There was little doubt about the Most Valuable Player of last weekend's Blaine County Title Sun Valley Men's Adult Baseball League "World Series" finale at Founders Field.
It was southpaw pitcher Riley Nash, who put the Waxroom Snappers on his back by pitching 23 innings in two days, whiffing 22 batters and allowing just one earned run in 8-2 and 2-1 victories over Lefty's River Dogs. He walked just two batters in the 23 innings of work.
Nash's performance in Sunday's deciding game of the best two-of-three series was nothing short of incredible. So was the game itself, a three-hour, 14-inning marathon that was tied 0-0 through 10 innings.
It was a great game, Nash and River Dogs' hurler Scott Seaward matching zeros, and the respective defenses rising to the occasion.
Pitching on 24 hours rest after throwing a nine-inning complete game in Saturday's opener, Nash was a workhorse—throwing 217 pitches, 144 for strikes. He allowed just nine hits and kept feeding the River Dogs a diet of ground balls. First baseman Dan Freeman ended with 20 putouts.
Was he tired after leading the Snappers to their first "World Series" title since 2001? Certainly a little, Nash said afterwards, but the former Wood River High School pitcher found a comfortable angle for his delivery that relieved the constant pressure on his throwing arm.
The Snappers, the visiting team, broke the scoreless tie in the 11th when shortstop Matt Buxton worked a great at-bat into a ground ball double down the third base line, then scored on a two-out single off the bat of second baseman Eric Demment.
First-half season champion River Dogs tied it 1-1 in the home 11th when catcher Bryan Burrell (3 hits) lined a single over second base, advanced on an opposite-field single by right fielder Nelson Drewien and scored on a wild pitch.
The score remained tied until the 14th, when Snappers first baseman Dan Freeman ripped a single to left and was cut down at second on a strong throw from Bradley Thompson to second sacker Jeff Sarchett.
The next batter, Pat McGee, had been robbed twice in the series by Drewien on long fly balls to right field. This time, Drewien's diving shoestring catch attempt couldn't prevent McGee (2 hits) from legging out a clutch line drive double.
One out later, Snappers catcher Paul Creighton (2 hits) singled McGee home with the eventual game winner. But the Dogs weren't dead.
A one-out single by Thompson followed by the third hit off the bat of Dogs first baseman Josiah Drewien put runners on the corners—but Nash hitched up his pants and enticed an infield pop-up and a fielder's choice grounder to end the contest.
The equal of Nash in a terrific pitcher's duel was righthander Seaward of Lefty's. In 14 innings of great work Seaward threw 183 pitches, 124 for strikes. Nearly always ahead on the count while Nash was constantly battling from behind, Seaward scattered 10 hits, issued four free passes and whiffed 11 Snappers for the game. One break here and there and he was the winner.
The catchers, Creighton of the Snappers and Burrell of the Dogs, were marvelous as well in certainly the longest championship game in the 10 years of "World Series." Great defensive plays were numerous, led by the work of Buxton and Demment in the Snappers middle infield, and Rod Watson at the Dogs shortstop.
Statistically evenly matched throughout the 15-game season, the teams played off each other well in the final series. They made only a combined six errors in 14 frames of sound defensive baseball Sunday.
The River Dogs and Snappers split two games Saturday afternoon to set up Sunday's rubber game. The Snappers won 8-2, then the River Dogs held off a Snappers rally 9-8.
In the opener, Nash put together one of his best outings with a complete-game nine-hitter and 12 strikeouts. He didn't allow an earned run and was supported by a 13-hit Snapper attack featuring a two-run Pat McGee double making the score 5-0.
McGee was a central figure in the second game as well.
The River Dogs (17 hits) scored early and often and built a 7-1 lead in the sixth. Then, in the Snappers sixth, Dogs right fielder Nelson Drewien made a sensational running catch at the fence to rob McGee of a potential grand slam homer.
It was the first of four innings in which the Snappers jammed the bases, but River Dog pitchers Jimmy Jorgensen and Seaward bore down and escaped the damaging big inning. Jorgensen ended up pitching 16 innings Saturday, and Seaward came on in the eighth for the save.
Robin Sarchett and Jorgensen each had four hits for the River Dogs and Seaward added three safeties in the nightcap victory. Sarchett scored the eventual winning run on a Seaward one-out double in the eighth.
Check out more photos of the "World Series," and of the new champions in an upcoming Local Life edition.
2005 Blaine County Title SV Men's Adult Baseball League
"World Series" final results
TEAM, OVERALL REC. RUNS, VS. REC. RUNS VS.
Waxroom Snappers (6-6, 97-115) 2-1 18 12
Lefty's River Dogs (8-4, 101-74) 1-2 12 18
"WORLD SERIES" RESULTS
Lefty's River Dogs 9, Waxroom Snappers 8
Facing elimination, the River Dogs built a 7-1 lead in the sixth then watched the Snappers chip away and eventually put the tying run in scoring position during the 2-run ninth. Lefty's starting pitcher Jimmy Jorgensen picked up where he left off in Saturday's early game, holding the Snappers scoreless in the first three frames—making it eight straight innings in which the Snappers didn't score against Jorgensen's offerings. Meanwhile, the River Dogs tacked on 3 runs in the first frame after a leadoff hit by Robin Sarchett (4 hits, 2 RBI). Nelson Drewien (2 hits) and Jorgensen (4 hits) contributed RBI singles in the first and Bradley Thompson drew a bases-loaded walk, his first of 3 free passes, as the Dogs batted around. In the fourth, singles by Jorgensen, Josiah Drewien (2 hits) and Robin Sarchett sparked a 3-run Dogs uprising against Snappers starter Dan Freeman. Then, in the sixth, Nelson Drewien's leadoff single, a two-out walk to Josiah Drewien and a Jeff Sarchett single loaded the sacks for Robin Sarchett, who singled for a 7-1 Dogs cushion. It didn't last long. The Snappers got an unearned run in the home sixth and would have had more, if not for Nelson's Drewien's sensational catch at the right field fence to rob Pat McGee from a grand slam HR. The Snappers regrouped and pushed across 4 runs in the home seventh—Tyler Wheeler (2 runs) delivering an RBI grounder, Tyson Reynoso adding an RBI single and Curtis Bacca ripping an RBI double to the left field fence. Its lead cut to 8-6, the River Dogs got the eventual winning run in the eighth when Robin Sarchett lined a one-out single and Scott Seaward (3 hits) clouted an RBI double. Meanwhile, Seaward took over on the mound for a struggling Jorgensen in the eighth, after Jorgy issued two leadoff walks and completed his string of 16 innings pitched for the afternoon. Seaward escaped from yet another Snappers bases-loaded jam with three infield grounders. In the home ninth, however, it was Seaward's turn to issue a pair of leadoff walks, then he plunked a batter. With the sacks full for the fourth straight inning, Seaward bore down and got an infield pop-up and strikeout. Matt Buxton (3 hits) made the score 9-8 with a 2-run single, but Seaward enticed a grounder to shortstop and kept the River Dogs alive for another day. Seaward earned the save, and Jorgensen the hard-fought win—despite the fact that they issued 10 free passes while allowing 9 Snapper hits.
Waxroom Snappers 8, Lefty's River Dogs 2
Snappers southpaw starter Riley Nash (12 K) struck out the side in the first inning en route to a complete-game 9-hitter. He set down the River Dogs 1-2-3 four times. Meanwhile, the Snappers (13 hits) got Nash runs early, with 2 runs in the first, 4 runs in the third and 2 more in the fourth. Dan Freeman and Eric Demment (2 hits, 2 RBI) delivered run-scoring singles in the first. After a leadoff hit by Curtis Bacca in the third, Pat McGee belted a 2-run double and Demment added an RBI grounder. Tyler Wheeler (2 hits) ripped an RBI triple and scored in the fifth to complete the Snappers scoring against River Dogs righty Jimmy Jorgensen, who settled down and held the Snappers scoreless for the final five innings. Snappers: Matt Buxton 2 hits, Mark Elsbree 2 runs. River Dogs: Rod Watson 3 hits, Jorgensen 2 hits.
Waxroom Snappers 2, Lefty's River Dogs 1 (14 innings)
Wood River World Series champions:
2005—Waxroom Snappers. 2004—Coors Light Cyclones. 2003—River Dogs. 2002—Cobras. 2001—Snappers. 1999 and 2000—Cobras. 1998—Alley Cats. 1997—Cobras. 1996—Snappers.