Club Sox and Fuel: a doubly intriguing setup

Two local teams will be part of CMWS field for first time

Matt Hollinshead,
Danny Carpenter of the Farmington Fuel darts for home plate and scores a run against Flat Bill during Saturday's City Tournament championship game at Ricketts Park. The Fuel won, 9-7, joining the 4-C Club Sox in the Connie Mack World Series.

FARMINGTON — Now that the Connie Mack World Series will include two area baseball teams for the first time ever, it’s doubly intriguing.

The 4-C Club Sox won the Mountain West regional title and earned an automatic bid. The Farmington Fuel, which pushed the Club Sox to the brink in the 2017 City Tournament championship game, finally reached the big stage after winning the City Tournament on Saturday.

“Through the competition, we definitely made each other better. The level of competition at the City Tournament has really gone up in the last three to four years. You just see a high level of expectations in the community, from the kids and the parents,” Club Sox coach Mike McGaha said. “It’s definitely fortunate for both of us that we both didn’t have to go through the stress of playing each other in the City Tournament.”

The roster rules will differ for both sides. As the host team, the Fuel must include 10 players from the Four Corners. Meanwhile, like the other remaining teams, the Club Sox don’t have such restrictions and can broaden their recruitment nationwide.

Even so, the likely number of area players who will play in the CMWS will double from previous years.

“These two (Farmington) teams going into Connie Mack are really legit,” Fuel second baseman Danny Carpenter said. “We’re going to compete. We’re going to give it the best of our ability, and we’ll see how it goes. If (opponents) overlook us, and we beat them, that’s their fault.”

McGaha said having two area teams will draw some attention. However, McGaha also said both the Club Sox and the Fuel will have to “put up a better fight” than past local teams and string together some pool play wins to start garnering respect from peers.

Will having two area teams instead of one double the odds of stronger CMWS results? That’s still to be determined.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.