This is one way to win an Independent League Championship

Discussion in 'Archive: The Arena' started by JediANGELA, Sep 29, 2008.

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  1. JediANGELA Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 28, 2002
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    http://www.mycentraljersey.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080929/SPORTS0104/809290356&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL


    Anderson's walkoff homer wins title for Patriots

    By RYAN DUNLEAVY ? STAFF WRITER ? September 29, 2008


    BRIDGEWATER ?Travis Anderson recently joked that he was going to draw a pension from the Atlantic League.

    The six-year Atlantic Leaguer earned every cent of that pay Monday night, hitting a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that clinched the Somerset Patriots their fourth title in 11 years with a 3-2 victory in Game 4 of the Championship Series in front of 3,642 at Commerce Bank Ballpark.

    "I guess he threw me the pitch that I dream about," Anderson said.

    Anderson, who spent three years with the Riversharks, teed off on a 2-1 pitch from closer Alec Zumwalt, dropping it over the left-field fence and bringing his teammates racing out of the dugout.

    One of the most beloved and respected Patriots, Anderson was hammered by his teammates as he jumped on home plate.

    "I'll get that pension now," the Flemington resident said, "because people are going to know me, I guess."

    Manager Sparky Lyle sure thought so.

    "There is only one place this trophy belongs," Lyle told the crowd, "with Travis Anderson."

    After being baffled for seven innings by Riversharks starting pitcher Jake Dittler, the Patriots pieced together an unexpected rally in the eighth against reliever Felix Rodriguez, an 11-year major-leaguer.

    Sean Smith capped a tough at-bat by sending a two-strike pitch to left field for a one-out double. Teuris Olivares followed with a RBI single up the middle and Josh Pressley walked.

    Then things got wild.

    Rodriguez struck out the Patriots' most feared hitter, Brandon Larson, on a mid-90s fastball but hit Jason Belcher with a two-strike pitch, then hit Matt Hagen with the bases to force in the tying run.

    "In a game like this," Anderson said, "mistakes are magnified."

    Closer Alec Zumwalt entered a bases-loaded jam and went to a full count on Ryan Radmanovich, injecting a season's best worth of life into Commerce Bank Ballpark, before getting the strikeout.

    Dittler was brilliant for seven innings but was at his finest when he struck out catcher Travis Anderson on the inside corner to end the seventh and strand the potential tying run in scoring position.

    Building on that momentum, the Riversharks stormed out in the eighth against reliever Jon Hunton.

    L.J. Biernbaum led off with a single and Ron Davenport immediately doubled into the left-field corner. Biernbaum initially stopped at third base, but when left fielder Elliott Ayala made an errant throw to the infield he raced home with the second run just ahead of Anderson's tag.

    Patriots starter Kip Bouknight surrendered one run on six hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. He 61 of his 113 pitches for strikes and clearly did not want to be removed with two runners on base in the sixth.

    When Lyle pointed to the bullpen for reliever Jason Richardson, Bouknight doubled over in disappointment. It proved to be a wise choice, however, as Richardson escaped the jam.

    Dittler, a former second-round draft choice who was released out of Double-A by the Texas Rangers earlier this season, struggled through 12 regular-season starts after joining the Riversharks in July.

    But Monday, when he limited the Patriots to three hits and two walks, was the right-hander's second consecutive dominant postseason outing. He allowed two unearned runs on two hits in a six-inning no-decision during the division series.

    Bouknight and Dittler both allowed the leadoff batter in the third inning to reach base, but only the Riversharks capitalized as Arhart doubled into the left-field corner and scored the first run on Biernbaum's two-out single into right field.

    But this night belonged the former Rivershark, who rattled off a list of family members, teammates, coaches and front office staff to whom he was thankful for showing confidence in a season that has been a grind of injuries and split playing time.

    "I lo
  2. Onoto Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 7, 2004
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