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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


Armed and dangerous, Nickum hurls Cobras 
to title

World Series back in Coors Light camp

Express Staff Writer

The Coors Light Cobras captured the seventh annual Wood River World Series in convincing style Saturday at Hailey’s Founders Field.

The Cobras won the first two games in the best-of-three series against the Waxroom Snappers by scores of 8-2 and 23-17 to claim their fourth World Series championship.

It ended the three-month Sun Valley Adult Baseball League season and gave the Cobras (14-3 season) their fourth World Series title. The sweep dethroned last year’s Sun Valley Men’s Adult Baseball League playoff champion Snappers (10-6).

Much of the Cobras success can be attributed directly to the right arm of pitching ace Christian Nickum.

The Coors Light Cobras captured the seventh annual Wood River World Series in convincing style Aug. 24 at Hailey’s Founders Field. The Cobras won the first two games in the best-of-three series against the Waxroom Snappers by scores of 8-2 and 23-17. It ended the three-month Sun Valley Adult Baseball League season and gave the Cobras (14-3 season) their fourth World Series title. Here, the victorious Cobras pose after their World Series championship. Front, from left, Jim Jaquet, Jesse Deckard, player/coach Dave Fox, Brian Nelson, James Nelson and Bryan Burrell. Back, from left, Jeff Farrow, Phillip Uhrig, Anthony Anderson, Christian Nickum, Dan Gearhart, Zach Sewell, Jeff Burrell, Brent Anderson and Hoss Schmidt. Express photo by Jody Zarkos

"Christian is the best pitcher in the league," Cobras player-manager Dave Fox said. "We are a great team with him pitching and we are a very good team with anyone else pitching."

The stats don’t lie.

Most Valuable Player of both the series and the SVMABL, Nickum threw 15 of 18 innings in the two-game World Series. He surrendered 18 hits (just four in the first game, a complete-game win) and 12 runs.

Even more telling, the Snappers .364 team batting average during the season dipped to .287 in the series. The Cobras out-hit the Snappers 13-4 in the first game and 20-19 in the high-scoring finale.

"Nickum is awesome," Snappers player-manager John Rathfon said. "I would play behind him anytime."

In a head-to-head matchup at Founder’s Field Saturday morning, Nickum got the best of Rathfon in a duel of tough righthanders.

In a 103-pitch performance, Nickum fanned eight, scattered four hits and didn’t issue a walk in an 8-2 Cobras victory. Only one of the runs scored by the Snappers was earned.

"You just try and stick the bat out there," Snappers outfielder Chris Zarkos half-joked.

Rathfon pitched a complete game as well. He scattered 11 hits, but didn’t whiff any Cobras.

And the Cobras consistently came up with timely hits and fine defensive plays when needed


Cobras 8, Snappers 2

After being hit by a pitch, Nickum scored the first run of the series on a double by Jeff Burrell (2 hits) in the second inning.

Ageless Jim Jaquet doubled to lead off the third and came around on a fielder’s choice by Brian Nelson. Dave Fox’s single scored leadoff man Bryan Burrell for a 3-0 lead.

The Snappers made it onto the scoreboard in the fourth. Shortstop James Cordes singled and stole second to put himself in scoring position.

An error in the outfield scored Cordes and advanced Curtis Bacca to second for a 3-1 game, but the Cobras stifled the potential rally by turning 4-3 grounders on the next two hitters.

The Snakes opened up their lead in the home half. Hoss Schmidt jacked a leadoff homer and Nickum came around on another RBI hit by Jeff Burrell for a 5-1 advantage.

In the fifth, Rathfon smoked a single, stole second and crossed home on an RBI by Lars Hovey, but once again, the Brian Nelson-to-Dave Fox combination collected two outs to bail the Cobras out of the frame.

Inserted in the fifth inning, Brent Anderson packed some punch in the bottom of the order, roping two hits and scoring two runs to push the lead to 6-2. Bryan Burrell also scored again for a final score of 8-2.


Cobras 23, Snappers 17

Brent Anderson, who sports bright yellow socks only Charlie Finley could love, was given the ball for game two. Lars Hovey started for the Snaps. Neither was around at the end.

Anderson allowed only two hits through the first three innings and carried a 7-1 lead into the fourth, thanks to some excellent team hitting and one great defensive play.

Trailing 4-1, the Snappers had the bases loaded in the home third when Rathfon ripped a sinking liner to right field. Going to his right, Jeff Burrell made a spectacular diving catch that saved three runs and maybe more.

"That was phenomenal," Nickum said. "We were fired up."

The next inning, the Snappers erupted for 11 runs and would have gotten more, except for a pair of outstanding catches by first baseman Anthony Anderson.

With one out, Hovey singled and came around after Brent Anderson issued three consecutive walks. Anthony Naghsh singled and Cordes (5-for-6, 4 RBI) tripled to clear the bases and tie the game 7-7.

Cobras skipper Fox immediately handed the ball to the man with the golden gun, Nickum. "Christian wanted the ball," Fox said. "I wasn’t going to tell him no."

Nickum’s arm was dead, but his desire was strong. This year the Cobras beat the Snappers five straight times including the World Series, and Nickum pitched 42 of the 45 frames.

The Snappers were not done playing their version of smash hits.

Billy Neal, Rathfon (double), Zarkos (3 hits), Hovey and Jimmy Hart all knocked hits in the big rally as the Snappers finally got to Nickum. The Cobras trailed 12-7 by the time the 16-batter rally ended.

"I was honestly thinking of game three at that point," Fox said.

Brent Anderson was not. Whatever frustration he experienced on the mound, he didn’t bring it to the plate.

After Bryan Burrell and Fox (3 hits) scored runs, Brent Anderson jacked a two-run homer to cut the Waxroom’s lead to one, 12-11. The Cobras tacked on eight more runs in the sixth, including another two-run homer by Brent Anderson (3 hits).

"Brent stepped up huge," Fox said. His brother Anthony Anderson added a three-run double in the rally.

In the home eighth, trailing 23-13, the Snappers stubbornly climbed back in the game. Cordes led off with a single, Bacca walked, and Matt Buxton singled in Cordes.

With a jaw you could cut yourself on and the will to match, #5 hitter Rathfon ripped a two-run double close the gap to 23-16.

Reliever Tim Carter garnered his second straight 1-2-3 inning against the Cobras in the ninth—center fielder Buxton making some fine running catches—and the Snappers picked up their bats again.

Carter doubled, Anthony Naghsh walked, and Cordes doubled to score Carter. Bacca reached on a base-on-balls. Faced with bases loaded and two out, Nickum buckled down with a whiff to clinch the game 23-17.

"I was pretty tired at that point," Nickum said. "I was just trying to throw strikes. Luckily our defense played great."

Fox concurred, "Everyone hit the ball. Everyone stepped up. I think we are the best team in the league, especially with Christian, and we played like it."

Check next week’s Local Life for a team photo of the winning Cobras, or visit this week’s Web site to see it.


Season batting averages

Cobras—Anthony Anderson .630, Dave Fox .500, Brian Nelson .473, Dan Gearhart .392, Brent Anderson .375, Hoss Schmidt .333, Kenny Nelson .333, Zach Sewell .322, James Nelson .312, Jim Jaquet .285, Bryan Burrell .280, Jesse Deckard .259, Jeff Burrell .240, Christian Nickum .193, Jeff Farrow .117.

Snappers—John Rathfon .585, James Cordes .512, Billy Neal .415, Cam Lloyd .412, Curtis Bacca .404, Matt Buxton .393, Chris Zarkos .373, Kevin Mora .371, Max Paisley .333, Jimmy Hart .318, Lars Hovey .273, Tim Mott .233, Tim Carter .222, Anthony Naghsh .171.


World Series averages

Cobras (.369 team batting)—Brent Anderson .714, Jaquet .600, Schmidt .500, Gearhart .500, Fox .444, J. Nelson .400, J. Burrell .375, Sewell .333, B. Burrell .285, B. Nelson .285, A. Anderson .285, Nickum .166.

Snappers (.287 team batting)—Cordes .666, Zarkos .500, Hart .428, Rathfon .375, Neal .333, Hovey .285, Buxton .166, Naghsh .142, Carter .142.





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