LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – There were three doubleheaders on Thursday night, and the Bombers played a four game set on Saturday afternoon. Going into Thursday, the magic number for the Sandvipers to secure the top seed was four. This means that the Sandvipers would need four wins, or four losses from the Bombers, or any combination of Sandvipers wins and Bombers losses that adds up to four. The Tomahawks and Stone Men are out of the playoff picture, but The Ones, Warbirds, Calicos, Snappers, and Bombers are all fighting for the last four spots, and it looks like it’ll come down to the final week of the season.
The first series on Thursday was between the Snappers and Stone Men. The Snappers took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-run homer from Shane Weber, and an RBI double from Jonathan Wilson. Joseph Carpenter answered with a two-run homer of his own in the top of the second, and the score remained 3-2 until the Snappers broke through for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, including a two-run homer from Wilson. Taylor Bryner would get the win in three innings of relief, and the Snappers would take the first game 8-2.
Carpenter would hit another home run to lead off the second game of the doubleheader. In the top of the second Manny Santillanes Jr. hit a two-run double to give the snappers a 2-1 lead, and Weber hit another home run to make it 4-1. Santillanes would hit a solo shot in the third, and Levi Lawrence answered with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning. The Snappers would go on to get the 5-2 win, and the sweep.
The Ones and Bombers faced off in the second series of the evening. The Bombers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of game one, and that’s all their ace Brandon Maio would need, as he threw a complete game shutout, allowing only two hits to a heavy hitting Ones lineup. Both hits were off the bat of Scottez Dobbins, who had a single and a double. The Bombers would tack on another run in the third inning for the 5-0 win.
The Bombers would give the ball to Maio again in game two, and again he would throw a complete game. This time The Ones were able to score a pair of runs on a two-run homer from Adam Koutz, but that’s all they would get. Bombers manager TJ Brown, Hollis Hale, CJ Peterson, and Brandon Maio each had multiple hits, and the Bombers would go on to win 8-2, sweeping The Ones.
The Sandvipers played against the Tomahawks in the final series on Thursday night. The Vipers put up five runs in the first inning, and that’s all starter Trench Picone would need. An RBI single from Casey Taravella, and a two-run double from Brad Ogden would make the score 5-3, but Picone would shut the Tomahawks out for the remainder of the game for the complete game win. Picone also hit a pair of home runs to help his cause, manager Adam Tanic had a hat trick with three homers, Tom Gannon also hit one out, and the Sandvipers would get the 14-3 win.
The final game of the night was a back and forth battle between the team at the top of the standings, and the team in the basement. Billy Osgood hit a two-run bomb to center field in the top of the first inning off Tanic, and Tanic hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning to make the score 2-1. Gannon hit an RBI double in the second to tie the game, and scored on a clean single from Picone to give the Sandvipers a 3-2 lead. Nick Sansone hit a solo shot off Tanic in the top of the fourth, but Tanic hit one off Sansone in the bottom of the inning. Tomahawks manager Jason Stephenson hit a two-run double to tie the game at 5-5 in the fifth, but Tanic hit another homer, his sixth of the series, and second hat trick, to walk-off a 7-5 win, sweeping the Tomahawks.
On Saturday afternoon the Calicos and Bombers played four games. Barry Hutter hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first to put the Calicos on the board in game one, but CJ Peterson tied the game with a double of his own in the top of the second. The Calicos were able to walk Maio out of the game in the third inning, but Peter “Moc” Mocabee came in and shut the Calicos down. The Bombers would break through for three runs in the fourth, and took game one with a 4-1 win.
In game two Alex Carrasco started for the Calicos, and Peter Mocabee started for the Bombers. Both pitchers walked out in the third inning, but James “FJ” Stein and Brandon Maio pitched in relief, and the game went into extra innings scoreless. Both teams would score the artificial runner placed on second base to start extra innings in the sixth, and the Calicos broke through for three runs in the seventh. They would get the 4-2 extra innings win.
TJ Brown started for the Bombers in the third game of the day, and he was able to shut the Calicos down. Bruce Huson hit an RBI single in the second inning, and an RBI double in the third to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead. Brown was one out away from throwing a complete game shutout when he walked out of the game, and he brought in Moc to face FJ. FJ hit a laser into one of the seats atop the storage container in left field, and walked it off for the Calicos for a dramatic 3-2 win. That win would clinch the top seed for the Sandvipers, so they will end the season in first place even if they don’t win another game.
The Bombers gave the ball back to their ace in the final game of the day, and Maio would not disappoint. He threw a complete game shutout, and only allowed three hits. Maio also only struck out four batters, so the Bombers played strong defense behind him, including a pair of great catches by Dave Seifert. Maio also walked it off with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, as they split the four game set with the Calicos.
The PLW Blue Stars, captained by Sandvipers Manager Adam Tanic will face off against the PLW Red Stars, captained by Chad Phillips, in the PLW All-Star Game Saturday night. The All-Star game will be a Twitch sub-a-thon, and will be about one hour long, but the timer will go up if viewers subscribe!