Seattle tops Cheney 5-4 in championship game
By Travis Mounts
The Cheney Diamond Dawgs continue to make a name for themselves at the National Baseball Congress World Series. But they will have to wait until at least 2020 before they can call themselves NBC champions.
The Seattle Studs – one of the NBC top teams for more than a decade – held on for a 5-4 win over Cheney in Saturday’s title game at Eck Stadium in Wichita. The Studs were able to avenge their only loss of the tournament, a 5-4 defeat to the same Cheney team in the tournament opener for both teams.
For Seattle, Saturday’s game was their seventh title-game appearance in 15 years, and the victory game the Studs their third title since 2013. They also won in 2015.
Despite the loss, 2019 was Cheney’s best NBC run. The Diamond Dawgs came into the game with a 5-0 record, and recorded tight wins and blowout victories. Their previous best NBC was in 2017, when they placed third after losing a semifinal match against the Kansas Stars, a team comprised of former Major League Baseball players, a number of who were all-stars during their careers.
Both teams’ starting pitchers left the game early, and both teams changed pitchers several times during the game.
The Studs struck first, scoring 2 runs in the top of the first inning, and added another run in the second for a 3-0 lead.
The Diamond Dawgs responded with a 3-run second inning to tie the game. A double by Matt Scheurich scored Tresten Kennard. Then with two outs, Ramon Vingochea singled to drive Scheurich home. Vingochea went to second on the Studs’ throw to home to try and catch Scheurich. Vingoceha scored on a single by Blake Rambusch. The Dawgs got another single from Kyler Castillo that loaded the bases, but they weren’t able to capitalize any further.
Cheney threatened in the third inning. Kennard singled to lead off the inning, and tagged up and took second base on a fly out by Scott Hastings. Scheurich then walked, and Dodge bunted successfully to load the bases. But a fly out and ground out ended the inning without any runs.
The Diamond Dawgs’ Chaney Dodge helped keep Seattle scoreless in the fourth inning with a nice sliding catch for the third out. Had he missed that ball, Seattle’s runner on first base likely would have scored as the ball rolled to the fence.
But the Studs drove in 2 runs in the fifth inning. With two runners on, Henry Cheney hit a double that drove in Jack Pauly. But the Dawgs threw out Brock Gagliardi, with catcher Andrew Miller applying the tag at home for teh second out. But the Studs scored another run, knocking Cheney pitcher Jacob Uhing out of the game. He eventually took the loss.
Miller’s solo home run in the sixth inning cut Cheney’s deficit to a single run at 5-4. The Diamond Dawgs weren’t able to score again, although they did threaten. They had runners on second and third base with two out in the seventh, but could not convert. In the eighth, Castillo got on base after getting hit by a pitch, and went to second on a wild pitch. Miller’s sacrifice grounder sent Castillo the third base, but a strike out and fly ball ended the inning.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, Scheurich led off the inning with a single. Vingochea earned a one-out walk to give Cheney runners on first and second base, but Blake Rambusch hit into a double play that ended the game.
Cheney’s five pitchers – Tyler Miller, Uhing, John Schull, Mat Oset and Nate Postlethwait gave up 13 hits. Seattle used four pitchers and allowed 10 hits. Jared Wilson got the win and Anthony Brady picked up the save for Seattle.
Scheurich led Cheney with three hits, and Rambusch, Castillo and Kennard had two hits apiece. Raburn, Andrew Miller, Dodge and Vingochea had a hit apiece. Rambusch, Miller, Scheurich and Vingochea each batted in a run, and Vingochea earned a pair of walks.