Bergman All-Stars Walk-off With Fall Series Crown
Oct. 19, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Corey Maines drove in Mike Stalowy with a bases loaded, infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Bergman All-Stars a series-clinching win over the Capra All-Stars, 7-6, in the Redbird Fall Series at Duffy Bass Field Sunday.
Maines and the Bergman All-Stars rallied from a 2-1 series deficit and climbed out of a 4-1 hole after five innings Sunday to earn the fall title with a 3-2 series win. Team Bergman scored five runs in the final three frames to even the score and put together a one-out rally in the bottom of the tenth.
"I've never lost a series, so it's a great feeling to win all four of the series that I've played here," Stalowy, the Bergman All-Stars senior captain said. "We came out flat today and you could see the momentum change in the game. Our dugout picked it up and everybody started getting into the game. Right around the seventh inning, we flipped a switch and turned it on. To cross that plate (as the winning run) is just a great feeling."
Stalowy got things going for the Bergman All-Stars in the final inning with a double to the wall in left center off Capra All-Stars reliever Evan Kohli. Kohli then intentionally walked Ryan Court to set up a potential double play, but hit Anthony Ruffolo to load the bases. That's when Maines, who struck out with a runner in scoring position in the eighth inning, hit a sharp ground ball to third and scored Stalowy after Mark Evans was unable to make a play on the ball.
"I had a chance in the eighth inning but struck out," Maines, who finished 4-for-6 with three runs batted in, said. "I was fortunate to get another chance in the 10th to do the same thing, and I finally came through. It's real big, knowing that we have fight in the team to come back and win the series."
Despite pounding out 15 hits in the contest, the Bergman All-Stars offense was anemic in the opening innings thanks largely to Capra All-Stars starter Jim Sajewich. He scattered five hits over four innings and struck out five before leaving with a 4-1 lead when he reached his pitch limit.
The Bergman All-Stars scratched across a run in the bottom of the sixth to trim the deficit to 4-2, but a two-run outburst in the top of the seventh gave the Capra All-Stars a four-run lead. Instead of giving up, however, Team Bergman plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning and pushed across two more to tie the game in the eighth.
Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth and Team Bergman finished its stunning comeback with their 10th-inning rally.
The Bergman All-Stars got a strong effort out of the bullpen from Matt Werderitch who seemed to get better as the pressure mounted over the final three innings. Werderitch closed the door on the Capra All-Stars with five strikeouts in three innings while allowing just one base runner.
"I like pressure," Werderitch said. "It makes me more competitive. The series was fun for us and it was good to lock down the win."
Stalowy finished the fall series as the Redbirds leading hitter with a .500 (8-for-16) average and tied Maines and Capra All-Stars shortstop Collin Salzenstein with seven runs scored. Maines led all hitters with nine hits, including four doubles and a home run. Bergman All-Stars shortstop Ryan Court finished as the leader in runs batted in with six.
Kyle Nelson was one of the top pitchers for the Redbirds during the fall, finishing with a 1.80 ERA in five innings of work while holding opposing batters to a .118 batting average. Dan Sorce also posted a low 1.29 ERA while striking out six in seven innings pitched. Kenny Long struck out 14 batters in 8.1 innings pitched and Maines notched 11 strikeouts in eight innings.
The fall series concludes team practices for the Redbirds until spring, when Illinois State prepares for its 2009 schedule. The Redbirds open on the road at Belmont in Nashville, Tenn., and travel to Murray State (Murray, Ky.) before hosting St. Louis University on March 4 in their home opener at Duffy Bass Field.