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Dirtbags, Led By Tito Cruz, Key to Anchorage Victory


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Dirtbags, Led By Tito Cruz, Key to Anchorage Victory

From the Anchorage Daily News:

"Tito Cruz's daring, darting base running allowed the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to score a critical run in the middle of the game Wednesday night, and his late-inning heroics allowed the winning run to saunter home.

Cruz's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning easily plated Brandon Godfrey and earned the Pilots a 3-2 victory over the Mat-Su Miners at Mulcahy Stadium.

Cruz lined a pitch from Mat-Su reliever Haley Winter (0-1) into left field to end an Alaska Baseball League game that seemed as if it might last until snow fell.

The winning rally opened with a single by Scott Bradley, who was then forced out at second base on Godfrey's fielder's choice. Godfrey moved to third base on Ritchie Price's hit-and-run single -- that base hit redeemed Price after his error allowed Mat-Su a run in the seventh -- and an intentional walk to Matt Baty loaded the bases for Cruz. The infielder from Long Beach State, who also had two sacrifice bunts, drove in his third run in three games with Anchorage (8-3, 2-1 ABL).

Cruz's game-winning hit made a winner out of right-hander Corey Madden (2-1), who pitched three innings of two-hit relief and struck out four.

Cruz's RBI single also was the only run-scoring hit of the game. Anchorage scored its other two runs on a ground-out and a sacrifice fly, and Mat-Su (7-4, 2-2 ABL) scored its runs on a ground-out and Price's error.

But before Cruz ended the game after 3 hours, 18 minutes, his imaginative, heads-up running in the sixth inning earned the Pilots their second run.

Cruz reached first base on a fielder's choice. When Michael Paulk followed with a grounder to the right side of the infield, Mat-Su first baseman Scott Simon lunged for the ball. He couldn't reach it, but second baseman Josh Satin did. And even though Satin's throw was wide of starting pitcher Chris Malone covering the bag, Cruz rounded second base and sprinted to third so quickly he would have reached third safely even if Satin's throw to Malone had been on target.

Cruz then scored on Jon Still's sacrifice fly.

Both right-handed starting pitchers shined. Eric Wordekemper of the Pilots threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run, but again received no love for his labor. In three starts, Wordekemper has allowed just three earned runs over 16 2/3 innings for a 1.62 earned run average, but has one loss and two no-decisions to show for it. Miners starter Malone allowed just four hits and two runs in six innings.

The teams traded runs early. Anchorage's Jon Still doubled with one out in the fourth inning, advanced to third base on Malone's wild pitch and scored on Derek Schermerhorn's ground-out. The Miners responded for a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth, when Chris Errecart led off with a double, moved to third on Satin's ground-out and scored on Brett Bigler's ground-out.

The Pilots moved back ahead 2-1 in the sixth when Cruz exhibited his intelligent instincts on the base paths. Yet the Miners countered for a 2-2 tie in the seventh, when Satin tripled with two outs and scored when Price, the shortstop, couldn't handle Bigler's grounder cleanly.

Bradley, the Pilots' right fielder, wiped out a potential run by the Miners in the first inning. Bigler led off the game with an infield single and moved to second on Clayton Carson's sacrifice bunt. One out later, Miners catcher Josh Hester singled to right, but Bradley snatched the ball on one bounce and fired a one-hop laser to Still that was so impressive it beat Bigler to the plate by four steps to end the inning."

Read the article here.

posted on 6/24/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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