Five years ago, Kevin Pockett hurt his pitching arm when he was with a Porterville, California, junior college baseball team.
The 27-year-old Pockett showed no signs of any arm problems Thursday night as he led the Shark Club Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Applebees Athletics in the third-and-deciding game of the Victoria Mavericks league championship.
In a gutsy performance, Pockett threw 125 pitches and struck out 11 while allowing five hits. He also added a key RBI double in the second inning. Pockett was named the MVP of the playoffs as the Dodgers retained the 90-year-old
R.P. Rithet Cup.
I had some troubles in the early innings but I found a way to get some outs, said Pockett. The adrenaline was really flowing tonight and in the later innings I knew that I had enough left in the tank to finish the game.
The Dodgers opened the scoring with two unearned runs in the first inning off losing pitcher Adam Cessford. The Dodgers built a 3-0 lead in the second as Pocketts double scored Jake Salter.
Pockett worked his way out bases-loaded jam in the first inning and in total, he stranded eight runners.
During the regular season, I only pitched one game and now two in the playoffs, said Pockett. Winning this year is sweeter for me because I was more of a central figure in the final game.
The regular-season champion Athletics got on the board in the fourth inning on Charlie Strandlunds RBI single.
With one out in the seventh inning, the Athletics got the tying runs on base as Strandlund reached on an error and Jarrod Birch delivered a single. However, Pockett forced David Jollymore into a game-ending groundout.
Kevin [Pockett] totally exceeded our expectations tonight, said Dodgers playing-manager Kevin Seginowich. We were looking for three or four quality innings from him but he just kept going. He was hitting his spots all night with his fastball and slider. That was the type of performance we needed to beat a good hitting team like the Athletics and win the championship.
After a 2-8 start to the season, the Dodgers stormed back to claim the third playoff spot with a 12-14 record. The Athletics were first at 15-11 while the Alexander Enterprises Padres were second at 15-12.
This special group of guys had to battle very hard to just into the playoffs, said Seginowich. Once we got into the playoffs, we started playing our best ball of the season. We had some great games against the Athletics all year and the final was no different.
Cessford also allowed five hits and he fanned seven. Outfielder Matt Phillips from the Athletics was the only player with two hits a single and a double.ê±
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