LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The Sandvipers were knocked out of the Spring Kick-Off Classic Tournament on Sunday morning in an 11-0 rout, but they would get a rematch on Monday evening. The Warbirds were coming off a tournament championship, and superstar Randy Dalbey was still in town, so the birds had lots of confidence going into the series. After going a perfect 6-0 on the weekend, and picking up perhaps the best Wiffle® ball player on this side of the Mississippi, it’s hard to not expect to win every game.
In game one of the doubleheader Matt “Mattlanta” Petrikas hit a solo shot to put the Warbirds up 1-0 in the first inning, but Adam Tanic and Tom Gannon went back to back to lead off the second. After Casey Herzog held the Warbirds scoreless, Tanic and Gannon led off the third by going back to back yet again, but the flood gates would open in the bottom of the inning. Herzog was lit up in the third for seven runs, giving up home runs to Dalbey and Mattlanta, and three doubles to go along with them. The Sandvipers answered with a five run rally in the top of the fourth, with Tanic hitting his third homer of the game, a three-run bomb that tied the game at 7-7, followed by a solo homer from Herzog to take an 8-7 lead. Nate Serisky hit a lead off triple in the bottom of the fourth, followed by a two run shot off the bat of KJ Lacroix to retake the lead once again. The Warbirds would tack on a couple more runs on a two-run single from Serisky, and that’s all the Warbirds would need, as they went on to win 12-10 in a back and forth slugfest.
The second game of the series was more of a pitchers’ duel. Gannon got the start for the Sandvipers, and the Warbirds gave the ball to their lefty Brian Puter. Puter got through the first inning as the opener for the Warbirds, and then they turned to Mattlanta, who had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP in nine innings of work over the weekend. Mattlanta traded zeros with Gannon for the next two innings, and in the top of the fourth the Warbirds broke through, as Dalbey and Puter each hit solo homers off Gannon before Serisky walked him out of the game. Things fell apart quickly for the Sandvipers rotation after that, as Tanic and Trench Picone both walked out in the fifth. Mattlanta welcomed Jason Walker to the game with a grand slam after Tanic and Picone loaded the bases for him, giving the Warbirds a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Tanic hit a three-run shot in the final frame, but it was a case of too little, too late, as the Warbirds held on to win 6-3, sweeping the Sandvipers.
The Calicos and Stone Men matched up in the second doubleheader of the night to finish off their season series. The Calicos walked Stone Men starter Jimmy Talamantez out after just three batters, and manager Nick DiVella hit a grand slam off Dylan Martin in his first batter of the game. The Stone Men would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the first thanks to a double from Martin followed by an RBI single from Talamantez, but Calicos ace James “FJ” Stein wouldn’t allow another baserunner for the remainder of the game. The Calicos were also blanked by Martin for the next four innings, and 4-1 would be the final score.
In game two the Stone Men opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first on a single by Talamantez followed by an RBI double from manager Levi Lawrence. In the bottom of the inning FJ doubled home a run to tie the game at 1-1, and he would trade zeros with Lawrence for the next two innings. In the top of the fourth Talamantez hit a monster two-run homer off FJ, but Matty Levine would hit an RBI double to get one of those runs back. Martin hit an RBI double of his own to answer Levine, putting the Stone Men up 4-2, and Lawrence was able to finish the Calicos off for another complete game win.
The final series of the night was between the Tomahawks and The Ones. In game one Cody Schmidt hit an RBI double to give manager Ryan Chen the lead before he even had to toe the rubber. Tomahawks manager Jason Stephenson hit an RBI double of his own to tie the game in the bottom of the second, but Chen would only allow one baserunner for the rest of the game on a single from Stephenson. Scottez Dobbins led off the fourth inning with a home run, and they would tack on two more to take a 4-1 lead. That’s all they would need, as Chen shut the door, striking out 10 batters in a complete game effort.
Chen would take the ball again in game two, and the Tomahawks lineup would fare a little better the second time around, but he didn’t allow a crooked number yet again in another complete game effort. Billy Osgood drove in a run in each of the first two innings, but the 2-0 lead didn’t last long, as Adrian Gutierrez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the second, and Adam Koutz hit two-run shots in both the third and fourth, giving The Ones a 9-3 lead going into the final inning. Chen shut the door yet again, completing the sweep with a decisive 9-3 victory, and he appears to be finding his groove pitching.
The next Premier League Wiffle® action will be tonight, Thursday, April 1st. The Stone Men and Snappers face off at 5:15pm PDT, followed by Warbirds vs. Snappers at 7pm, and Sandvipers vs. The Ones at 8:30pm. Tune in LIVE on Twitch!