LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – All eight teams were back in action on Monday night, and pitchers were dealing for nearly every team. There were four shutouts, and half of the games were decided by a single run. Doubleheaders were played between the Sandvipers & Calicos, Bombers & Warbirds, Ones & Stone Men, and Tomahawks & Snappers. While there may be a lot of season left, the next few weeks will be a critical stretch for the top teams in the league to separate themselves from the pack.
The first series of the night pitted the Sandvipers against the Calicos. In the top of the first the Sandvipers loaded the bases with nobody out, but Alex Carrasco came into the game after James Stein walked his second batter, and he was able to get Trench Picone to ground out into the first triple play in Premier League Wiffle® history. Stein fielded the ground ball, stepped on third, and the Calicos were able to get the ball around the horn before the five seconds allotted to get the ghost runners expired. This would set the tone for the entire game, as both teams were able to get out of jams with runners on base. After four scoreless innings, Adam Tanic led off the final inning with a double, and two batters later Jason Walker hit a single to drive in the only run of the game. The Sandvipers pitching tandem of Picone and Tanic shut out the Calicos while striking out just three batters over five innings.
In game two the Calicos offense came alive, but unfortunately the Sandvipers got hot as well. Matty Levine hit a lead off home run to open the game, and they tacked on two more in the second, but in the bottom of the inning the Sandvipers broke the game open, scoring seven runs capped off by a grand slam from Picone, his second of the season. Picone also hit a bases clearing double in the fourth inning, and he had eight RBI in the 11-5 win.
The second doubleheader of the night was between the Bombers and Warbirds. The first game featured a pitchers duel between Bombers manager TJ Brown, and Warbirds ace Chad Phillips. The Warbirds scored one run off Brown in the first inning on a walk and two straight singles, but after that he would settle down, allowing just one hit over the next four innings before walking his second batter with two outs in the fifth inning. Phillips was dealing as well, as he held the Bombers scoreless through the first four innings. In the bottom of the fifth Hollis Hale hit a game tying solo home run to send the game into extra innings. Brian “Uncle B” Puter led off the extra frame with a double to score the artificial runner placed on second base to start the inning, driving in the game winning run for his team yet again, as Phillips was able to close it out in the bottom of the inning.
The Bombers jumped out to an early lead in game two, scoring four runs in the top of the first, and giving ace Brandon Maio a comfortable lead before he even went out to pitch. In the bottom of the third Uncle B struck again with a two run homer off Maio to cut the lead in half, and the following inning Maio walked his second batter. Jim Dodos was able to come in and get the final five outs, giving the Bombers a 4-2 win.
Two rookie teams, the Ones and Stone Men, faced off in the third doubleheader of the night. In the first game Cody Schmidt hit a two run homer in the first inning to put the Ones up 2-0, and in his next at bat he hit a three run homer to make the lead 5-0. The wheels fell off yet again for the Stone Men bullpen, and the Ones scored five more runs in the third to go up 10-0, walking the game off via the mercy rule.
The second game would go the full five innings, but the Ones jumped out to another early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first on a double from Joel Gutierrez. In the second inning Ones manager Ryan Chen hit a three run bomb, and two batters later Gutierrez hit a solo shot to put the Ones up 6-0. This would prove to be all Ones starter Cody Schmidt needed, as he had a perfect game through the first four innings. Stone Men manager Levi Lawrence hit a single to lead off the fifth, breaking up the perfect game bid, but Schmidt would induce a double play the very next batter, and struck out Jimmy Talamantez to end the game. Schmidt also threw three scoreless in the first game, so it’s safe to say the Ones have found their ace.
The Tomahawks squared off against the Snappers in the final series of the night. In the first game Snappers rookie Taylor Bryner toed the rubber, and he threw a complete game shutout, allowing just one hit, a single from Luke Jones in the second inning. Bryner also drove in the Snappers only run with a double in the second inning. Justin Schussler pitched 4⅓ innings for the Tomahawks allowing just the one run, but he wasn’t able to get any run support from the Tomahawks high powered offense.
In game two Shane Weber got the start for the Snappers, and he would go the distance as well. Tomahawks manager Jason Stephenson walked two straight batters in the second inning, and after Schussler walked his first batter in relief to load the bases, Jonathan Wilson hit a single to drive in two runs. Schussler hit a double to lead off the fourth inning, and scored on a Brad Ogden single to get one of those runs back, but Weber would bear down and get the final five outs to complete the sweep for the Snappers.
The next Premier League Wiffle® action will be on Thursday, February 25th. There will be three doubleheaders beginning with Bombers vs. Sandvipers at 5:30pm Pacific Time, followed by Tomahawks vs. Stone Men at 7pm, and Snappers vs. Warbirds at 8:30pm. Watch LIVE on YouTube!