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Braves Top Pirates Behind Koblens Complete Game in Columbus 25+

Columbus Men’s Senior Baseball League 25+ Division

Columbus Braves 5, Columbus Pirates 4


‘Koblens Complete Game Victory Seals the Title’ 

Submitted by Ed Davis, Braves manager

One of the Columbus MSBL’s longest running rivalries carried over from last years ‘playoffs to this years’ Championship game.  This year’s Championship did not disappoint and provided plenty of top notch performances from both teams.  Credit to both the Pirates and Braves for playing great baseball!

In 2015 the Pirates took on the Braves in an elimination game for the Championship and battled back by being down two runs early by an excellent pitching performance and timely hitting to end the Braves chances for another title since 2013.  In 2016 the rivalry continued through the regular season and early rounds of playoffs between the two teams going back and forth. With a narrow win in the early playoff rounds of Braves winning 11-8, the Pirates would battle back through way of the double elimination loser’s bracket to face the Braves again in the Championship.

Two of the league’s most dominant pitchers, Matt Koblens of the Braves and Justin Miller of the Pirates, took the mound at Olentangy Liberty High School in effort to stop two of the league’s best offenses.  With both of the pitchers having a season ERA of under 2.00, both offenses would be challenged with every pitch.

The Pirates took advantage of early on base opportunities with their clutch hitting of Andrew Davis driving in runs in both the first and third putting the Pirates up 2-0 through three innings.  The Braves would respond by putting up three runs from Vince Doster, Matt Koblens and Ryan Vaughn in the fourth to go up 3-2 with RBI’s by Andy Podolak and Mathew "Cookie” Haycook.  The pitching duel and score would remain the same until the bottom of the eighth where the Braves would add a much thought to be "insurance” run set up from the stolen base of Doug Belden and RBI off the bat of Matt Koblens bringing the score to Braves 4 Pirates 2.

In classic fashion, both starters continued to deal through the eighth with the Pirates down two runs.  Matt Koblens took the hill in the top of the ninth in search of closing out a complete game, but the Pirates, as expected by the rivals, would not go down easy. With one out in the top of the ninth Jason Fleming drew a walk to allow the tying run to come to the plate. Continuing his clutch hitting, Andrew Davis would tie the ball game up with a two run home run notching the game at 4-4 going into the bottom of the ninth!

The bottom of the ninth would be led off with a single by Mathew "Cookie” Haycook finally forcing Pirates manager Rick Fryman to make pitching adjustments led by the dominance of Justin Miller. Ryan Vaughn would next single, hence setting up the defensive strategies of Rick Fryman to walk Andy Podolak to load the bases along with a defensive shift to prevent the go ahead run. With the bases loaded, Brad Thomas drove in the game winning RBI just over the defensive alignment of the outfield to give the Braves a 5-4 win and its fourth CMSBL Championship Title!

The starters would finish the game with identical stats in a pitching duel for the ages. Justin Miller of the Pirates would finish with the line of 8IP, 1BB, 8H, 10K’s and 4ER. Matt Koblens of the Braves would finish with CG 9IP, 2BB, 9H, 8 K’s , 2ER and rebounding from last years’ season ending leg injury to finish the 2016 CMSBL season with a dominant 1.33 playoff ERA!

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