LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The first place Sandvipers were swept for the first time this season by the Calicos in Thursday’s first doubleheader. The Calicos had their ace James “FJ” Stein, who leads the league in ERA, and when FJ drives down from Utah the Calicos are a different animal. They now have the second most wins in the league despite playing the fewest games, and may challenge the Sandvipers for the top playoff seed.
The Calicos pitching tandem of FJ and Alex Carrasco shut the Sandvipers out in the first game, with the only hit coming from Jason Walker in the second inning. The Vipers only struck out three times, but they made lots of weak contact for easy outs. The Calicos scored a pair of runs in the second inning off Sandvipers ace Adam Tanic, walking him out of the game in the process. They tacked on two more against Tom Gannon in the bottom of the fourth, taking game one of the series with a 4-0 win. The last time the Sandvipers lost a game by more than one run was the first game of the season when they were shut out by the Warbirds’ Brian Puter.
In game two the Calicos walked Sandvipers starter Casey Herzog out of the game after just three batters, and Stein hit a double to clear the bases, putting the Calicos up 3-0. The Sandvipers got two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double from Gannon followed by an RBI single from Herzog, but they would only have one hit for the remainder of the game, a single from Tanic. The Calicos were also held scoreless after the first inning, but they held on for the 3-2 win.
The next series was between the Bombers and Warbirds. The Bombers only had four players in attendance: Manager TJ Brown, ace Brandon Maio, Hollis Hale, and Dave Seifert. In the first game of the doubleheader the Bombers were able to walk Warbirds’ ace Chad Phillips out of the game, and they put up five runs in the first inning. Matt Petrikas was able to shut the Bombers short lineup down for the next two innings, but they would break through in the fourth inning, scoring four more runs. Maio threw a complete game shutout for the Bombers in the 9-0 win, and the only Warbirds batter he seemed to have trouble with was Petrikas, who went 4-4 with two doubles and two singles.
The Bombers would shut the Warbirds out again in game two, but this time each of their four players pitched, and Hale was the only Bombers pitcher to allow a hit. The Warbirds defense made three errors, allowing the Bombers to score five unearned runs in the second inning. They would tack on an earned run in the fifth, and went on to win 6-0, sweeping the Warbirds with only four players.
The Ones and Stone Men squared off in the third doubleheader of the night. In game one Cody Schmidt and Dylan Martin traded zeros for the first three innings, but both starters would walk out in the fourth. The Stone Men’s newest addition Joseph Carpenter hit an RBI single off Ones reliever Ray Guerrero, and then Austin “Bird” Bull hit a single to drive in another run. In the bottom of the inning Schmidty hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half, and he drove in another run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the fifth to send the game to extra innings. In extras both teams plated the runner placed on second to start the inning, and Schmidty hit what looked to be a walk-off home run, but Levi Lawrence reached over the fence and brought it back, ending the inning. Guerrero was able to leave the artificial runner stranded on second base in the seventh, and Carpenter was able to do the same, so the game ended in the first tie of the season.
In the second game Lawrence took the ball himself, and he traded zeros with Ray Guerrero for the first three innings of the game. In the fourth Levi held The Ones, but Guerrero hung a pitch to Jimmy Talamantez, and Talamantez deposited it over the fence. After getting the lead, Lawrence was able to finish the complete game shutout. Three of the Stone Men’s four wins have come in 1-0 games, and each time it’s been Lawrence shutting a team down.
The final doubleheader of the night was between the Snappers and Tomahawks. In game one the Snappers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a grand slam from Taylor Bryner and an RBI double from Jonathan Wilson. Billy Osgood would settle in after that, and didn’t allow another hit for the remainder of the game, but the damage had already been done. Osgood and manager Jason Stephenson both hit home runs, but the Snappers would get the 7-3 win.
In the final game of the night the Snappers shut the Tomahawks out with the combined efforts of co-manager Peter Mavro, Wilson, and Bryner. Jamie Chhay hit a double, but that was the only hit the Tomahawks would get. Bryner hit another home run, and every batter in the Snappers lineup had a .500 on base percentage in the 6-0 win. The Snappers have now won four in a row, and they look poised to climb the standings for the rest of the season.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
The Premier League Wiffle® Player of the Week award for week six goes to Taylor Bryner. He had a .529 batting average, nine hits, four of which were home runs, drove in 15 runs, and had a 2.000 on base plus slugging for the week. Bryner also pitched a complete game, and picked up a pitching win against the Bombers.
The next PLW action will be on Monday, March 22nd. There will be three doubleheaders, beginning with Bombers vs. Sandvipers at 5:30pm PDT, followed by Tomahawks vs. Stone Men at 7pm, and Calicos vs. The Ones at 8:30pm. Tune in LIVE on Twitch!