Metro Minute

Toledo Day 4

By Bob Totterer
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Holy Toledo - we did it again !
2015 NABF Championship Game: Dodgers - 8, Monarchs - 1

You've heard the clichés: 'a team of destiny'; 'a team that never quit;'  'a team that would not be denied'.  You can apply them all, if you wish, to the 2015 St. Louis Dodgers.  No one would object and no one would argue to the contrary.  Any who watched the six Dodgers games of this NABF World Series, even the one that got away, would tell you that tenacity was this team's stock in trade.

This championship game was scoreless through three innings, but there was a distinct feeling in the air that it belonged to the Dodgers.  Josh Rye, the 6'3", 220 pound lefty from Austin Peay State University, took the hill in the bottom of the first and would never relinquish it.  Number 28 was clearly in command all afternoon.  Though he was facing a tough Monarchs team which had averaged ten runs per game throughout the tournament, Josh surrendered only one run while scattering ten hits and one walk in his nine innings of work.  The Dodgers defense answered the bell as well, turning four double plays, one of which was a catch and throw by centerfielder Sean Ullrich, who gunned down a Monarchs runner at the plate in the fifth.

Scoring for the Dodgers began in the fourth with a leadoff bunt single by Designated Hitter, Matt Brown.  Two hit batsmen then loaded the bases for third baseman Matt Spradlin, who lined an RBI single deep to right.  Series MVP Dashawn Lindsay promptly drove in two more with a single to left.  The Dodgers added two in the sixth off the bat of Lindsay and the rout appeared to be on.

The lone Monarchs run came in the bottom of the sixth, but was promptly answered in the seventh when Sean Ullrich led off with a triple and scored on Matt Brown's RBI single.  Two tallies were added by the Dodgers in the eighth, courtesy of a leadoff triple by catcher Garrett Taylor, an RBI single by second baseman Keith Grieshaber and an RBI double by Sean Ullrich.  The stage was set for a dramatic finish which was, by now, all but a foregone conclusion.

The Monarchs went quietly in the eighth, but put a runner on first with one out in the bottom of the ninth.  Josh Rye, who showed little sign of tiring, induced a ground ball to second which was converted into a 4-6-3 double play.  Pandemonium erupted on the field, as the Dodgers players dove into their traditional dog pile to celebrate.  To everyone's surprise, they were joined there by manager Gus Lombardo, who jumped joyously onto the scrum.  It had been a long, hard pull during this four day tournament.  The aches, the pains, the fatigue - all of them were washed away in the thrill of victory.

This was the Dodgers' second NABF World Championship in three years and it was all the more gratifying as this would be coach Lombardo's final season.  There's nothing like going out with a bang and Gus certainly went out on top.  He, along with assistant coaches Michael Hunt, Adam Stahl and Scott Brown, did a masterful job of putting this team together and holding it together.  The atmosphere was always positive and focused on the task at hand.  That's a credit to the leadership on this team and to each member in particular.

Quite often on a baseball team you'll find a slacker, a trouble-maker or a bad actor; but not on this Dodgers team.  They all played hard, supported each other and chummed around together.  I've never seen a more cohesive group.  As the Metro League Commissioner, I was proud to have this team of players and coaches represent our league and our city.  They have established a legacy now for other Metro teams to emulate.

Congratulations, you Dodgers.  You are the 2015 NABF College Division World Series Champions.