A good indication of the level of competition the Trail AM Ford Orioles are up against in the Pacific International League was on full display this past week in Wichita, Kan. where the Seattle Studs won the 79th National Baseball Congress World Series on Saturday.
For the Seattle Studs, it was a long time coming. For Studs pitcher David Benson, redemption.
Benson threw a four-hit complete game Saturday, helping the Studs win their first National Baseball Congress World Series title with a 5-1 win over the home team’s Wellington Heat at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
“This just shows what I’ve said all along about the level of competition we’re up against,” said Orioles player-coach Jim Maniago. “The Senators beat these guys four out of seven this year. You add in Langley who wins provincials and are a favourite at Nationals next week and we play the best teams around.”
Seattle, making its fourth trip to the NBCWS title, had three runner-up finishes in 2008, 2010 and 2012, the last two to the Santa Barbara Foresters, before going a perfect 6-0 en route to the title. In the 2012 championship game, Benson started but took the loss after yielding three runs in 1.2 innings.
The right-hander was impressive this time, striking out four and carrying a shutout into the ninth before yielding a run on a two-out double by Robbie Rea. But he retired the final batter to finish off the complete game and earn tournament Most Valuable Player honours.
The Studs jumped out in front in the second against Brady Bowen on a one-out homer by Bobby LeCount and an RBI single by Matt Becker. They pulled away in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Kyle Boe, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch on Brian Corliss and a sacrifice fly by Ty Holm.
Wellington (5-2) had its best finish since winning the title as the Havasu Heat in 2007. The Heat had fourth-place finishes in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
The Northwest Honkers of the PIL also played in the tournament but were eliminated after losses to the Foresters, 4-0, and Colorado Sox, 9-4.
The Everett Merchants won the PIL beating the Studs by 1/2 a game, while the Orioles went 5-12 over the season. The PIL is one of 15 leagues across the United States that make up the National Baseball Congress.
The 2013 NBC tournament was the first in a split format, with 16 teams participating in the first week and two of those joining 14 others in the championship week.
With files from the nbcbaseball.com
One of the advancers, El Dorado, went 8-2 over both weeks and finished third.