2018 League Champions

2018 PCBL Major Division Spring Championship
August 4-5, 2018 @ El Cariso Park / Conejo Creek
Platoon (16-2) -vs- Blue Jays (16-2)




Another scorching July weekend in Southern California was the setting for the Spring 2018 Major Division Championship Game between the #2 seeded Platoon and the #1 seeded (and 2-time defending champion) Blue Jays.  The top two teams in the division pretty much all season, this one would come down to the final batter before everything was decided.
Game 1
Game 1 featured Platoon skipper Sal D'Angelo going up against Blue Jays ace Eric Allen.  Platoon struck first blood in the top of the 2nd inning.  Jeff Bejian and Robert Reeves Sr led off with back to back singles, and Anthony Gallo singled the pair home.  Adrian Rodriquez singled Gallo to 3rd, then swiped second, and Tim LeSeur doubled them home, giving the Platoon an early 4-0 lead.
More of the same in the top of the 3rd (literally), as Bejian and Reeves Sr again led off with back-to-back singles, and Gallo hit a 2-run double to plate them both, chasing Allen from the game.  But the Blue Jays responded in the bottom of the inning.  With 1 out, Chris Cervantes singled, eventually scoring on a Garrett Behnke ground ball/error.  After 3 in the books, Platoon led 6-1.
Blue Jays reliever Eric Anderson and D'Angelo cruised through the 4th before both offenses got rolling.
In the 5th, Robert "Boots" Reeves Jr hit a triple, then scored on a Jeff Bejian sac fly.  But the Jays answered back in the bottom of the inning.  Yoankis Turino doubled, and Chris Cervantes wasted no time singling him home.  After a walk to Alain Mora, Garrett Behnke hit a sac fly to plate Cervantes and cut the lead to 7-3.
Back come the Platoon in the top of the 6th.  Tim LeSeur led off with a single, was balked to second, moved to 3rd on a ground out and scored on a Sal D'Angelo sac fly.  But the Jays continued to keep the pressure on.  Erick Melara walked, swiped second, and scored on a Cale Hamilton single.  After 6 innings, the Platoon led 8-4.
Leading off the top of the 7th, Robert "Boots" Reeves Jr hit a solo home run, but the Jays immediately answered.  Jarrod Schwartz singled, moved into scoring position on a Garrett Behnke single and scored on an Eddie Baeza double, making the score 9-5.
Jump ahead to the bottom of the 8th, with closer Jeff Bezian on the hill.  Ray Ravago singled with 1 out, then scored on a Turino double.  Chris Cervantes knocked in Turino with a single, cutting the lead to 9-7.  But that was as close as the Jays would come, as Bezian shut the door to give the Platoon a 1-0 series lead.
Game 2
After an incredible see-saw battle in game 1, the Jays were in a must-win situation in game 2 to keep their champagne dreams alive.
Platoon ace Zach Mercer took the hill and was immediately met by a hungry Blue Jay lineup.  Jarrod Schwartz led off the top of the 1st with a walk, moved to 3rd on an Eddie Baeza single and scored on a 2-out Luis Rivas single, giving the Jays a 1-0 lead.
After Jays' pitcher Ivan Hernandez worked a quiet first, back came the Jays in the 2nd.  Jacob Risinger singled and swiped second.  Cale Hamilton sacrificed him to 3rd, and Yoankis Turino singled him home.  More Jays offense in the 3rd as Schwartz led off with a walk, stole second, then scored on an error to take a 3-0 lead.
After cruising through 3 innings, Hernandez ran into trouble in the bottom of the 4th. With one out, Steve McGrath got hit by a pitch, and Robert "Boots" Reeves Jr launched a 2-run home run to cut the lead to 3-2.  Unfortunately for the Platoon, that was as close as they got, as Hernandez worked the remaining 5 innings allowing 1 hit and 2 walks over that span.
But the Jays' bats were just getting started.  In the top of the 5th, Yoankis Turino led off with a solo home run, extending the lead to 4-2.  In the top of the 6th, with 2 outs, Erick Melara walked.  Jacob Risinger doubled him home, and Cale Hamilton walked.  Turino doubled home both runners, chasing Mercer from the game.  Joe Contreras gave up an rbi-single to Chris Cervantes before escaping the jam, but the Jays now had a commanding 8-2 lead.
The top of the 7th was no better for the Platoon, as the Jays offense was in complete control.  With 1 out, Garrett Behnke walked and Eddie Baeza singled.  Ray Ravago reached on a fielder's choice, but Eddie Baeza scored on an error.  Luis Rivas walked, and Erick Melara brought home 2 with a single, extending the lead to 11-2 and finishing the scoring in game 2.
Game 3
With the series now tied up 1 game apiece, the championship was up for grabs in a winner-take-all game 3.  The Jays sent Cale Hamilton to the mound to face Platoons' Tim Vranau.
The Jays got on the board first in the bottom of the first.  After 2 quick outs, Eddie Baeza and Ray Ravago reached on back to back singles, and Luis Rivas singled them both home to take a 2-0 lead.
Both pitchers cruised until the bottom of the 4th, when the Jays attacked again.  Jarrod Schwartz led off with a double, and Eddie Baeza singled him home.  Ray Ravago singled him into scoring position, and Luis Rivas cashed him in with an rbi-single of his own, giving the Jays a 4-0 lead.
Both pitchers continued to put up solid innings through the 6th.  Leading off the 7th, with their backs against the wall, Platoon knew they had to make their move.  Robert Reeves Sr led off with a single, and moved to 3rd on pinch hitter Nick Schmidt's double.  Anthony Gallo reached on an error, but brought home 2 runs.  Tim LeSeur and Chad Avena each singled to load the bases, and Sal D'Angelo hit a sac fly to cut the lead to 4-3.
After a quiet bottom of the 7th, the Platoon offense stepped up in a big way.  Jeff Bejian walked, and with 1 out, Nick Schmidt hit a go-ahead 2-run bomb.  Pinch hitter Adrian Rodriguez walked, ending the day for Hamilton.  Yoankis Turino came in to relieve for the Jays, but with 2 outs, gave up an rbi-single to Chad Avena to extend the Platoons' lead to 6-4.
Now the Blue Jays had THEIR backs against the wall, and after a leadoff walk to Jacob Risinger, Platoon ace Zach Mercer came back in to try to close out the series.  Richard Lizarraga promptly doubled, bringing home Risinger, but was erased on the bases.  With 2 outs, Chris Cervantes singled, moved to second on an Alain Mora hit by pitch, and scored the tying run on a Jarrod Schwartz single.  After 8 full innings, the score was tied 6-6 (fitting for 2 squads who finished the regular season with equivalent 16-2 records!)
In the top of the 9th, Sal D'Angelo was hit by a pitch, and with 1 out, Robert "Boots" Reeves Jr walked.  Both runners moved into scoring position, but Turino escaped the jam with a couple of ground outs.
Now in the bottom of the 9th, with 1 out, Eddie Baeza walked.  After a strikeout, Luis Rivas singled and Eric Melara walked to load the bases.  With an 0-1 count and 2 outs, Jacob Risinger hit a slow roller past the mound, beating out an infield single and walking off with the championship!
Congratulations to the Platoon on an amazing season - they deserved to be in this series, and came as close as you could come to winning it all.  These two teams were as evenly matched as they come, but the series belonged to the Blue Jays - back-to-back-to-back championship winners!
Congratulations to the 2018 Spring Major Division Champion Blue Jays!


                    Game 1  
                    Platoon       0   4   2   0   1   1   1   0   0      9     14     2  
                    Blue Jays    0   0   1   0   2   1   1   2   0      7     13     0
                    Game 2  
                    Blue Jays    1   1   1   0   1   4   3   0   0     11    12     1  
                    Platoon        0   0   0   2   0   0   0   0   0      2      3      2
                    Game 3  
                    Platoon        0   0   0   0   0   0   3   3   0      6    11     0  
                    Blue Jays     2   0   0   2   0   0   0   2   1      7    12     2
Pitching Stats:
Game 1
WP Sal D'Angelo (Platoon)    7IP; 5R (4ER), 10H, 2K, 4BB
LP Eric Allen (Blue Jays)    2.1IP; 6ER, 10H, 2K, BB
Jeff Bezjian (Platoon)    2IP, 2ER, 3H, 2K
Eric Anderson (Blue Jays)    6.2IP, 3ER, 4H, 5K, HBP
Game 2
WP Ivan Hernandez (Blue Jays)    9IP (CG); 2ER, 3H, 10K, 3BB, HBP
LP Zach Mercer (Platoon)   5.2IP; 8ER, 9H, 9K, 4BB
Joe Contreras (Platoon)    3.1IP, 3ER, 3H, K, 4BB
Game 3
WP Yoankis Turino (Blue Jays)    1.2IP; 0R, K, BB, HBP
LP Zach Mercer (Platoon)    1.2IP; 2ER (3R), 3H, K, 3BB, HBP
Cale Hamilton (Blue Jays)    7.1IP; 3ER (6R), 10H, 3K, 4BB
Tim Vranau (Platoon)   7IP; 4ER, 8H, 7K
Jeff Bezjian (Platoon)    0IP; 0R, H
Batting Stats (combined):
Blue Jays
Eddie Baeza - 7-12, 2B, 4R, 2RBI, BB
Chris Cervantes - 5-10, 3R, 3RBI, BB
Yoankis Turino - 5-10, 3-2B, HR, 4R, 5RBI
Jarrod Schwartz - 4-13, 2B, 4R, RBI, SB
Jeff Bezjian - 5-11, 3R, RBI, BB, SACF, SB
Tim LeSuer - 4-13, 2B, R, 2RBI, BB, SB
"Boots" Reeves - 4-11, 3B, 2-HR, 3R, 2RBI, 3BB
Robert Reeves Sr - 4-10, 3R, HBP, SB