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duke of dorwood
08-31-2002, 08:43 PM
Aug 31, 2002

Pedro Lopez hit lifts BriSox to 4-3 victory and Appalachian League
Championship
by SCOTT J. BRYAN
Bristol Herald Courier

With an entire infield charging, with the heat nearly unbearable, with an
Appalachian League championship hanging in the balance, Pedro Lopez saved his
lone hit of the day for the most crucial moment.
Lopez, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound second baseman, roped an 0-1 pitch through
the middle of the infield with Bluefield's defense barreling toward the plate,
scoring Seth Morris from second base to lift the Bristol White Sox to a 4-3
victory over the Orioles in the deciding Game 3 of the Appalachian League
playoffs Friday afternoon at DeVault Stadium.

Lopez, a native of Moca, Dominican Republic, had been 0-for-4 prior to his
at-bat.

"What a game, what a game," Bristol manager Nick Leyva screamed, as
players celebrated and the crowd converged on the field. "Look at these guys.
Look at them celebrate. They deserve this moment. This was fantastic. ...
Fantastic."

It was the BriSox's second title in five years.

Lopez's game-winning single came with no outs, after Morris was hit by a
pitch and Anthony Webster walked. During Webster's at-bat, the infield had
been charging on every pitch, forcing Leyva to make a decision.

"We took a gamble," said Leyva, after players dumped a cooler of water on
him. "I saw what their infield was doing, so we put the hit and run on for
Lopez.

"I didn't have a doubt about it. First of all, you have to have confidence
in him to put the ball in play. I didn't doubt for a moment that he would put
the ball in play."

Rick Hummel, the pitcher who recorded the win after tossing 2 1/3 innings
of relief, stood in awe after the victory.

"I'm ecstatic," Hummel said. "I can't really explain it. I was really
nervous waiting for it, but I knew this was our inning."

That sentiment was shared often during the back-and-forth ballgame. After
four uneventful innings, the BriSox were able to tack on a run in the bottom
of the fifth, when Morris drilled a high fly ball to left field, scoring
Brandon Bounds, who had reached second base on a double. Morris was playing in
left field, instead of Bo Ivy, the regular starter.

"I keep the scorecards for every game," Leyva explained. "Bo Ivy was
0-for-7 against (James) Tiller, and Morris had three hits against him. I
decided to give him the start. We did our homework."

Bluefield appeared to have studied, as well. Like much of the contest,
when the momentum swung toward Bristol, Bluefield seemed to come right back.
In the top of the sixth inning, Arturo Rivas reached first base on a single
before advancing to third base after Webster misfielded the ball.

A slow chopper to second base by Luis Jimenez scored Rivas to tie the
score at 1.

Bristol regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when
Webster's chopper bounced off Mike Done's glove at second base, scoring Tom
Brice and Chris Stewart for a 3-1 advantage. Brice hit a single to get on
base, while Stewart reached on an error by third baseman Carlos Rijo.

"These guys never gave up," Leyva said. "They kept battling. They kept
fighting."

So did the Orioles. Bristol relief pitcher Todd Deininger started the
seventh inning with a quick popup, but sandwiched a strikeout in-between two
walks to Tom Joyce and Jimenez. Dustin Yount, son of Hall of Famer Robin
Yount, tallied a two-run double, to tie the score at 3.

Yount's heroics, however, weren't enough.

"I'm tired, mentally tired," said Leyva, with a smile creeping onto his
weathered face. "These boys are tired, too. But they're enjoying the moment.
After all they've been through, this is special. These guys worked so hard.
Now they can go home and celebrate an Appy League championship."

In the faint distance, with the crowd filing toward their cars, a player
yelled loudly, "We're going to Spring Training with rings; we're going to
Spring Training with rings."

Tavarin
09-01-2002, 01:52 AM
alright! Go Bristol! Now hopefully Birmingham can win their league. They won the first half of their division and are 2 back of West Tenn in the 2nd half.

Chisox_cali
09-01-2002, 02:08 AM
He He BriSox :)

WinningUgly!
09-01-2002, 10:59 AM
Nick Leyva. There's your next manager.

RedPinStripes
09-01-2002, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by WinningUgly!
Nick Leyva. There's your next manager.

I won't argue there. I like the hothead we have in AAA though. Not sure what kind of a manager he is though. I just like him because he's a nut. lol

PaleHoseGeorge
09-01-2002, 03:38 PM
This is not to take anything away from the accomplishments of the Bristol White Sox, but you know it is really bad when the most exciting thing you can report at the end of the season is a good playoff appearance by your short-season Single-A affiliate.

:(: