Tournaments : : Story
Monday, October 25, 2010

WWBA World Championship Ends In Tie

Jim Ecker        

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 him.


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.


"That's 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."


Players from 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.


Both teams wanted to win, but they accepted the tie.


"I wasn't too happy," said Weaver, "but they fought as hard as we did."


Dickens 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.


Dickens pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings for the Dirtbags in the finals, but that was going to be it.


"My legs were starting to give out, so they were going to a different pitcher," he said. "I wanted to win. But, I'm happy."


Jordan 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.


Michael Russell and D.C. Arendas had two hits apiece for the Dirtbags.

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