CMWS 2015: Prairie Gravel punches title game ticket with 13-7 win over Midland in Game 22

Jake Newby
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — For its third straight game, the Prairie Gravel offense was too much for its opponent to handle.

Prairie Gravel, of Chicago, continued to tear it up at the plate in Game 22 of the Connie Mack World Series and secured a 13-7 win over the Midland Redskins just before 11:15 p.m. Friday at Ricketts Park.

With the win, Prairie Gravel (28-6-2) headed into the championship game late Friday against the East Cobb Yankees (53-5), out of Marietta, Ga. As of 11:30 p.m., that game had not started.

Connie Mack organizers said the championship game's late start time was necessary to accommodate the teams' travel arrangements.

East Cobb was scheduled to leave Farmington for Albuquerque at 1 a.m. Saturday to catch an early flight back to Georgia. To squeeze in the championship game before then, the game was set to begin after Game 22 ended, with a brief break for the grounds crew to prepare the infield.

In the first game on Friday, things looked promising for Cincinnati's Midland (43-5) early in the contest. But Mother Nature and a Prairie Gravel pitching change derailed the Redskins' momentum. Ultimately, the game marked the fourth one this series in which Prairie Gravel scored at least seven runs.

A pair of Jeremy Eierman errors from shortstop led to Midland's first-inning rally.

First, Prairie Gravel had Ethan Stringer stuck in a rundown between second and third bases before Eierman sent a ball sailing over Hayden Senger's head to plant Stringer at third. In the same at-bat, Eierman couldn't cleanly field a Ty Duvall grounder, allowing Stringer to score.

Midland loaded the bases after Prairie Gravel starting pitcher Matt Vanek's second walk of the inning.

Then rain then poured down at Ricketts, prompting a two-and-a-half-hour delay.

When the game restarted, Vanek was relieved by Quinn Snarskis, who coaxed two quick outs from the Redskins to escape the jam.

Prairie Gravel's scorching-hot offense got to work with five runs in the top of the second inning. Midland starter Riley Cabral, who re-entered the game after sitting for nearly three hours, was charged with five earned runs.

Midland coach Dave Evans said the decision to leave Cabral in the game was easy.

"(Riley) had only thrown twice in the tournament, and both times as a reliever," he said. "We had to have him out there, and he said he felt fine. It was a big concern for us, too, after the long delay. The delay killed us."

Aaron Bond picked up an RBI double, and Cristian Sanchez added an RBI single in the five-run second inning rally.

Prairie Gravel coach Sam Sorce said his offense continued to impress him Friday night.

"Our offense, from the first hitter through the ninth hitter, has produced all week," Sorce said. "I just wish our bullpen would stop somebody. We should have played five innings tonight, but ended up playing seven."

Prairie Gravel generated a sixth run in the third, then tacked on three more in the fourth.

Eierman stayed hot in the fourth inning with an RBI single as Prairie Gravel continued to pour it on, scoring three more runs in the fourth. But the Redskins showed some fight in the next inning.

Though solid at the plate, Eierman was disoriented in the field. He committed his third defensive error of the game in the fifth on a ball hit by Stephen Scott. The error kickstarted a Midland rally, and, later in the frame, Senger and Brayden Combs hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it a 9-3 game.

Sanchez counterpunched by making it another double-digit scoring game for Prairie Gravel with a three-RBI double in the top of the sixth. But again, Midland refused to succumb to the eight-run run rule.

In the bottom of the sixth, Senger hit a grand slam home run to make it a 12-7 game.

"The thing that hurt us, we had the bases loaded two times with one out and couldn't score any runs, or else we really could have pushed (Prairie Gravel) to the limit," Evans said. "But we didn't give up, I'm proud of these kids. We had a great run."

Michael Massey hit an RBI double the next half inning to finally cap the scoring at 13-7.

Snarskis, a Saint Joseph's University commit, was tremendous in relief for Prairie Gravel and was credited with the win.

"Quinn threw 50 pitches a couple days ago, so I asked him how he felt tonight, and he said he felt great," Sorce said. "He ended up throwing 54 more pitches tonight. He was awesome."


Prairie Gravel

Leading batter: Cristian Sanchez, 1B, 2B, 4 RBIs

WP: Quinn Snarskis

Midland Redskins

Leading batter: Hayden Senger, GS, 2 1B, 5 RBIs

LP: Riley Cabral

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and Follow him @JakeNewby07 on Twitter.