Mariners capture second straight VBL title
by Gary Williams
|Members of the VBL champion Middle Peninsula Mariners include, front row from left, J.C. Moscicki, Ryan Reynolds, Trey Powell, Travis Crump and Bryan Hannum; back row, Gary Williams, Matt Tiller, Greg Mitro, James Bierlein, William Saunders, Scott Crump, Drew Hooper and manager Garland Harrow.|
The Middle Peninsula Mariners (19-2, 14-2) defeated the Tappahannock Tides 8-4 Sunday to claim their second straight Virginia Baseball League (VBL) championship.
With the playoff wins, Middle Peninsula finished with a best-ever 19-2 season record.
|Mariner shortstop Scott Crump runs down Will Clark of the Tappahannock Tides between second and third base during Sunday’s title game. Clark was caught off second base when the Tides’ Jordan Wind hit a ground ball to Mariners pitcher Matt Tiller. Above, ready at second base for the Mariners is Greg Mitro, while Trey Powell (#8) is at third. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)|
|Tappahannock Tides’ runner Jordan Wind made it to second base during the rundown of teammate Will Clark during Sunday’s title game.. Above, Mariners second baseman Greg Mitro takes the throw from shortstop Scott Crump, who had just tagged out Clark. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)|
VBL president Paul Sanders congratulated the Mariners after the championship game. “I would like to congratulate the Middle Peninsula Mariners on another championship season of VBL baseball. Garland Harrow and Gary Williams continue to do a superb job with their players and creating such an exciting atmosphere for all to experience. Working with these two men sure makes my job as president much easier.
“I also give a big hat’s off to Trent Carson and the Tappahannock Tides,” said Sanders. “Best of luck to these two teams, their coaches and players during the off season, and I look forward to an even greater year in 2010.”
The Mariners began their playoff run with a 6-1 victory over the Tappahannock Tigers on Saturday.
Mariners first baseman Bryan Hannum pushed across Middle Peninsula’s first run with an RBI single in the second inning, but Tappahannock tied the game 1-1.
Middle Peninsula woke up the bats in the bottom of the fourth, scoring 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk. James Bierlein started the inning with a walk and Greg Mitro followed with a double. A sacrifice fly from Scott Crump and a double from Hannum game the Mariners a 4-1 advantage.
Travis Crump extended the lead when he singled home Ryan Reynolds and later scored on a passed ball.
Mariners’ starting pitcher William Saunders (4-2) was dominant on the mound, allowing just one run on 3 hits while striking out 9.
Hannum paced Middle Peninsula at the plate going 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base. Also for the Mariners, S. Crump, double, single, sacrifice fly, RBI; Mitro, a double; T. Crump, single, stolen base, RBI; Reynolds, single, walk, stolen base; and J.C. Moscicki and Bierlein, a walk each.
Middle Peninsula downed the Richmond Braves 8-2 in the second round of the VBL playoffs on Saturday. The Braves are the only team to defeat the Mariners this season.
Richmond looked to notch another win against the Mariners as they took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
The Mariners quickly regained the lead in the third inning on a 2-run double by Mitro.
Hannum scored in the fourth on a double play to extend the Mariners lead to 4-1.
A three-run fifth inning broke the game open for Middle Peninsula. Bierlein sparked the rally with a double and later scored on an error. Hannum and Reynolds capped the inning with RBI singles, giving the Mariners a 6-1 lead.
The Braves pushed across a run in the sixth and threatened to bring home more runs until Mariners’ starting pitcher Bierlein (3-0, 2) struck out the final 2 batters of the inning.
Bierlein allowed just one earned run with no walks and struck out 9 on the way to his third win of the season.
Offensively for the Mariners, Bierlein had 2 doubles and an RBI; Mitro, double, walk, RBI; S. Crump, 2 singles, RBI; Hannum, single, walk, RBI; Trey Powell, single, hit by a pitch; Reynolds, single, RBI; T. Crump, single; Hooper, 2 hit by a pitch; and Moscicki, walk.
The Mariners faced off against their longtime rival, the Tappahannock Tides, in Sunday’s Virginia Baseball League championship game.
The Mariners wasted no time taking the lead as they pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first. T. Crump was hit by a pitch to start the inning and quickly stole second. Hooper followed with an RBI double and later scored on a balk.
Hannum scored in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by T. Crump to push the lead to 3-0.
William Saunders broke the game open for the Mariners in the sixth with a 2-run home run to left in just his seventh at bat of the season. Bierlein pushed home another run with a double, and Mitro scored 2 more runs with a single.
Tappahannock scored one run in the sixth and rallied for 3 runs in the seventh before Mariners’ starting pitcher Matt Tiller (7-0) struck out the final Tides’ batter, giving Middle Peninsula their second straight Virginia Baseball League title.
Tiller struck out 7 on the way to his seventh complete game win of the season. Tiller was unbeaten on the year and now has two championship game wins on the mound.
Saunders paced Middle Peninsula at the plate with a home run, two RBIs and reached on an error. Also for the Mariners, Mitro had a single, 2 RBIs, walk, and a stolen base; Bierlein, double, RBI, 2 walks; Hooper, double, 2 walks, RBI; T. Crump, 2 hit by a pitch, walk, 2 stolen bases, sacrifice fly, RBI; Hannum, double, walk; S. Crump, single; Powell, 2 walks.
The Mariners thanked all of its fans and parents of players for making this season a success.
“I would like to thank Scott Crump for helping take care of the field during the season,” said Harrow. “Also, a thanks to coach Gary Williams for helping to build the team and promote it.”
Harrow also gave a special thanks to the Duke family for running the concession stand all season.
The team recognized its sponsor, Harrow’s Home Center, for its continued support of Mariners baseball.