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Championship Final Series: Tritons Complete Three-Peat With Sweep Of Sunsets

October 26, 2017 (Federal League Wire Service)

              The season that would, seemingly, never end, that to weather delays, a hurricane, and the resultant ballpark damage, finally concluded on Thursday night as the Tri-Cities Tritons captured their third consecutive league crown with an 8-1 victory over the Sunrise Sunsets in Game 3 of the Championship Final Series. The win gave the Water Dwellers a series sweep to emphasize their dominance over the league these past three campaigns.
              Jose Marcano started for the Tritons against Brant Spring for the Sunsets as the two hurlers reprised their Game 1 assignments.
              Marcano wound up tossing seven solid innings, yielding one run on three hits to earn the win. Marcano walked three, hit a batter, and struck out seven. Spring was charged with all eight runs, only three of which were earned, on 13 hits in six innings of work.
              The Twilighters opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Ryan Thompson led off and lined a double into the left field corner and then scored when Tommy Tritz reached on an error. The lead did not last for long as the Tritons countered with five runs in the top of the fourth.
              Zac Miller led off with an infield single and, with one out, Jay Warman reached on an error. With two out, Eric Silverberg delivered an RBI single that scored Miller with the tying run. Tre Dingus singled to load the bases, and Chris Marrero got aboard on the Sunsets' second miscue of the inning, with Warman scoring the go ahead run. Julian Faria followed with a bases clearing double that put the Water Dwellers in front, 5-1.
              The Tritons made it 6-1 in the fifth as, once again, Miller led off with an infield single, went to third on a one out base hit by Warman, and scored when Agner Martinez bounced into a force play.
              In the sixth, the Tritons added two more runs to cap the scoring. Faria doubled to center and scored on a one out single by Miller. A two out double by Martinez brought in Faria, giving the Tritons an 8-1 lead. 
              Matt Arlick pitched two scoreless innings of relief and nailed down the win by inducing Ted Maceda to fly out to Sean Vance in right for the final out in the bottom of the ninth.
              Miller went four for five to pace the Tritons. Faria had two hits and three RBI. Dingus, Warman, Martinez, and Silverberg added two hits each.
              Reliever Calvin Rayburn, who had a win and a save in the series, was awarded the playoffs' Most Valuable Award.
              Amid the post game celebration, the Tritons, led by manager Mike Whittaker, were able to breathe the rarified air that surrounds a team with three or more consecutive championships.
              Game 2-Tritons Trip Sunsets Again: Game 2 of the Championship Final Series had a lot to live up to, after an exciting and tense Game 1, and it did not disappoint as the Tri-Cities Tritons staged a late rally and defeated the Sunrise Sunsets, 8-7. The win gave the Water Dwellers a two games to none lead in the best of five series.
              The pitching strapped Sunsets tabbed lightly utilized Ted Maceda as their surprise starter. John Hardardt started for the Tritons and neither pitcher factored in the decision.
              The Tritons reached Maceda for a run in the first inning as Chris Marrero got aboard with a one out single and scored when Calvin Rayburn grounded into a force play at third with the bases loaded. The Sunsets took a 2-1 lead in the second when Justin Dages drilled an RBI double and Igor Molina produced an RBI single.
              In the third, the Twilighters increased their advantage to 4-1. Chris Craig led off with a single and moved to third on a one out ingle by Brandon Hull. Both runners scored as Ryan Thompson delivered a two run double to left center.
              In the fifth the 'Sets made it 6-1 when Craig and Carlos Vasquez singled, and Hull walk to load the bases with none out. Craig scored as Thompson bounced into a force play, and Hull scored on a base hit by Brandon Zeeb. The Twilighters missed an opportunity to add to their lead as Rayburn relieved Hardardt and induced Dages to hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded.
              The Tritons cut the gap to 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth as Eric Silverberg swatted a home run to left. The Sunsets restored their five run advantage in the top of the sixth as Craig collected his third hit of the game and scored on an RBI single by Hull.
              In the bottom of the sixth, the Tritons tied the score with a five run rally. 
              Julian Faria led off with a home run to left and then Rayburn drew a walk. Magdiel Sanchez followed with a single and Adrian Roznowski was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.
              Agner "Management" Martinez fought off an 0-2 pitch and produced a two run single to right, bringing the Sons of Poseidon to within 7-5. With Hull on the mound in relief of Maceda, Silverberg bunted for a base hit and Roznowski scored. Maceda, now playing second base, made a brilliant over the shoulder catch of Jay Warman's pop up to short center for the second out, but Marrero lined a base hit off of third baseman Molina's glove to score Martinez with the tying run.
              In the bottom of the seventh, the Tritons broke the tie. With one out, Rayburn doubled to left and then scored as Sanchez punched a base hit through the right side.
              Trailing 8-7 and facing the nearly unhittable Rayburn, the Sunsets put the tying and go ahead runners on base in the top of the eighth. With one out Molina was hit by a pitch and, with two out, Craig drew a walk. With Vasquez at the plate with a 1-2 count, Molina took off for the third. Faria, who earlier had cut down a would be base stealer, threw low and wide to third, but as Molina scrambled to his feet and headed home with the tying run, the Sunsets discovered that Vasquez had been called out on strikes on the pitch, ending the inning and nullifying Molina's prospective tying run.
              The Sunsets were unable to rally in the ninth and fell to their second straight one run defeat of the series.
              Rayburn allowed one run on two hits in four and two thirds innings to earn the win. Rayburn struck out nine, hit one, and walked two. Hull took the loss, permitting one run on five hits in two and a third innings.
              Silverberg, Sanchez, Warman, and Marrero led the Water Dwellers with two hits each. Craig had three hits, and scored three runs, for the Sunsets.
              The Tritons will hope to close out the series and claim their third consecutive league title, as the series continues with Game 3, scheduled for Tuesday.
              Game 1-Tritons Slip By Sunsets: The Championship Final Series opened on Tuesday night after numerous weather delays, but, if the rest of the series is anything like Game 1, it will have been wee worth the wait. The Tri-Cities Tritons, seeking their third consecutive league title edged the Sunrise Sunsets, 3-2 in the best of five series' opening game.
              A two out RBI single by Magdiel Sanchez in the top of the eighth broke a 2-2 deadlock in the Water Dwellers' favor. The Sons of Poseidon then withstood the Twilighters' attempted comeback, as they loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth.
              Tritons' relief ace Jose Marcano was a surprise choice as the Game 1 starter for the Water Dwellers and the lightning lefty responded with seven strong innings. Brant Spring started for the 'Sets and went the distance, giving a Herculean effort in defeat.
              The Tritons opened the scoring in the top of the first as Jay Warman led off the contest with a single to left and later scored as Julian Faria bounced into an RBI ground out.
              In the bottom of the first, the Sunsets tied the score as Igor Molina unloaded a long two out home run to left.
              In the third, the Tritons reassumed the lead when Chris Marrero led off with a base hit, stole second, and came around to score on an RBI single by Calvin Rayburn. The Water Dwellers failed to add to the lead when Adrian Roznowski lined into an unusual double play. 
              With the bases loaded, Roznowski drilled a liner to short that Justin Dages leapt for, but was unable to catch. Dages recovered the ball in time to get a force at second, and then, second baseman Brandon Hull fired home to Molina, who tagged Zac Miller attempting to score from third. Spring then retired Sanchez on a comebacker to avoid further damage.
              The Sunsets were able to tie the score in the sixth. With one out, Anthony Garcilazo singled to right. After the second out, Ted Maceda drew a walk before Javier Aguilar tied the game with a clutch two out single to left.
              In the eighth, Faria led off with a single, but was forced at second when Rayburn tapped back to the mound. After Rayburn stole second and Roznowski flew out to center for the second out, Sanchez singled to right to score Rayburn with the go ahead run.
              Holding a 3-2 advantage, Tritons' manager Mike Whittaker summoned Rayburn to the mound to work in relief of Marcano.
              Rayburn cruised through the eighth, but in the ninth Aguilar got aboard with a one out infield single. After Rayburn fanned Hull for the second out, Brandon Zeeb came through with a pinch hit single, and Justin Dages was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
              With the tying run only ninety feet away, and the winning run on second, Rayburn dug deep to fan Jimmy Schariest to end the game.
              Marcano allowed two runs on three hits, walking five and fanning 11, in seven innings to pick up the win. Rayburn pitched two scoreless innings of relief, permitting two hits, hitting a batter, and striking out four, to earn the save.
              Spring was charged with three runs on nine hits and took the loss. Spring walked four and struck out three.
              Marrero and Rayburn led the Water Dwellers with two hits each. Aguilar had two hits for the Twilighters.
              Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night with John Hardardt slated to start for the Tritons and 300 game winner Michael Cimilluca expected to toe the slab for the Sunsets.


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