driving home Scuitti to close the gap to just two, now down 5-3. The next batter would fly to center for the 3rd out, but the AWBL continue to pick away with 3 runs in the last 2 innings, increasing their chances for a big comeback from the earlier 5-0 deficit.

Both teams would go scoreless in the 6th inning, bringing the Terror up in the top of the 7th inning with the hopes of increasing their slim 2-run lead. Jason Cly would start off the inning for the Terror, and he singles on a 3-2 pitch to bring up Erich Magiar. A wild pitch to Magiar sends Cly to 2nd and then Magiar grounds out, moving Cly over to 3rd. With 1 out and Cly on 3rd, the batter is Harold Williams. He singles to score Cly to increase the Terror lead to 3; now up 6-3.
The AWBL fails to score in the bottom half of the 7th, giving the Terror yet another opportunity to extend their 6-3 lead as they come up in the top of the 8th inning. The Terror add a run in the inning by way of a pair of singles by T.J. Runnells and Elvis Nelson and a sacrifice to increase their lead to a score of 7-3; sending up the AWBL with a sense of urgency here in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Kaylan Norton bats for Rich Cerallas to start off the 8th. He hits a pinch-hit double, bringing up Saetia who lines to 2nd for the 1st out. With 1 out and 1 on, Tommy DeTemple steps up to the plate. He singles home Norton to cut the lead to 3, now down 7-4. Though they would end up loading the bases with 1 out in the inning, they would remain full as the inning ended for the AWBL; bringing the Terror up in the top of the 9th inning with the 3 run lead. The Terror would fail to score in the top half of the 9th, giving the AWBL just one more chance to close the gap in this Championship matchup.
Jimmy Fernandez pinch hits for Steve Panek to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning for the AWBL. He singles, bringing up Matt Graves. Graves doubles, bringing up Norton with runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Norton walks to load the bases. The potential tying run is Ron Grace, who pinch hits in the #9 spot for Robert Saetia. Grace singles home Fernandez and Graves to close within 1 run of the Terror who are now clearly beginning to feel the heat of the AWBL rally; producing 3 hits and a walk in their 1st 4 at bats in the inning. With the Terror now up 7-6 and still no outs in the inning, the AWBL send up the top of their order, Tommy DeTemple. DeTemple  flies out to right, moving the runners up 90 feet. With runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, Tony Dailey pinch hits for Charles Scuitti. He is intentionally walked to load the bases, with the potential winning run standing at 2nd base.

So here's the entire game on the line right here: The #3 hitter for the AWBL, Tony Gonzales; who homer ealier in the game and who was replaced with a pinch runner has to be hit for. The AWBL sends Rich Tobin to the plate for his 1st at bat of the evening with 1 out, bags full, the tying run at 3rd and the game winner standing on 2nd. The Terror waits "the pitch " a smash into the gap in right center field. Terror outfielders try desperately to get to the deciding drive as it falls between them and goes to the wall. Norton scores easily for the tying run and rounding 3rd with his fists pumping with exuberance is the set-up man who's 2-run double earlier in the inning made his winning run possible, Ron Grace!
An unbelievable finish as the American Wood Bat League All-Stars stun the Tinseltown Terror with 4 huge runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to steal the game and the Championship!