May 25, 2013

By Mason Nesbitt, TMC Sports Information Intern

LEWISTON, IDAHO—Friday’s win means two days off.

We have our pitching and defense largely to thank for two days likely filled with practice, pool-lounging, church and all around easygoing.

While it was no surprise that our pitching and defense delivered, our offense on the other hand, came from two talented but unexpected sources.

For different reasons, Chris Talley and James Scott haven’t exactly been offensive juggernauts this season. Talley hasn’t played up to his ability (he’s one of the most talented hitters I’ve played with at TMC) and Scott has simply lacked opportunity.

But the funny thing about the playoffs and the World Series is that you get a clean slate—except for guys like me that committed such pitching atrocities that we can never be forgiven.

But in most cases, nobody cares what you did last week or last month. All that matters is helping your team win now.

Both Talley and Scott are producing now.

Talley, TMC’s starting catcher, hit .402 with six home runs and 24 RBI’s in only 32 games as a freshman. During that season, I heard a minor league manager—who had played in the big leagues—tell someone he’d be surprised if Talley wasn’t drafted after his junior year; he was that good.

He dropped off slightly his sophomore year before bouncing back with a very strong junior season, hitting .325 with nine home runs and 40 RBI’s.

This year however, Talley’s hitting only .237 with three home runs and 34 RBI’s. A guy that in the past has hit in the three or four spot in the lineup, hit in the bottom half of the order for most of 2013.

But none of that matters.

Talley hit two doubles and had an RBI in TMC’s World Series berth clinching victory over San Diego Christian two weeks ago. And I’m not talking about fluke doubles that were well placed. I’m talking about smoked-in-the-gap doubles to deep right center.

Friday, on the biggest stage, he homered, singled and looked like the Talley of old. And if he keeps it up, that’ll be the only Talley anyone remembers.

Scott on the other hand, wasn’t struggling at the plate; he was just too busy pitching.

The junior right-hander, who had only nine at-bats entering the World Series, spent most of this season on the mound where he started 12 games, going 7-4 with a 3.19 ERA. His success—thanks in large part to his high 80’s-low 90’s fastball which he spots so well—was reason enough for Coach Brooks to keep him out of the batter’s box.

But with injuries to regular first baseman Spencer Downs and others, Brooks put Scott at first base with a trip to the World Series on the line.

Scott delivered in a big way, hitting a three-run home run that tied the game 4-4 and swung all the momentum TMC’s way, en route to an 11-7 win.

Friday it was a double instead of a home run, but Scott tied the game 1-1 nonetheless. And his hitting coupled with a great pick at first base should give Brooks confidence that even with Downs out, first base is covered.

And I’ll have the rest of the World Series covered, one day at a time.