LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The Bombers and Legends matched up in a series that would close out opening night of the Premier League Wiffle® summer season. Both teams made some major changes in the offseason. The Bombers were involved in a Blockbuster trade with the Warbirds, while the Legends drafted former Warbird ace, Chad “Cheppa” Phillips with the first overall pick in the draft. The stage was set for a slugfest with two of the top offenses from the spring season facing off, and the wind blowing out at The Hideaway. Would the potent Bomber offense led by manager TJ Brown and home run champ Hollis “Hollywood” Hale simply slug their way to a fast start, or would the Legends lineup featuring Nick Sansone, Jason Stephenson, and Billy Osgood be up to the task?
Game one saw Legends ace Billy Osgood face off against one of the new Bombers, lefty Brian “Uncle B” Puter. Osgood got off to a great start, keeping the quick strike Bombers off the board in the first inning, and Uncle B was up to the task weathering a lead off double from Legends leadoff man Nick Sansone. The two would trade zeros in the second, but in the third inning the Legends’ bats would come alive. Four straight hits from the top of the Legends lineup, including back to back home runs on back to back pitches from Tony “Rocket” Garay and Billy Osgood produced a five run inning, and the Legends did not look back. Rookie Alex Garcia added his first PLW home run in the fourth, and Osgood pitched a two hit shutout to start the series.
Game two featured Bomber’s rookie Trevor Bauer, and first overall draft pick Chad Phillips toeing the slab. The Bombers jumped out early on Phillips in the first, as TJ Brown led off with a single, and home run champ Hollis “Hollywood” Hale did what he does, crushing a two-run homer to left field. Not to be outdone, the Legends introduced Bauer to PLW by getting four straight batters on base, and promptly walked the rookie out of the game in the first without recording an out. Manager TJ Brown took the ball in relief, and he was able to keep the inning from getting out of hand, but the Legends took a 4-2 lead to end the inning. Phillips settled down the rest of the way, and with the exception of the first hit by pitch in PLW history on Michael Dean, and a walk to Hollywood, he allowed no other baserunners en route to a complete game victory. The Legends scored runs in the second, third, and fourth innings, including Osgood’s second homer of the series, as the Legends cruised to a game two victory.
In the final game of the evening, Bombers manager TJ Brown took the matter into his own hands, while the Legends sent Casey Taravella to the hill. Taravella sat the Bombers down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the inning Brown showed his veteran moxie, as the Bombers escaped the inning without allowing a run. The top of second was the same for the Bombers, as Taravella looked good early. Brown got Garcia to strike out to start the bottom of the inning, but he hung a breaking ball to Sansone, and Sansone did not miss that mistake pitch, hitting it deep into the left center palm trees. Stephenson followed with a double, and then after two uncharacteristic Bomber errors, the Legends took a 2-0 lead at the end of two innings. The Bombers got a couple of runners on in the third, but Taravella and the Legends were able to wiggle out of the jam. The Legends added a pair of runs in the bottom of the third off the bats of Sansone, Stephenson and Garay, taking a 4-0 lead into the fourth. The Bombers mounted a rally in the fourth with a walk, and another two-run shot from Hollywood, cutting the lead in half. In the top of the fifth, the Bombers were able to walk Taravella out of the game, and the Legends brought in Cheppa to close the door. Cheppa made a diving infield play to save a force out at second. Then Hale came to the plate against Phillips representing the tying run. Phillips walked Hollywood, bringing Michael Dean to the plate as the potential go-ahead run. Dean struck out swinging, and Cheppa earned the save, securing the sweep for the Legends.