Fernandez grand slam clinches VBL Title for New Market
August 7, 2018
BY JIMMY McCUMBER (via valleybaseballleague.com)
Adan Fernandez hit the championship-winning grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, as the New Market Rebels won the 2018 VBL title with an 8-5 home victory vs. Charlottesville.
Austin Bogart, who had been thrown out at home trying to tie the game in the previous inning, drew a full count walk with two outs to load the bases. Fernandez squared up to the next pitch and put it way over the right field wall to take back the lead, 8-5.
Nobody has been able to keep the Rebels off the basepaths in recent weeks. On the hosts’ first at-bat, third baseman Nick Bellafronto made a nice diving stop but had to rush an errant throw, allowing Kobe Lopez to take second base. He would come home to open the scoring on Chase Sudduth’s groundout.
New Market loaded the bases in the bottom of the second and Andrew Kasiski came home on a wild pitch to double the lead.
Zac Ching scored all the way from first on an error in the top of the third, as the throw to second sailed into right field. Errant throws continued to factor into every run as Nick Oar tied it for Charlottesville in the top of the fourth on a wild pitch.
Bellafronto left nothing up to the fielders as he smashed a three-run homer deep over the left-center wall, putting the Tom Sox up for the first time, 5-2.
Cristopher de Guzman’s RBI single nearly tied the game for New Market in bottom of the sixth, scoring one but seeing Bogart thrown out at home on a very close play.
Fernandez finished 2-for-3 with those four RBIs, while Kasiski was 2-for-2 and scored three times.
New Market clinches their fourth VBL championship, and first since 2002. The franchise had a remarkable wait for its first title, with the Rebels losing their first 10 trips to the finals between 1933 and 1985. New Market finally won its first championship in 1989 and has now emerged victorious in four of its past six final trips.
The Rebels did it in style in 2018, going undefeated in the playoffs (6-0) and winning their final 13 official games of the season (not including the completion of a suspended extra innings game which was made up during that stretch). New Market hit .338 as a team and scored just shy of 10 runs per game in the postseason, with nine players batting .300 or better in the playoffs.