2017 League Champions

2017 PCBL Major Division Spring Championship
August 12-13, 2017 @ College of the Canyons
Los Kings (13-5-1) -vs- Blue Jays (14-5)




A week after a pair of 9th inning comebacks in the AA and AAA championship games, the reigning Spring 2016 AAA champion Los Kings squared up against the reigning Spring 2016 Major division champion Blue Jays.  These two teams finished the regular season 1/2 game apart, splitting their 2 regular season meetings.
Game 1
Saturday morning was already warm when these teams took the field.  The Blue Jays' Eric Allen got a quick out before Los Kings' offense came to life.  Ryan Brockett singled, and one batter later, Nick Santoro singled home Brockett to take an early 1-0 lead.
Matt Ronan got the start for Los Kings.  Jacob Risinger led off against him with a single.  Garrett Behnke bunted him to second, and after a pop out, Erick Melara walked.  Ray Ravago singled to left, but Los Kings' left fielder Ryan Brockett threw a strike to catcher Nick Santoro, easily nailing Risinger at the plate and maintaining the 1-0 lead.
Allen worked around a Daniel Coulsell single in the second, notching a pair of strikeouts in the process.  But Ronan matched him almost pitch for pitch, working around a double and getting 2 strikeouts himself.  At the end of 2, Los Kings led 1-0.
Leading off the top of the 3rd, Los Kings' manager Christian Cardenas walked, but was quickly erased on a caught stealing by Blue Jays' catcher Landon Cole.  Ryan Brockett singled and stole second, and after a strikeout, Nick Santoro walked, but Allen induced a ground ball to short to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Blue Jays' bats woke up.  10-hitter Chris Cervantes led off with a single, and Jarrod Schwartz followed with a walk.  Jacob Risinger walked to load the bases, and Garrett Behnke came through with a sac fly to right to tie the game.  Later in the inning, Schwartz executed a perfect steal of home to give the Jays a 2-1 lead after 3.
Allen worked around an error in the 4th (erased thanks to ANOTHER caught stealing courtesy Landon Cole's arm), and the Blue Jays kept putting on the pressure.  Dominic Hanna walked and stole second.  Hank Burditt grounded out to move him to 3rd, and with 2 outs, Alain Mora singled him home for a 3-1 Blue Jays lead.
After a 1-2-3 inning by Allen, the Blue Jays broke things open in the 5th.  Jarrod Schwartz led off with a single, and took 2 bases on wild pitches.  With 1 out, Garrett Behnke singled him home, and Luis Rivas drove the next pitch off the left field wall for an rbi double.  Erick Melara walked, and with 2 outs, Dominic Hanna doubled home a pair to extend the lead to 7-1.
At this point, Eric Allen was cruising.  The score was still 7-1 heading into the bottom of the 7th.  Jarrod Schwartz again led off with a single, and Jacob Risinger singled him to 3rd.  Garrett Behnke hit the next pitch for his 3rd sacrifice on the day - this time a fly ball to left - giving the Jays an 8-1 lead.
It took Allen just 13 pitches over the final 2 frames to close things out and take game 1 by a score of 8-1.  Allowing on 4 hits and 3 walks, Allen struck out 9 on 117 pitches.  Matt Ronan allowed 8 runs over 8 innings, in a remarkable 162-pitch complete game to preserve Los Kings' bullpen for Sunday.
Game 2
If you thought the weather was warm Saturday, Sunday was even hotter.  And with two of the hottest arms in the league taking the hill, you wouldn't expect anything less!
Ryan Brockett toed the rubber for Los Kings, and worked around a Garrett Behnke single for a quiet first.  The Blue Jays' Eric Anderson followed suit with a 10-pitch first of his own to keep it a 0-0 game after 1.
Both pitchers put up zeroes in the second, and the bottom of the Blue Jays lineup came up big in the top of the 3rd.  Chris Cervantes led off with a double.  Hank Burditt (hitless in game 1), lined a single to right to start the scoring, and Yoankis "Late to the Game" Turino, having just put on his pants, lined the first pitch he saw for an rbi-double!  With 2 outs, designated runner Tom Tabak swiped 3rd, and Luis Rivas singled him home to take a 3-0 lead.
Los Kings looked to respond in the bottom of the 3rd.  Ari Shandling reached on an error, and with 1 out, Sean Soloman singled.  Christian Cardenas laid down a PERFECT bunt to load the bases, but Anderson bore down and induced an inning-ending double play to escape unscathed.
After a 1-2-3 top of the 4th, Los Kings made some noise in the bottom of the inning.  With one out, Nick Santoro singled.  Morgan Grisham laced a one-hopper that appeared to be heading for the right field corner, only to see his hit stolen by a diving play by Garrett Behnke.  Now with 2 outs, Aaron Amman fouled off 6 pitches before being retired on a ground out, and the Blue Jays still led 3-0 after 4.
As the innings rolled on, Los Kings needed to get their offense moving if they were to force a game 3.  Leading off the bottom of the 6th, Christian Cardenas doubled, and Ryan Brocket quickly singled him home to break up the shut out.  2 outs later, Morgan Grisham singled to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Anderson again worked out of the jam by getting a fly ball to right.  After 6 in the books, Los Kings cut the lead to 3-1.
The next few innings were mostly uneventful, with the score still 3-1 heading into the top of the 9th.  Both pitchers were living up to their reputations, with Brockett at 116 pitches and Anderson at 106.
Garrett Behnke led off the 9th for the Jays and hit a slow roller to the right side.  But just as the baseball gods giveth him a web gem earlier in the game, they taketh away this time as Los Kings' second baseman Aaron Amman made an outstanding glove flip to get him at first.  Ryan Brockett worked around a Luis Rivas single to give Los Kings one last shot in the bottom of the 9th.
Ari Shandling led off, but was robbed by ANOTHER diving stop by Garrett Behnke (obviously still upset about his last at bat.)  Daniel Coulsell followed with his second single of the day, but that was all the offense Eric Anderson would allow.  The game would end on a routine ground ball to short, and the Blue Jays broke out the bubbly to celebrate their second consecutive championship!
Congratulations definitely go out to Los Kings, who not only made it to the championship game in their first season in the Major division, but were atop the standings most of the year.  But this year, as has been the case the past few years, belonged to the Blue Jays.

Congratulations to the 2017 Major Division Champion Blue Jays!


                    Blue Jays    0   0   3   0   0   0   0   0   0      3     10     3  
                    Los Kings    0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   0      1      9     1
Pitching Stats:
Game 1
WP Eric Allen (Blue Jays)    9IP (CG); 1ER, 4H, 9K, 3BB
LP Matt Ronan (Los Kings)    8IP (CG); 8ER, 12H, 3K, 5BB
Game 2
WP Eric Anderson (Blue Jays)    9IP (CG); 1ER, 9H, K, 0BB
LP Ryan Brockett (Los Kings)   9IP (CG); 3ER, 10H, 8K, BB, HBP
Batting Stats (combined):
Blue Jays
Luis Rivas - 4-8, 2B, R, 2RBI
Jarrod Schwartz - 3-6, 2B, 3R, BB, SB
Jacob Risinger - 3-7, BB
Garrett Behnke - 2-4, R, 3RBI, HBP, SACB, 2SACF
Dominic Hanna - 2-6, 2B, R, 2RBI, BB, SB
Los Kings
Ryan Brockett - 3-8, R, RBI, SB
Daniel Coulsell - 3-7
Christian Cardenas - 2-6, 2B, R, BB
Nick Santoro - 2-7, RBI, BB
Morgan Grisham - 2-7, BB