Final Series: Tritons Shade Sunsets To Repeat As Champions
February 21, 2017 (Federal League Wire Service)
The Tri-Cities Tritons captured their second consecutive
league title as they edged the Sunrise Sunsets, 4-2, in the fifth
and final game of the 2016-2017 Fall/Winter season Championship
Tre Dingus, who missed the first
four games of the series with a sprained ankle tossed a complete
game six hitter for the Water Dwellers to earn the win. Dingus
outdueled Sunset ace Michael Cimilluca, who overcame an oblique
injury to start Game 5.
The Tritons opened the scoring in the bottom of the third on a two
out RBI single by Julian Faria. The Sons of Poseidon added another
run in the fifth when Chris Marrero singled with two outs, stole
second, and scored on an RBI single by Zac Miller.
In the sixth, the Tritons increased their lead to 3-0. With two
out, Orlando "The Symbol" Fallas blooped a single into
short center field. Eric Silverberg followed with a sharp single
to center that sent Fallas to third. Jay Warman then dropped a
perfectly executed bunt down the third base line for a hit as
The Sunsets countered in the top of the seventh. Pinch hitter
Jason Van Tol drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild
pitch. With one out, Brandon Hull drew a free pass. Jimmy
Schariest, the Sunsets' hottest hitter in the finals, laced a
single to right center that scored Van Tol. With two out, Tommy
Tritz drew a walk that loaded the bases, and then Anthony
Garcilazo walked to force in a run, making it a 3-2 ballgame.
In the seventh, the Tritons added an important insurance run.
Miller led off with an opposite field double just inside the right
field line. Miller advanced to third as Faria singled to right,
the ball landing in almost the spot as Miller's double. After
Cimilluca fanned Mike Whitaker for the first out, Adrian Roznowski
lifted a fly ball to shallow center. A.J. Fidalic made the running
catch, but Miller tagged up and slid in just ahead of the throw,
giving the Water Dwellers a 4-2 lead.
The Sunsets put the tying runners on base in the top of the eighth
when Demetrio Green drew a walk and Hull singled to left, but
Dingus caught Schariest looking to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Sunsets threatened again. Fidalic led off with a
solid single to center and Garcilazo drew a one out walk, but
Jordan De Los Reyes rapped into a double play to end the game and
Dingus walked 10, but struck out 16. Cimilluca allowed two earned
runs on nine hits in seven innings. Cimilluca walked two, hit a
batter, and struck out two.
Miller and Faria had two hits each
to lead the Tritons. Scariest and Fidalic had two hits a piece for
After the game, the editors of South Florida Baseball Report
named Triton third baseman Chris Marrero as the winner of the
Playoff MVP Award. Marrero went 8-21 in the final series with four
RBI, and played brilliant defense at the hot corner for the
Championship Final Series Game 4-Sunsets Square Series: The Championship Final Series will be settled in a fifth
and deciding game as the Sunrise Sunsets slugged their way to a
15-5 win over the Tri-Cities Tritons in Game 4. The series now
stands tied at two games a piece.
Game 1 winner Jason Van Tol got
the starting assignment for the Twilighters against John Hardardt,
who won Game 2 for the Water Dwellers.
The Sunsets opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Jimmy
Schariest continued his torrid hitting with a one out single.
After stealing second, Schariest scored on a two out RBI single by
In the third, the Sunsets increased their advantage, but
squandered an opportunity to create some breathing room.
Brandon Hull led off with a single, but was thrown out trying to
score, with none out, on Schariest's double to left center.
Schariest scored on an RBI single by A.J. Fidalic, but the
Twilighters were unable to capitalize further.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jose
De Los Reyes led off with a double and Ryan Thompson followed with
an RBI single, giving the 'Sets a 3-0 lead. Romulo Matamoros
single, sending Thompson to second. Demetrio Green broke out of
his post-season slump with an RBI double, bringing Thompson home
with the Sunsets' fourth run.
The Sunsets scored two more runs in the frame, taking a 6-0
advantage, on RBI ground outs by Fidalic and Garcilazo.
The Tritons finally solved Van Tol in the top of the fifth,
picking up three runs and cutting the Sunset lead in half. Adrian
Roznowski and Magdiel Sanchez opened the inning with back to back
walks. After Orlando Fallas flew out to center, Mike Whittaker
drew a walk to load the bases.
With two out, Chris Marrero drilled a two run double, with
Roznowski and Sanchez scoring, and Whittaker stopping at third.
Eric Silverberg followed with a shot down the third base line that
Tommy Tritz stopped with a back handed dive. Whittaker scored on
the play before Tritz was able to tag out the on rushing Marrero
to end the inning.
Nonplussed by the Tritons' rally,
the Sunsets responded with four more runs in the bottom of the
fifth to take a 10-3 lead.
With two out, Matamoros reached on an error and then scored as
Green laced an RBI double. Hull followed with a two run home run
to left, and Schariest went back to back, swatting a round tripper
to left center.
The Tritons refused to quit, and struck for two runs in the top of
the seventh. Sanchez, Fallas, and Whittaker opened the frame with
consecutive singles to produce one run. Silverberg produced a two
out RBI single that scored Fallas.
Once again, the Sunsets answered a Triton rally. In the bottom of
the seventh, Schariest drilled a two run double and Fidalic lined
an RBI single to give the Twilighters a 13-5 advantage.
Green crushed a two run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to cap
Schariest led the Sunsets with
four hits and three RBI. Hull and Green had three hits each. Hull
drove in two runs, Green knocked in four. Fidalic had two hits and
three RBI. De Los Reyes, Thompson, and Matamoros contributed two
hits a piece.
Van Tol, who pitched into the eighth, allowed five runs on six
hits. The veteran righty walked three and struck out three.
Hardardt took the loss after surrendering five earned runs on 13
hits in five innings of work.
The Tritons were without shortstop and lead off hitter Jay Warman,
who was out for an undisclosed ailment. The Sunsets were missing
their shortstop, Cal Menechino, who is sidelined with a quadriceps
The fifth and final game of the series is scheduled for Tuesday
night. With the title on the line, both teams are hoping to have
all of their injured players return to the lineup.
Championship Final Series Game 3-Tritons Take Series Lead: The Tri-Cities Tritons took a two games to one series lead
as they handed the Sunrise Sunsets a 7-1 beating in the pivotal
third game of the best of five Championship Final Series.
The expected pitcher's duel
between Sunsets' ace Michael Cimilluca and Tritons' flame thrower
Tre Dingus failed to materialize as Cimilluca was scratched due to
a sore back and Dingus was not sufficiently healed after suffering
a sprained ankle. Instead, the Tritons sent lefty Jose Marcano,
who took the loss in Game 1, to the hill. Marcano was opposed by
The Water Dwellers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first.
Chris Marrero drew a one out walk and Zac Miller followed with a
sharp single to center. Julian Faria worked out a walk to load the
bases. Marrero scored as Adrian Roznowski grounded out to second.
The Tritons increased their lead to 2-0 in the third. Jay Warman
led off with a double and then stole third. With one out, Miller
grounded out to third as Warman scored.
In the top of the fourth, the Sunsets broke up Marcano's no-hitter
and shutout. With two out, Thompson reached on an error. Jimmy
Schariest singled to left, representing the Twilighters' first
hit. One batter later, Ted Maceda lined a single to right center
that enabled Thompson to score.
The score remained 2-1 until the sixth. In that frame, the Tritons
plated two runs. Marrero led off with a high chopper to third that
bounced over the head of Tommy Tritz for a single. Miller hit what
might have been a double play ball, but the ball caromed off of
Thompson's leg for an infield hit. A wild pitch allowed Marrero to
score, and an RBI single by Faria brought Miller home.
In the bottom of the seventh, the
Sons of Poseidon added three insurance runs. Marrero's two run
double down the right field line was the key blow.
Marcano pitched eight innings, permitting one run on four hits, to
earn the win. The lightning lefty walked seven and struck out 13.
Thompson took the loss after allowing five earned runs on seven
hits. Thompson walked four and struck out five.
Warman, Marrero, and Miller led the Tritons with two hits each.
Marrero also made four brilliant defensive plays at the hot
corner. Schariest had two hits to pace the 'Sets.
The Tritons can wrap up their second consecutive league
championship, while the Twilighters will seek to send the series
to a fifth and final game, when the action continues with Game 4,
scheduled for Saturday.
Championship Final Series Game 2-Tritons Tie Series: After falling in a tight pitcher's duel in Game, the
Tri-Cities Tritons flexed their collective muscle and pounded the
Sunrise Sunsets, 19-5, in Game 2, sqauring the series at one win a
Tritons' ace John Hardardt,
bypassed in Game 1 on Thursday, got the assignment for the Water
Dwellers and did not disappoint. Hardardt pitched into the eighth,
allowing three earned runs on nine hits to earn the win. Hardardt
walked five, hit a batter, and struck out four. Jordan De Los
Reyes started for the arm weary Sunsets and took the loss.
Jay Warman, Orlando Fallas, and Zac Miller led a 19 hit assault by
the Sons of Poseidon.
Warman had four hits, including a two run home run, three RBI, and
two runs scored. Fallas had three hits and an RBI, and Miller two
hits, including a solo round tripper, and three runs scored.
Adrian Roznowski also contributed three hits.
Brandon Hull and Ryan Thompson had three hits each for the
The Tritons opened the scoring in the top of the third. Fallas led
off with a double for the Water Dwellers' first hit, and, with two
out, Warman launched a two run homer to left center.
In the bottom of the third, the
Sunsets cut the lead in half as Hull singled and scored on a two
out triple by Anthony Garcilazo.
The Tritons essentially put the game out of reach in the fifth
with a six run outburst. Julian Faria and Fallas had RBI singles
in the frame, and Magdiel Sanchez drove in a run with a sacrifice
After building a 12-4 advantage through eight innings, the Tritons
added insult to injury with a seven run rally in the top of the
The pivotal third game is scheduled for Thursday night. Tre Dingus
is expected to start for the Tritons, while Michael Cimilluca is
the Sunsets' projected starter.
Championship Final Series Game 1-Surprising Sunsets Slam
Tritons: The 2016-2017 Fall/Winter season Championship
Final Series opened on Thursday night and the Sunrise Sunsets
defeated the defending champion Tri-Cities Tritons, 6-3.
Both teams sent unexpected
starters to the mound, and both pitchers, Jason Van Tol for the
Twilighters and relief ace Jose Marcano for the Water Dwellers,
responded with complete game efforts.
It was assumed that the Tritons would start their ace, and leading
winner, John Hardardt to the hill, but manager Mike Whittaker
tabbed Marcano for the assignment in an effort to neutralize the
Sunsets' left handed power.
Van Tol was an even more confounding choice as a Game 1 starter,
having pitched only one inning all season. Van Tol injured his
hamstring early in January and was thought to be lost for the
The Tritons were without third baseman Tre Dingus, who was on
crutches after spraining his ankle.
The game, and the series, began with Sunsets' leadoff hitter
Brandon Hull drawing a walk. With one out, Hull stole second and
then scored as Anthony Garcilazo doubled to center.
A 1-0 Sunset lead swelled to a 5-0
advantage in the top of the second.
With two out, Ted Maceda bunted for a single, and Demetrio Green
walked. Hull walked again to load the bases, and, on a full count
pitch, Jordan De Los Reyes crushed a grand slam to left center.
Trailing by five, the Tritons finally lit the scoreboard in the
bottom of the fourth. Chris Marrero led off and was hit by a
pitch, but erased when he was caught attempting to steal second.
Zac Miller drew a walk and scored on a double by Julian Faria. It
was the first hit of the game for the Sons of Poseidon.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jay
Warman drew a lead off walk, moved to second when Marrero beat out
an infield hit, and scored on an RBI single by Miller, making it a
Van Tol escaped further damage by striking out the side with
runners on second and third and none out.
Both pitchers remained in control until the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, Tommy Tritz drew a lead off walk and
scored on a two out RBI single by Ronnie Rocca.
In the home half of the frame, Orlando Fallas led off with a base
hit. Hardardt went in to pinch run, but was erased when Mike
Whittaker bounced into a force play. Agner "Management"
Martinez pinch ran for Whittaker and advanced to second when
Warman worked out a two out walk. An RBI single by Marrero plated
Martinez, making the score 6-3, and bring Zac Miller to the plate
as the tying run.
Van Tol quickly got ahead of Miller, one ball and two strikes,
before retiring the Tritons' slugger on a fly ball to left.
Van Tol permitted two earned runs on seven hits. He walked four,
hit two, and struck out seven. Marcano took the loss after
allowing six runs on six hits. The big lefty walked six and fanned
The Sunsets, particularly Rocca at the hot corner, played sharp
defense throughout the contest.
Game 2 of the best of five series is scheduled for Saturday.
Hardardt is expected to make the start for the Tritons. The
Sunsets have yet to name a starter, but whoever takes the hill
will certainly be less of a surprise than Van Tol was tonight.
Championship Final Series Notebook-Preview: In many ways the 2016-2017 Fall/Winter season Championship
Final Series between the defending champion Tri-Cities Tritons and
the surprising Sunrise Sunsets has more than a few things in
common with a celebrated series from the past, and it is not the
series that these these same two teams were engaged in two seasons
previous. Rather, this series is reminiscent of the 1988 World
Series between the heavily favored Oakland A's and the much less
regarded Los Angeles Dodgers.
Back in 1988, the A's came into
the World Series with a powerful and productive offense backing up
a talented and deep pitching staff, a roster full of all-stars.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, limped into the series with their
best position player injured and a roster full of less than
household names. The parallels to the Tritons and Sunsets are
The Dodgers prevailed in that series, winning four games to one,
mostly due to the heroics of Kirk Gibson, who hit a walk off, two
run, pinch hit, home run in the bottom of the ninth to win Game 1
in his only series appearance, and Orel Hershiser, who pitched two
complete game victories, in addition to collecting more hits in
the series (three) than Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire combined.
The Tritons boast a lineup that includes MVP candidates shortstop
Jay Warman and catcher Julian Faria, a pitching staff that has two
of the league's best starters in John Hardardt and Tre Dingus, and
the loop's top bullpen with righty Orlando Fallas and lefty Jose
Marcano. These top players are augmented all-stars candidates such
as slugging outfielder Zac Miller and speedy second baseman Chris
The Sunsets, by way of comparison, lost, arguably, their best
player shortstop Nick Arata to injury in late November, and have
seen several of the healthier players suffering through difficult
Staff ace Michael Cimilluca, the would be Orel Hershiser of the
Twilighters, while still one of the league's best pitchers, has
not been able to pitch consistently due to a variety of issues. Ryan
Thompson has filled in admirably as the Twilighters' nominal ace,
but is better served fulfilling a supporting role.
During the regular season, the
Tritons led the league in team batting average, runs scored, and
stolen bases. The Sunsets finished next to last in team batting
average and scored 33 fewer runs than did the Water Dwellers.
The Tritons' pitching staff led the league in team ERA, wins,
strikeouts, fewest runs allowed and fewest hits allowed. The
Sunset staff was a distant fourth in team ERA.
So, on the surface, it would appear that the Sunsets, much like
the 1988 Dodgers, are out manned and outgunned.
However, the Sunsets do have some
intangibles working in their favor.
To begin with, the Sunsets have the recent memory of their three
game sweep of the Tritons when the the two teams met in the
2015-2016 Fall/Winter season Championship Final Series.
The Twilighters also have hot hitting lefties Anthony Garcilazo
and A.J. Fidalic and clutch hitting Jordan De Los Reyes. All of
whom tormented the Delray Beach Mudcats in the Original Division
If not already worn down by the rigors of the long season, and an
even longer seeming post-season, the pitching staff of Cimilluca,
Thompson, and Tommy Tritz have the playoff experience to carry the
Sunsets over top.
Both teams have more than capable player/managers, with Brandon
Hull of the Sunsets and Mike Whittaker of the Tritons carrying
In the end, however, the Tritons' offensive prowess, combined
their advantages in pitching depth make it hard to forecast a
Unless an unsung hero emerges for the Twilighters, the expectation
is that the Tritons will win their second straight crown.
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