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Jacksonville Indians 9,
‘Indians Repeat in Hard
Submitted by Joe Hellett, League President
The Indians defeated the Rippers 9-8 in a hard fought game to win the 2017 Jacksonville MABLChampionship for the second consecutive season.
The Rippers opened the
scoring off of Indians starter Tim Johnson on a lead-off double by Chike
Saunders, and a hard hit ground ball to first by Jeff Murdza to give them the
The Indians scored three in
the bottom of the third, when Taylor Peterson drew a two out walk, followed by
a double to right field by Taylor Mathis, and then a towering 3-run home run to
left center by eventual MVP Devon Hellett.
The Indians scored five
runs in the bottom of the fifth and chased Rippers starter Randy Davis with a
multiple hit outburst.
The Rippers would not quit,
as they showed tenacity throughout the entire tournament, and scored three runs
in the top of the sixth, chasing out Tim Johnson.
The Indians loaded the
bases, but failed to score off of Rippers relief pitcher Stephen Adams in the
bottom of the seventh, giving the Rippers confidence.
They scored four runs in
the top of the eighth, when Matt Wiegand lead off with a single, followed by a
towering opposite field home run by Jeff Murdza to narrow the score.
Indians relief pitcher Gary Kott, who looked dominant in the seventh faltered,
walking two and hitting one to load the bases.
Devon Hellett came on in
relief with the bases loaded and promptly surrendered the tying runs when he
hanged a knuckle ball to Caleb Shockley who singled to right field.
The Indians answered back
with a two out single to left field by Travis Coverston, who stole
second. Taylor Peterson drove in the winning run on a squib hit to right
field after fouling off multiple pitches and being the recipient of a controversial
non-strike three check swing call.
The Rippers tried to mount
a comeback rally in the ninth when Matt Wiegand fouled off multiple pitches to
work a one out walk, but Devon retired Murdza on a pop out to second, and a
broken bat ground out to short to end the game.
This three game series was
the closest and hardest fought championship series in at least a decade.