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Pacifics Walk Off to Win Championship

Daniel Gonzalez Delivers for Second Consecutive Title

By Vinnie Longo

August 31, 2015

San Rafael, CA - 

In the top of the eighth, San Rafael was leading 3-1 and starter Celson Polanco was getting stronger despite having thrown over 100 pitches. He got the first two outs of the inning easily with a strikeout and a fly out. But then he hit Chad Bunting on a 2-2 splitter and walked Gered Mochizuki on four pitches.

Chris Lovejoy was summoned from the pen and gave up a seeing-eye single to Mark Hurley to plate Bunting. With runners on first and second, Andrew Parker drove a fastball deep into the gap in left field that Zack Pace got a great jump on. In the gap he leapt diagonally  and was fractions of an inch from making a stupendous catch, but the ball eluded the glove and bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. It was a huge break for San Rafael, keeping the go ahead runner on the bases. Guadalupe Barrera was summoned and induced a fly out from pinch hitter Kiristian Gayday to end the inning.

The Pacifics came up empty in the bottom of the eighth, but Barrera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, needing only 12 pitches to get through the inning.

So it set up the bottom of the ninth. One run was all the Pacifics needed to take the championship home.

With lockdown closer Sean Conroy on since the sixth inning, the Pacifics bats had been stifled. But rookie Johnny Bekakis drew a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count to put the winning run on. David Kiriakos then sacrificed him to second, setting up Zack Pace to drive him home. 

Pace was walked on four pitches to set up a double play, bringing Daniel Gonzalez to the plate with two on.

Gonzalez, a veteran player who had only decided to come back to San Rafael in mid-winter, a staple at the shortstop since 2013, and one of the most clutch players in franchise history, with the chance to deliver back-to-back championships.
It took him one pitch.

Gonzalez singled to center, and Bekakis, who has good speed, was off to the races to give the Pacifics their third championship in franchise history, and their second in the last two years.

“This is incredible, completely surreal. One of the best moments of my career, by far.” said Gonzalez. “He threw me the slider I was looking for and I put a good swing on it.”

San Rafael took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Chase Tucker hit a grounder into left field to score Maikel Jova and Jeremy Williams. After Sonoma tacked on a run in the fifth on a bases-loaded wild pitch, the Pacifics got the run back in the last of fifth on a two-out, RBI double from Jova to make it 3-1.

The Pacifics began the second half seven and a half games behind Sonoma in the overall standings. Including the championship game, the Pacifics were three games ahead. 

San Rafael has played for a championship in every year of existence, only falling once in 2013 to Na Koa Ikaika Maui. The walk-off win was only the third for the Pacifics this year, and their second in three games. For Gonzalez, it was the third walk-off hit in the last three seasons.

“This was an incredible group of individuals, and my favorite to be a part of in my career,” said Pacifics Manager Matt Kavanaugh. “They came in day-in and day-out and battled, and they won as a team. Tonight, that’s exactly what they did. I’m honored to have been able to manage this bunch of players. This is a season I’ll remember forever.”

Pacifics Walk Off to Win Championship

Daniel Gonzalez Delivers for Second Consecutive Title

By Vinnie Longo

August 31, 2015

San Rafael, CA - 

In the top of the eighth, San Rafael was leading 3-1 and starter Celson Polanco was getting stronger despite having thrown over 100 pitches. He got the first two outs of the inning easily with a strikeout and a fly out. But then he hit Chad Bunting on a 2-2 splitter and walked Gered Mochizuki on four pitches.

Chris Lovejoy was summoned from the pen and gave up a seeing-eye single to Mark Hurley to plate Bunting. With runners on first and second, Andrew Parker drove a fastball deep into the gap in left field that Zack Pace got a great jump on. In the gap he leapt diagonally  and was fractions of an inch from making a stupendous catch, but the ball eluded the glove and bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. It was a huge break for San Rafael, keeping the go ahead runner on the bases. Guadalupe Barrera was summoned and induced a fly out from pinch hitter Kiristian Gayday to end the inning.

The Pacifics came up empty in the bottom of the eighth, but Barrera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, needing only 12 pitches to get through the inning.

So it set up the bottom of the ninth. One run was all the Pacifics needed to take the championship home.

With lockdown closer Sean Conroy on since the sixth inning, the Pacifics bats had been stifled. But rookie Johnny Bekakis drew a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count to put the winning run on. David Kiriakos then sacrificed him to second, setting up Zack Pace to drive him home. 

Pace was walked on four pitches to set up a double play, bringing Daniel Gonzalez to the plate with two on.

Gonzalez, a veteran player who had only decided to come back to San Rafael in mid-winter, a staple at the shortstop since 2013, and one of the most clutch players in franchise history, with the chance to deliver back-to-back championships.
It took him one pitch.

Gonzalez singled to center, and Bekakis, who has good speed, was off to the races to give the Pacifics their third championship in franchise history, and their second in the last two years.

“This is incredible, completely surreal. One of the best moments of my career, by far.” said Gonzalez. “He threw me the slider I was looking for and I put a good swing on it.”

San Rafael took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Chase Tucker hit a grounder into left field to score Maikel Jova and Jeremy Williams. After Sonoma tacked on a run in the fifth on a bases-loaded wild pitch, the Pacifics got the run back in the last of fifth on a two-out, RBI double from Jova to make it 3-1.

The Pacifics began the second half seven and a half games behind Sonoma in the overall standings. Including the championship game, the Pacifics were three games ahead. 

San Rafael has played for a championship in every year of existence, only falling once in 2013 to Na Koa Ikaika Maui. The walk-off win was only the third for the Pacifics this year, and their second in three games. For Gonzalez, it was the third walk-off hit in the last three seasons.

“This was an incredible group of individuals, and my favorite to be a part of in my career,” said Pacifics Manager Matt Kavanaugh. “They came in day-in and day-out and battled, and they won as a team. Tonight, that’s exactly what they did. I’m honored to have been able to manage this bunch of players. This is a season I’ll remember forever.”

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