2019 Fall League Champions

2019 PCBL Major Division Fall Championship
November 16-17, 2019 @ Conejo Creek
CBA Tigers (5-4) -vs- Raptors (7-2)



The Fall 2019 Major Championship Series was an unlikely but familiar matchup - the 4th-seeded CBA Tigers against the 2nd-seeded Raptors. The Tigers road to the Championship consisted of a strong 13-4 defeat against the 5th-seed SBAFunds.com Wolves and a tight 7-6 win against the 1st-seed Platoon. The Raptors on the other hand had a bye in the first round with a comfortable win against the 6th-seed Drillers. The Raptors were in a position to earn their first Major’s Championship trophy, but they had to get through the always tough and well-seasoned (not to mention defending fall champion) Tigers.
Game 1
A windy day it was, and it would prove to be a major factor in this series. Ben Meyer took the mound for the Raptors and had trouble finding the zone in the first inning. With little help from the Raptors' defense, Mike Risotti reached on a dropped-third strike, Adrian Campos reached on a dropped pop fly to left and Luis Rivera singled to load the bases. Risotti ended up scoring on a wild pitch and J.C. Barker singled in another run, only to have 2 runners stranded after a fly-out to center field. Tigers lead 2-0.
With half the Raptors team finally showing up from their morning game (in another unnamed league), the Raptors felt they could battle back from the rough first inning. With Christian Marshal on the mound for the Tigers, it would be a tough fight for the Raptors. Marshal would make quick work of the half inning, giving up only a single to lead-off Spencer Sohmer, who then got thrown out at third later in the inning. Tigers till lead 2-0 at the end of the 1st.
The Tigers weren’t done. Starting the 2nd, Robert S. walked, Eric Shapran grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Danny Pimienta reached on an error, it was 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Risotti singled, bringing in Robert S. and the Tigers led 3-0. Despite Campos singling in the next at-bat, Pimienta got gunned at third on the play, and the Raptors escaped without further damage.
The Tigers were in control, and the baseball gods were in their favor when Ethan Hale walked and then Jesse Davis lined into a double play. With 2 outs though, the Raptors managed to keep the inning going. Tom Phillips reached on a pop up error at third base, which set up pitcher Meyer to double off the right field wall, driving in the Raptor’s first run. Cody Stevens walked to keep things going, but a fielder’s choice ground out ended the inning. Tigers lead 3-1.
The third started and ended quickly, with Tiger’s Bill McGrath singling, Barker grounding into a double play, and Cabrera grounding out. Top of the Raptors order came up only to be sat down just as quickly when Sohmer flew out and then Jake Sahagian and Scott Savage both grounded out. Tigers still lead 3-1.
Meyer worked a quick top of the 4th, grounding out Robert S. and Shapran. Pimienta managed to rope a line drive to right only to get tossed out at first by the right fielder Tom Phillips to end the inning.
The Raptors took that inning-ending momentum into the bottom of the 4th and opened it up. Jobe Lowen walked, Hale singled, Rico Peña singled, Phillips singled driving in Lowen, Meyer singled driving in Hale, C. Stevens and R. Stevens both sac-flied to center driving in Phillips and Meyer, and Matt Polites ended the inning with a ground out. Raptors now took the lead for good, 6-3.
The 5th went quickly with the Tigers going 1-2-3 via a ground out, single, and double play. That brought the Raptors top of the order up. An error put Sohmer on 1st and a few outs and walks later, Peña singled him in only for Savage to be tossed out at home on a line drive throw by CF Risotti. Raptors lead 7-3 at the end of the 5th.
We would see no more runs at this point, and it became a battle for the Raptors to hold the Tigers. The 6th, 7th and 8th were in and out relatively quickly with 4 strikeouts, 5 hits including a double off the wall by Tiger’s Campos, 5 walks (2 HBP), and an inning-ending double play by the Tiger’s middle infield.
Savage was called in to close the game out for the Raptors in the top of the 9th. With the wind blowing strong and the shadows behind home plate creeping far up, Savage knew he had to end it here, and so he did. He struck out Robert S. on 5 pitches, induced a fly out by Shapran, and struck out Pimienta on 4 pitches to end the game. Raptors had taken game 1 with a final score of 7-3.
Game 2
Sunday morning at Conejo Creek with the winds still blowing and the beautiful sun shining, it was going to be a great day of baseball. The Raptors needed 1 win to claim their first Majors title, but it wouldn’t be an easy one. The formidable Tigers proved why they were the defending fall champions.
Carlos De Santiago took the mound for the Tigers and started off strong by striking out Sohmer on 3 pitches. Sahagian wasn’t as easy, doubling on the first pitch he saw. Ryan Eastburn stepped up and singled to right. It was first and third for Nolan Flashman who doubled over the center fielder’s head, scoring 1. The Raptors were on a roll, but De Santiago persevered and shut the next two batters down. 
Kyle Bumpass was the rock of the Raptors staff and was asked to bring home the win for the Raptors in Game 2. He made quick work of the inning by inducing 2 ground outs right off the bat. Rivera managed a single on an 0-2 count, which brought up the feared McGrath. But Raptors catcher Peña made an outstanding play in the wind when he caught a pop up down the first base line to end the inning. At the end of the first, the Raptors led 1-0.
The top of the second proved difficult for the Tigers. Bumpass led off with a single, but Hale and Peña both reached on errors, leading to a couple more poor throws and errors and suddenly Peña was on third and Bumpass and Hale both scored. The frustration on the field required some settling down, and after a walk of C. Stevens, Phillips grounded into a fielder's choice scoring 1 and Sohmer flew out to center. Raptors now led 4-0.
The Tigers had some work ahead of them, and they knew it. The bottom of the second would start that work. After Campos reached on an error, Barker grounded out, advancing Campos to third. Robert S. got hit by a pitch and Pimienta struck out. Jamie Dorado was tasked with making something happen, and that he did. Despite him striking out, his at-bat scored Campos when Bumpass committed an error during a steal. The Tigers were on the board 4-1.
Sahagian and Eastburn continued to slap the ball hard with both of them singling in the top of the 3rd. But De Santiago retired the middle of the Raptor’s order easily.
Missing out on an opportunity, the Raptors enter the bottom of the 3rd with fury. Despite Risotti singling to lead it off and Niko Garcia reaching on an error, Risotti ended up out at 2nd and Rivera grounding into a double play to end the inning. The score still stood 4-1 Raptors.
The battle continued in the 4th as De Santiago used only 9 pitches to strike out Bumpass and Hale, and got Peña to ground out.
McGrath led off the bottom of the 4th with a rope to right field, but couldn’t get to first fast enough and got thrown out by Phillips. That play saved a run as Campos stepped up and drilled a 600ft homerun over the right field fence. It's safe to think he would never see that same pitch again! The inning ended after Barker lined out and Robert S. grounded out. The score was now 4-2.
The Raptors got things going again in the 5th. After Lowen grounded out, C. Stevens managed a hard single and ultimately got to 3rd after Phillips reached on an error. With runners at first and third, Sohmer did his job and singled, but not before C. Stevens scored on a wild pitch. That set Sahagian up to do some damage with runners at 1st and 2nd, and damage that he did. On a 1-1 count, Sahagian drove a double to left which scored 2 and put the Raptors up 7-2. This was becoming familiar territory for the Raptors, but it wouldn’t last long. Unwilling to bow down, De Santiago got Eastburn and Flashman out quickly and the Tigers rushed to the dugout, ready to do some damage. And damage they did as well…
Bumpass wouldn’t know it, but this would be his final inning. Pimienta lined out on a hard hit to center field, but it was enough to spark the Tiger’s bench. Dorado, Risotti and Garcia back-to-back-to-back singled, loading the bases for Rivera who worked a walk on a great at-bat. McGrath stepped up to the plate. The Raptors knew the type of hitter he was as they had seen him drive a massive home run to left in the All-star game the past summer. Well, his at-bat was decisive as it drove in a couple runs, one from an error by the catcher and one from the single he roped to center. The cards were crumbling for Bumpass. It was 7-5 and the Raptors bullpen was heating up. After intentionally walking Campos, Barker hit a sac-fly scoring 1 and Robert S. walked on a full-count. Bases were loaded yet again. Pimienta got pegged and Dorado walked on another full-count. Tigers had pulled ahead 8-7 and the Raptors decided it was time to pull Bumpass and bring in Sahagian. It only took a few pitches for Risotti to fly out and end the inning, but the damage had already been done. It was 8-7 Tigers at the end of the 5th.
But, as goes with baseball, De Santiago encountered the same issues Bumpass did. With R. Stevens singling on the first pitch he saw, Polites, Bumpass and Hale all walked which scored 1. Peña lifted an infield fly for the first out. Then, in a scary moment, Lowen got pegged in the knee and a loud pop rang throughout the field. He hobbled down to first as all runners advanced, but had to take a moment to make sure he was ok. Fortunately, nothing was seriously hurt (except his pride) and the game continued on. With the Raptors now ahead 9-8, C. Stevens did some extra damage by hitting another sac fly and making it 10-8. Phillips flied out and the Raptors ended the top of the 6th back in the lead for good.

Sahagian continued his relief for the Raptors and worked a quick 6, striking out Garcia, grounding out Rivera, giving up a single to McGrath and then striking out Campos. Raptors still led 10-8 at the end of the 6th.
With two quick singles by Josh Cimino and Brett Klasko, that was it for De Santiago. Tigers called upon Danny Serrano to take them through the rest of the game. Despite loading the bases with a HBP to Sohmer, Serrano retired the following three batters and stranded the runners to keep the score tight at 10-8.
The bottom of the 7th saw a groundout, 2 walks and a strikeout for the Tigers.
As the 8th rolled around, the Raptors knew they had to add to the board. These Tigers are ferocious. A HBP and a walk put two men on for Hale who stepped up and ripped a double to center scoring Polites, but Risotti’s canon in center hosed Bumpass at 3rd. Serrano worked the remainder of the inning scoreless and the Raptors now led 11-8.
The Tigers had the top of their order up to start the bottom of the 8th. Risotti reached on an error and Garcia was hit with a pitch. That was enough for skipper Davis to pull Sahagian and bring in the feared closer Flashman. It didn’t take long as Rivera and McGrath both struck out swinging. With their backs against the wall, Risotti knew he had to make something happen, so he stole 3rd and forced a throw which went over the third baseman and allowed Risotti to score making it 11-9. That’s all the Tigers would get though as Campos ground out to first to end the inning.
It was the top of the 9th, the game was tense and you could feel it. The Tiger’s season was on the line. With just 9 pitches, Serrano struck out 2 and induced a fly out. The Tigers knew they were down to their final inning.
Fortunately for the Raptors, Flashman hadn’t let in a run in 13 innings as a closer. Barker started off with a single up the middle to get the Tiger’s bench on their feet, but it didn’t last long as Robert S. and Manny Molina both struck out swinging and Dorado ground out to end the game, giving the Raptor’s their first Major Division Championship.
Congratulations to the Tigers for such a great season and beating the number 1 team to get to the Championship. But it was the Raptors who won the battle and can now claim the Fall 2019 Major Championship!
Congratulations to the 2019 Fall Major Division Champion Raptors!
Game 1  
CBA Tigers    2   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0      3      8    2  
Raptors          0   1   0   5   1   0   0   0   0      7    11    2
Game 2  
Raptors          1   3   0   0   3   3   0   1   0      11    13     6  
CBA Tigers    0   1   0   1   6   0   0   1   0       9     10     4
Pitching Stats:
Game 1
WP: Ben Meyer (Raptors) - 8.0IP, 3R (2ER), 8H, 4K, 4BB (Series co-MVP)
LP: Christian Marshal (Tigers) - 6.0IP, 7R (5ER), 9H, 3K, 6BB
Scott Savage (Raptors) - 1.0IP, 2K
Game 2
WP: Jake Sahagian (Raptors) - 2.1IP, 1R, 1H, 4K, 2BB, HBP (Series co-MVP)
LP: Carlos De Santiago (Tigers) - 5.0IP, 9R (5ER), 10H, 6K, 2BB, 2HBP
S: Nolan Flashman (Raptors) - 2IP, H, 4K
Kyle Bumpass (Raptors) - 4.2IP, 8R (7ER), 8H, 2K, 4BB, 2HBP
Danny Serrano (Tigers) - 3.2IP, 1R (1ER), 3H, 5K, BB, 2HBP
Batting Stats (combined):
Cody Stevens - 2-4, 2RBI, 2BB, 2SAC
Rico Pena - 3-7, 2RBI
Ethan Hale - 2-5, 2B, 2RBI, 2R, 3BB
Jake Sahagian - 3-8, 2 2B, 2RBI, R (Series co-MVP)
Mike Risotti - 3-9, RBI, 2R
Bill McGrath - 4-8, RBI, R, BB
Adrian Campos - 4-8, 2B, HR, RBI, 4R, BB
J.C. Barker - 2-8, 2RBI