JUPITER, Fla. -- Chet Lemon spent 16
years in the major leagues and knows how fragile a pitcher's arm can be. That's
why he thought it was time to pull the plug on the final game of the WWBA World
Championship Monday afternoon.
Ultimately, everyone agreed with
Chet Lemon's Juice and the Dirtbags
were locked in a 3-3 tie after eight innings of a scheduled seven-inning
game when Lemon took charge and campaigned to have the contest declared a
deadlock. The Dirtbags and Perfect Game USA agreed.
The Juice, who had to win a play-in
game to make the playoffs, were playing their ninth game in four days. The
Dirtbags were playing their eighth game in five days, and the
Dirtbags used Dylan Dickens for three innings in relief in the
championship game Monday afternoon after Dickens had thrown a complete
seven-inning game in the semifinals Monday morning.
For his part, Lemon used Luke Weaver
for 3 1/3 innings in relief in the championship game after Weaver had thrown a
complete seven-inning game on Saturday.
"I hold my breath when I have
kids out there like that," Lemon said.
Lemon said he was afraid somebody
would get hurt, on either team.
"All it takes is one
pitch," he remarked. "And what am I going to look like? I'm
going to look like a fool later on when they say, 'Why did you let that kid go
out there and throw that many pitches?'"
Lemon conferred with Dirtbags Coach
Andy Partin about the situation in the seventh inning, comparing notes on
their pitching staffs. After the eighth inning, the coaches conferred with the
umpires and with Perfect Game officials before everyone agreed to let the game
end in a tie.
"If we're really trying to do
the right thing, I think it was the right decision," Partin said.
The Dirtbags sent a new pitcher to
the mound for the top of the ninth inning and were prepared to keep playing,
but Lemon felt strongly that the game should be stopped.
"It's probably not what
everybody wanted to do, it's probably not what everybody wanted to see,"
Partin said. "We probably could have kept going and they could have kept
going, but it (ending the game) is probably the right thing to do.
Chet Lemon, man," Partin remarked, saluting his opponent. "That
guy played in the big leagues. I grew up watching that guy play. I'm just in
awe that I'm over there talking to him."
both sides mingled during the 10-minute delay while the situation was being
discussed after the bottom of the eighth inning. They lauged and joked
with each other near home plate, then the players and coaches from
both teams posed together in a big group for pictures after the
decision to stop the game was made.
teams wanted to win, but they accepted the tie.
wasn't too happy," said Weaver, "but they fought as hard as we
pitched 10 innings on Monday, counting seven in the semifnals and three more in
the finals. He also pitched in relief on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and threw
a total of 14 1/3 innings in five games over the course of four days.
pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings for the Dirtbags in the finals,
but that was going to be it.
legs were starting to give out, so they were going to a different
pitcher," he said. "I wanted to win. But, I'm happy."
Rivera went 4-for-4 for Chet Lemon's Juice in the finals with three singles, a
double, a stolen base and an RBI. Josh Delph went 2-for-3 for the Juice with a
triple and sacrifice fly.
Russell and D.C. Arendas had two hits apiece for the Dirtbags.