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Slinging It

07/30/2018, 12:15pm EDT
By Rob Gray

Slingers bats break loose in the middle innings to secure an easy 13-5 championship victory of Gobblers!

            In an unexpected matchup, second seeded Slingers took on fourth seed Gobblers, who just snuck their way into the playoffs, for the Tony Perez Division Championship.  Slingers went an impressive 6-2-1 in the regular season to just narrowly miss out on the top seed, and Gobblers won 4 of their final 6 games to get into the playoffs with a bit of help.  Both teams rode a couple of impressive first round wins into the matchup.  They may not have been the “best” team this season by rank, but there was no shortage of talent and they had certainly turned it on when it mattered most.  The two hottest teams in the league were putting their potent offenses and stout defenses on full display.

            The two championship contenders had one regular season matchup early on in the season.  Slingers owned that one by a convincing score of 15-8.  However, these were two very different teams this time around.  As mentioned, the teams weren’t short on star power either.  For Slingers, Greg Prestipino led the league in hits (28) and ranked 4th in batting average (.651), Jesse Daunno tied for 4th in hits (22), Ryan Hall finished 4th in RBI’s (19), Lauren Canonico tied for 3rd among women in batting average (.375), and Jason Orr ranked 1st in wins (6), 2nd in ERA (4.05), and 1st in WHIP (1.42).  As for Gobblers, Nick Stahlman ranked 3rd in hits (23), tied for 2nd in wins (5), 3rd in ERA (5.22), and 2nd in WHIP (1.90).  Nick Robbins finished 5th in homeruns (7).  How do the teams stack up as a whole?

Category

Slingers

Total (Rank)

Gobblers

Total (Rank)

Runs Scored

113 (2nd)

99 (5th)

Hits

160 (1st)

151 (4th)

Walks

53 (1st)

15 (13th)

Homeruns

15 (tied 5th)

28 (1st)

Team Batting Average

.440 (1st)

.393 (6th)

Runs Allowed

69 (7th)

97 (15th)

Walks Allowed

19 (6th)

37 (tied 14)

Team WHIP

1.57 (1st)

2.18 (6th)

Run Differential

+44 (2nd)

+2 (tied 8th)

Gobblers hold their own, but the numbers are outright impressive up and down the board for Slingers.  They rank at or near the top of just about every team stat category.  There’s a reason why they are in (and usually win) the championship game every season.

            This one got off to a slow start as Gobblers hung around early.  Neither team scored in the 1st or 3rd innings while both teams matched runs in the 2nd.  Marc Pepin tripled in Alan Kopeloff, who led off the inning with a single, but Gobblers couldn’t capitalize with a man on third and only one out.  Slingers evened the score back up when Jen Benensky hit into a productive, RBI fielder’s choice, scoring Joe Rockhill who singled earlier in the inning.  Things started to take a drastic turn in the 4th inning.  Gobblers scored 1 run in the top of the frame on a Nick Robbins solo shot.  In the bottom of the inning, Slingers’ bats were beginning to wake up.  They’d score 3 runs on an RBI walk for Ryan Hall and a 2 RBI double off the bat of Greg Prestipino.  Gobblers would get the next two batters out to limit the damage, but this wouldn’t last long.  Slingers followed this up with 2 more runs in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 6 in the 7th.  The big blows came off the bats of Rockhill, Hall, and Prestipino, whose trio of homeruns combined for 5 RBI’s.  Rockhill also added a sac fly, James Amadeo contributed 2 RBI’s on a single and a fielder’s choice, and Jesse Daunno smacked an RBI double to round out the scoring.  Meanwhile, Gobblers were only able to muster up two runs in the same timeframe.  This came in the form of another solo blast off the bat of Robbins and an RBI single by Pepin.  Tim Klein added a solo homerun in the top of the 8th to bring the deficit to 13-5, but this would complete the scoring.  Slingers slammed the door shut on Gobblers and secured their 4th Championship!

            This was a close one early, but it was only a matter of time before Slingers, possibly the best offense across the league, broke loose.  It was a tough task for Gobblers, who were missing their best all-around player in pitcher and hit machine Nick Stahlman, but I’m not sure it would have impacted the outcome with the way Slingers was swinging the bats and playing the field.  Slingers made some excellent defensive stops in key situations and saw offensive contributions up and down the lineup.  Every single batter reached base at least once, and 8 of the 10 batters recorded multiple hits with a 9th reaching base multiple times including walks.  As a team, they batted an impressive .467 on the game while holding Gobblers to just a .289 average.  For Slingers, Joe Rockhill and Katie Burns each recorded 3 hits in the game.  However, MVP honors would have to go to Greg Prestipino, who’s 3 hits were also complimented by his game high 4 RBI’s.  Add in some great defensive play and it’s a pretty clear choice.  The loss came despite the efforts of Nick Robbins and Marc Pepin, who both went 2 for 4 at the plate and contributed 2 RBI’s apiece.

            Congratulations to both teams on a pair of great seasons, an excellent playoff run, and a hard-fought championship battle.  One of the best, if not the best, all around teams in our league in Slingers proved to be just too much for the streaking Gobblers.  Slingers flashed the leather in the field and slugged at the plate in their decisive championship victory.  Congratulations to the 2018 Fall Tony Perez Division Champions Slingers!!!  We look forward to seeing you both back next season.  Round two?


Congratulations to the 2018 Spring Tony Perez Division Champs - Slingers!!!

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