2008 Playoffs: League Series Recap

Game Recaps

Friday, 2008 October 22 – a recap of the divisional round

Round 2: Mozilla Firefoxes (80-82, 4-2 playoffs) vs Daly City Montis (141-21, 4-1)

Game 1: Fresh off a full 5 day’s rest (longer than any he’s had all season), SP1 Nathan Yan was dominant against the Firefoxes, throwing a 5-hit, 19-K shutout. The Montis’ core 3-4-5 of 1B Derek Lew, LF Ted Kwon, and 3B Alan Wong also put up a clinic, each driving 2 RBIs to deliver Mozilla ace Robert Kroger his first loss of the postseason.

Game 2: As thrilling as home nailbiters come, Mozilla’s unheralded #2 SP Kenneth Price (12-11, 5.59 ERA) dealt a smooth 7 innings of 1-run ball against the Montis, but wore down with the late-game heroics at the top of the order, where a 2B Cristian Ortiz single, C Tina Quach single, and a Lew homerun pushed the Montis over the top with a 1-run lead.

Game 3: Bumped to the SP3 slot after her 2-hitter in the Divisional Series, Chin struggled mightily under the lights of Mozilla Park, surrendering 4 runs in 5 innings on a collective 6 hits and 3 walks. SP5 Alfred Vong wasn’t much better in long relief, yielding 2 runs over the final 3 innings. But none of it mattered much – Mozilla’s Daniel Mouton delivered a stunning performance, all but silencing Daly City bats for 8 innings

Game 4: Daly City bats finally came alive in game 4, led by a herculean 2-homer, 4RBI game by 3B Alan Wong. SS Salgu Wissmath also went 2-4 and drove in 2RBIs, with 7 of 9 Montis scoring runs, tagging both starting ace Robert Kroger and MR Scott Gaddis for 4 runs apiece. Terrence Zhao redeemed himself from his ugly divisional start, keeping the Firefoxes to 1 run and 4hits in a complete game effort.

Game 5: Offsetting the playoff rotation, the #1 Yan dueled against #2 Kenneth Price, who went toe-to-toe for 7 shutout innings, yielding 3 and 4 hits. The bat patience and shorter 3 days’ rest eventually wore down price however, who retired after 1 out in the 8th inning after 104 pitches. Monti batters went on to feast on reliever Gary Lawrence after that, tagging him for 3 hits, a walk, and 3 runs to start the 9th.

Final Outcome: Daly City Montis win, 4-1 (4.6 – 2.0 runs/game)

Game 1: Daly City 6-0 (Player of the Game: SP1 Nathan Yan, 9IP, 5H, 0ER, 19K)
Game 2: Daly City 4-3 (1B Derek Lew, 2-4, 1R, 2RBI, 1HR)
Game 3: Mozilla 6-2 (SP3 Daniel Mouton, 8IP, 3H, 4BB, 1ER, 5K)
Game 4: Daly City 8-1 (SP4 Terrence Zhao, 9IP, 4H, 1BB, 1ER, 12K)
Game 5: Daly Cit 3-0 (SP1 Nathan Yan, 9IP, 4H, 0ER, 18K)

The Firefoxes put up a valiant effort, with impressive pitching performances against the Montis’ vaunted lineup. But an even more dominant performance by Daly City’s staff, led by Yan’s 2 shutouts, was able to close out Mozilla and send Daly City to their 5th straight World Series. The relatively muted bats have got to be a concern however, with the lineup once again held far below their regular season production.

Round 1: Paris Forfeiters (86-77, 4-1) vs. Las Vegas Valleys (99-63, 4-3)

Game 1: The series started off with a dominant pitchers’ duel, with Vegas ace Moser throwing 8 inning of shutout ball. Veteran bridesmaid Richard Eager played the hero, tagging Kyle Katarn for a 6th-inning homer and an 8th-inning double to score both runs for Vegas.

Game 2: Paris was able to respond in-kind in game 2, where #2 starter Rex White went the distance to deliver a 4-hit shotout. Valleys’ starter Frank Martin gave 8+1/3 solid innings, but succumbed to a pair of early runs from a 4th-inning Luciano Ferrant homer.

Games 3 & 4: Back on their home turf, Paris asserted their dominance – #3 starter Daniel Sluder threw a wild 6+1/3 innings of 6-walk, shutout ball, and their bats came to life for 9 runs against the Valleys’ Larry Belton and the bullpen. Game 4 found Kyle Kataran in a rare slugfest (though only 2 of his 4 runs were earned). Las Vegas’ game 1 hero Moser was tagged for 7 runs in 5+1/3 innings, as the 3-4-5 core of the Paris lineup (SS Lamont Sanchez, C Alejandro Liriano, and RF Jeffrey Hefner) combined for 8 RBIs.

Game 5: Las Vegas looked like they had finally punched back, putting together 4 runs to assemble a 4-2 lead over Paris. But the decision to trot out closer Eric Mandujano proved fatal – leading off with a walk and a hit, Mandujano retired Ferrant and Hefner but could not put down Game 5 hero Liriano for the last out. Liriano strokes a double out to right-center for his second hit of the day, walking off the game and the series for the Forfeiters.

Final Outcome: Paris Forfeiters win, 4-1 (5.2 – 2.6 runs/game)

Game 1: Las Vegas 2-0 (SP1 Joseph Moser, 8IP, 3H, 1BB, 0ER, 9K)
Game 2: Paris 2-0 (SP2 Rex White, 9IP, 4H, 2BB, 0ER, 6K)
Game 3: Paris 9-1 (SP3 Daniel Sluder, 6+1/3IP, 1H, 6BB, 0ER, 6K)
Game 4: Paris 10-6 (C Alejandro Liriano, 3-4, 1BB, 1R, 4RBI, 1HR)
Game 5: Paris 5-4 (C Alejando Liriano 2-4, 1BB, 2RBI)

It was a disappointing finish for Vegas star Richard Eager, who strokes a fantastic .378-.481-.756 line but could only carry his team’s slumping offense so far. Paris, meanwhile, appears to be running on all cylinders. Ace Kyle Katarn is throwing the postseason of his life so far (3-1, 1.44 ERA over 31+1/3 innings), SP2 Rex White has been white hot (2-0, 1.17 ERA over 30+2/3 innings), and C Alejandro Liriano is catching all kinds of fire, having won player of the game 3 times to go with his postseason-leading line of .525-.548-.775 and 16 RBIs

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2008 Playoffs: Division Series Recap

Game Recaps

Friday, 2008 October 15 – a recap of the divisional round

Round 1: Asia Giants (73-89) vs. Daly City Montis (141-21)

Game 1: The Daly City Montis made quick, efficient work out of the Asia Giants. SP1 Nathan Yan notched a 2-hit, 17K shutout in Game 1

Game 2: Things got dramatic for a moment in Game 2, where the Montis had staked themselves to a 5-3 lead going into the 9th. Closer Josiah Leong, consistent for most of this year, came in for the save and yielded a leadoff walk to Alex Quiros, followed promptly by a 2-run homer by journeyman Boss Nass to blow the save and tie up the game. Leong escaped the rest of the inning, and both sides seemed ready for extended innings as the Montis went down 2 outs in the ninth, with Asia closer Richard Pendergast out to pitch.

But with the last out on the line, CF Tiffany Ho, benched for defense in the first game, stroked her second single of the day from the #9 slot, and 2B Cristian Ortiz followed up with his own (3-5 on the day), to set up C Tina Quach with runners on 1st and 2nd…

Now up, number 8, Tina Quach.
She’s 0 for 4, striking out once.
With runner in scoring position she’s 42 for 144 (.292), with 1HR and 59RBI this season.
There are 2 down.
The count is 1-1…
Pendergast delivers…
Experimental ErRR!! swings..
hit hard on the ground…
up the middle…
tough chance for the limited-range second baseman John Ruppe…
he dives…
can’t get it…
it’s laced into center field for a base-hit.
Ho goes to third.
Ortiz goes to second.
Ortiz going for third, Ho scores!
WOW, Quach wins it with an RBI single!!

Game 3: Things appeared to be going swimmingly in their first road game, as the Montis cruised to a 4-0 lead behind 6 shutout innings by SP3 Terrence Zhao. The recently-recovered lefty unraveled from there however, giving up two ugly bases-clearing doubles Tom Clark and Benjamin Trepanier for 5 runs in the 7th, again setting up 9th-inning dramatics for the second game in a row. CF Tiffany Ho got onto first on a fielder’s choice after SS Henry Nghe’s single, and then scooted over to 3rd after another single by 2B Cristian Ortiz, and then tied the game up by stealing home on a wild passed ball from closer Richard Pendergast in his second rough outing in a row. It would prove to be not enough however, as setup woman Connie Chen gave up a triple to Brian Batchelder leading off, who was drive home on a tag-up by Trepanier.

Game 4: Was a mostly drama-less 6-3 victory, with SP1 Yan returning to the mound but delivering a rather pedestrian 7IP, 2ER performance. 1B Derek Lew provided more than enough firepower, going 2-5 with two doubles and driving in 3 RBIs to lead the victory.

Game 5: After three straight rocky performances by the starting staff, SP4 Samantha Chin delivers a virtuoso performance, closing out the Giants and the series with a 2-hit, 8-K shutout

Final Outcome: Daly City Montis win, 4-1 (4.6-2.8 runs/game)

Game 1: Daly City 3-0 (Player of the Game: SP1 Nathan Yan, 9IP, 2H, 0ER, 17K)
Game 2: Daly City 6-5 (2B Cristian Ortiz 3-5, 1R, 2RBI)
Game 3: Asia 6-5 (CF Tom Clark 2-4, 1BB, 1R, 2RBI)
Game 4: Daly City 6-3 (SS Salgu Wissmath, 3-3, 1 BB, 1R, 1RBI, 1HR)
Game 5: Daly City 3-0 (SP4 Samantha Chin, 9IP, 2H, 0ER, 8K)

Not a bad showing by the Giants, who held the Montis high-powered offense to just 4.6 runs per game (compared to 7.06 in the regular season).

Round 1: Europe Cricketeers (74-88) vs. Mozilla Firefoxes (80-82)

Veteran ace Robert Kroger did not disappoint in his first playoff appearance, throwing two dominating starts that propelled the Firefoxes to victory. That came with a cost, however, as Kroger appeared to throw out his back while securing the Game 4 victory (he’s day-to-day with a strained back for the next 2 weeks, which doesn’t bode well for their series with the Montis).

Final Outcome: Mozilla Firefoxes win, 4-2 (6.0-4.3 runs/game)

Game 1: Mozilla 8-2 (SP1 Robert Kroger, 8IP, 3H, 2ER, 11K)
Game 2: Mozilla 5-4 (3B Thomas McElveen, 2-3, 2BB, 2R, 1RBI)
Game 3: Europe 6-4 (C Rolland Hochstetler, 2-3, 1BB, 2R, 3RBI, 1HR)
Game 4: Mozilla 8-3 (SP1 Robert Kroger, 8IP, 7H, 2ER, 9K)
Game 5: Europe 7-5 (DH Paul Ruch, 2-4, 1BB, 1R, 2RBI)
Game 6: Mozilla 6-5 (2B Benjamin Ortega, 2-3, 1R, 3RBI, 1HR)

Round 1: Pentax Shake Reducers (78-84) vs. Las Vegas Valleys (99-63)

The upstart Valleys looked like they were toast on October 8th, when a 7th-inning homerun by Pentax CF Steffen Richardson secured a close 7-6 win and sent Las Vegas reeling into an 0-3 series hole. Star LF Gates Skywaler had been annihilating Las Vegas pitching (6-12, 2HR, 7RBI in three games), Pentax ace Augusto Figueroa had delivered a 5-hit shutout in Game 1, and SP2 Warren Hobson dominated in a 8+2/3IP, 4-hit, 0ER performance in Game 2.

The Valleys battled back valiantly in Game 4 however. Las Vegas pitchers shockingly silencing Skywalker’s bat (0-4, 1K), and CF Richard Eager hammered Augosta Figueroa’s second start with 2 homers and 3RBI to lead a 7-5 victory. The Shake Reducers’ C Ralph Loftis fought back valiantly, going 3-4 with 2HR and all 5RBI’s, but it wasn’t enough.

Game 5 proved to be  a complete reversal of Game 2, with a group effort clobbering of Warren Hobson (2+2/3IP, 7ER) and Joseph Moser redeeming himself with a virtuous 8+2/3IP, 3-hit performance.

Game 6 featured all the dramatics – going into the 8th with a 2-0 lead, Gates Skywalker cleared the bases with a 2RBI double to tie the game up, the only runs Pentax would score. Unlikely hero Manuel Trujillo (.190-.245-.270 regular season) poked out an RBI single to walk off the game in the 9th.

In what might become a trend this postseason, Trujillo again uplifted the Valleys, going 3-4 with 1R and 4RBIs to back up an amazing performance by SP1 Larry Belton (9IP, 1ER, 6K)

Final Outcome: Las Vegas Valleys win, 4-3 (5.1-4.3 runs/game)

Game 1: Pentax 5-0 (SP1 Augusto Figueroa, 9IP, 5H, 0ER, 9K)
Game 2: Pentax 10-1 (SP2 Warren Hobson, 8+2/3IP, 4H, 0ER (1R), 8K)
Game 3: Pentax 7-6 (LF Gates Skywalker, 2-4, 1R, 3RBI, 1HR)
Game 4: Las Vegas 7-5 (C Ralph Loftis, 3-4, 2R, 5RBI, 2HR)
Game 5: Las Vegas 13-0 (SP2 Joseph Moser, 8+2/3IP, 3H, 8K)
Game 6: Las Vegas 3-2 (SP3 Frank Martin, 9IP, 6H, 2ER, 7K)
Game 7: Las Vegas 6-1 (SP1 Larry Belton, 9IP, 5H, 1ER, 6K)

A disappointing performance by Skywalker, who is knocked out in the divisional round for the first time in his career, and ends with a mellow .269-.286-.615 performance.

Round 1: Paris Forfeiters (86-77) vs. Nikon Vibration Reducers (86-76)

Game 1: The Paris Forfeiters wasted what may have been a golden opportunity for them in Game 1, after SP2 Rex White (of 13-14, 5.29 ERA regular season fame) staked them out to a 2-0 lead with 7 shutout innings, the bullpen fell apart, with Isaias Rodriguez yielding an 8th-inning run and closer Gabriel Yocom blowing the save and giving up a Bussho Takahashi triple to gift Nikon Vibration Reducers the win.

Game 2: Paris and ace Kyle Katarn did what you expected in Game 2, shutting out Nikon with a 2-hitter.

Game 3 saw an overall solid performance by 2B Eric Cook in a 7-4 team effort win.

Game 4: Rex White delivered another impressive 1-run performance, and again led by 2B Eric Cook absolutely obliterated the Vibration Reducers

Game 5: In a shaky 11-hit performance, Katarn managed to hold down the Vibration Reducers to 1 run over 7 innings, although this was almost blown again by the Forfeiters’ shaky defense (4ER in 1+2/3IP by John Parks and closer Garfield Yocom).

Final Outcome: Paris Forfeiters win 4-1 (6.4-2.6 runs/game)

Game 1: Nikon 3-2 (SP1 Josue Berrero, 8+2/3IP, 5H, 2ER, 4K)
Game 2: Paris 2-0 (SP1 Kyle Katarn, 9IP, 2H, 0ER, 11K)
Game 3: Paris 7-4 (2B Eric Cook, 2-2, 1BB, 2R, 2ER)
Game 4: Paris 15-1 (2B Eric Cook, 3-5, 1R, 5RBI)
Game 5: Paris 6-5 (C Alejandro Liriano, 3-4, 1R, 4RBI, 1HR)

A solid performance for Paris, who may have an emerging star in Eric Cook and may have a big 2 of their own in Katarn and Rex White.

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The 2008 Postseason Preview

League Review

Friday, 2008 October 1 – The fall returns once again, in a postseason that will see old titans to return and new legends begin. The Daly City Montis, off a staggeringly brilliant September and on a 26-1 run, look like they will barnstorm through the UL, where every other team in the league finished under .500. But major shakeups abound in the SWL, which is sending up the best team in its history to take revenge on their 2007 postseason snub.

First, a quick recap of the Montis’ September finish:

The final month was marked by sheer dominance by the Daly City rotation – of the 27 games, starters threw an absurd 18 complete games, gaining shutouts in 11 of them! They starters had a team ERA of 1.61 in September, and the only loss came from an unfortunate 2R complete game performance by Zhao.

Despite all the long starts, the bullpen and closer Josiah Leong did get in some work – he closed out 6 more saves and finished with the league lead at 36. Middle reliever Bernadette Dugtong also pitched 5 scoreless innings to end the season on a 12-inning scoreless streak.

1B Derek Lew started off with a slow month, almost losing the RBI lead he’s held for most of the season to United States 3B Juan Truex. But he began a late surge, hammering home 6 RBIs on 9/22 in the best Daly City performance of the year.

The team’s HR race went down to the wire – Lew faded in September with just 3 HR, but LF Ted Kwong, RF Francis Chen, and 3B/C Alan Wong all finished within a single homerun of each other. Kwong, battling Lew for the lead most of the season, tapered off with a solid 5 HR September, but was caught by a steadily rising Wong (8 September homeruns), and a herculean 11 by Chen, who has had jaw-dropping second-half splits after returning from his injury – 23 homeruns in 52 games and 189 at-bats, on pace for 71 over a 162-game season.

Overall, the Montis finished 141-21, the best season in team history and 61 games ahead of the second-place Mozilla Firefoxes at 80-82 (.494). The 3rd place Apple Septic Tanks were just 2 games behind at 78-84 (.481), while the Microsoft Longhorns saw a precipitous fall to 4th with a 71-90 (.441) finish, a 21 game drop from last year.

Things were shaken up once again in the UL Terran Division, where last years division champion Caribbean Pirates dropped 15 games to last place, finishing at 64-98 (.395) as the worst team in the league (after finishing with the best-ever Terran Division record in 2007). The Europe Cricketeers took the crown, at 74-88 (.457), just a single game above the Asia Giants.

In the SWL Photomaker Division, Pentax and Nikon swapped places, with the Vibration Reducers taking the crown at 86-76 (.531) and Pentax dropping a staggering 11 games off their 2007 mark to finish at 78-84 (.481), the first losing season of perrenial batter of the year Gates Skywalker’s career. Nontheless, he’s in the playoffs again, where he’ll hope to make some noise as a one-man wrecking crew.

The World Cities division saw the Las Vegas Valleys take a monumental leap, winning 99 games (99-63, .611), a new high-water market for any non-Montis team. They field a formidable offense and the SWL’s best pitching, and are a clear favorite for the SWL pennant. The wildcard, meanwhile, came down to the wire, with the #2 Tokyo Samurai trading an epic 5-game losing streak with Paris Forfeiters’ 5-game win streak heading into the last game of the season, to fall 1 game back. The Forefeiters would end up dropping their last game to Nikon while the Samurai would eek out a 3-2 victory over the Sony Super Steadyshots, leading to a historic Game 163 showdown between the two teams.

Saturday, 2008 October 2 – a scintillating finish to the regular season ensued in a dramatic Game 163, where the Paris Forfeiters, led by ace Kyle Katarn, faced off against the Tokyo Samurai’s emerging rookie Felix Andrade, who only picked up a starting spot in the rotation in mid-August.

Despite facing a harrowing lineup featuring THREE .500 sluggers, Andrade kept his composure, shutting out the Forfeiters and carrying a 2-hitter through the first 7 innings. But after a couple of leadoff hits and a sac-fly score in the 8th, things started to unravel for the young rookie as the Forfeiters put 3 runs on the board. Katarn, the reigning Pitcher of the Year, closed things off easily, throwing a 4-hit shutout over 8+2/3 innings before being relieved for the final out.

With the final game in the books, the Paris Forfeiters notched themselves 2nd place in the World Cities Division, granting them a date with the deadly Brandon Wroten-led Nikon Vibration Reducers.


Round 1: Asia Giants (73-89) vs. Daly City Montis (141-21)

A rematch of 2007’s divisional matchup, in which the Montis swept the Giants 4-0. The regular season series finished 22-3 for Daly City, which doesn’t also doesn’t bode well for Asia. On the bright side, the Giants squad is fully intact this year, with a formidable hitting core of Benjamin Trepanier (.326-.494-.591), Alex Quiros (.308-.400-.618), and a healthy Tom Clark (.318-.399-.569), who was injured 5 days before the playoffs last year and missed the series. Their pitching, unfortunately, is in disarray, ranking near the bottom of the league with a 5.53 ERA, and only one decent starter in lefty workhorse Eric McCutcheon (14-10, 4.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP).

Prediction: Daly City, 4-0

Round 1: Europe Cricketeers (74-88) vs. Mozilla Firefoxes (80-82)

Mozilla’s hopes of going far this postseason rest mainly on the arm of ace Robert Kroger (18-11, 3.36 ERA, 1.02 WHIP), who finally finds himself in his first playoff berth. Closer Thomas Yon came into his own this year, coming in 2nd in the league with 34 saves and a 2.70 ERA. On the offensive side they’ve got 1B Mack Nimmons who blossomed into a Batter of the Year caliber star this year, hitting .300-.378-.576 and knocking in career highs of 44HR/117RBI.

Despite being the division winner, the Cricketeers are at a notable disadvantage, having overplayed their true performance massively (+10 games over their Pythagorean record, more than double the second-luckiest teams). They were not just the worst offensive team in the postseason, but were actually LAST in the league offensively with just 710 runs scored, with longtime catcher Rolland Hochstetler getting nearly no support (their average team line was .247-.301-.402, easily worst in the league across all 3), and trot out a set of forgettable starters.

Prediction: Mozilla, 4-1

Round 1: Pentax Shake Reducers (78-84) vs. Las Vegas Valleys (99-63)

The Shake Reducers will try to make amends for their disappointing 2007, where they missed their shot at the World Series after dropping a command 3-1 lead in the Shinto-World League series, with the bullpen wasting a godly performance by 4-time Batter of the Year Gates Skywalker. They mostly return their same core as last year, with 1B Barney Raymo (.300-.350-.577) batting cleanup and ace Augusto Figueroa hoping to lock down his starts.

They’re facing a stiff new challenger in the Las Vegas Valleys, who exploded to a +15 win improvement this year and were the 2nd best team in baseball after the Montis. The Valleys were boosted hugely with the signing of third baseman and leadoff hitter William Fludd, who boasted a .416 OBP this year, and their young pair of aces in Larry Belton and Joseph Moster coming into their own. This will be perennial Batter of the Year bridesmaid Richard Eager’s first trip back to the playoffs since 2005, when they were knocked out 1-4 in the divisional series against the Canon Image Stabilizers (Skywalker’s then-team).

The Shake Reducers pack the star power with the best starter and by far the best batter in the galaxy, but the Valleys have established a solid depth all season long. In a 7-game series, star heroics could make this anyone’s win!

Prediction: Las Vegas, 4-2

Round 2: Paris Forfeiters (86-77) vs. Nikon Vibration Reducers (86-76)

Paris has the closest thing to a lock-down ace in this half of the league in Kyle Katarn (led the SWL with 13 CG’s and 6 shutouts), but the bad news is that they spent Katarn’s first start on the Game 163 play-in to get here. The Forfeiters’ pitching staff is an absolute mess after that – the remaining rotation are running in 5-6.00 ERA range, and the bullpen hasn’t fared much better, with 41-year-old closer Garfield Yocom clearly showing his age(4.03 ERA and 8 blown saves on the season). They’ve still got the brilliant on-base machine SS Lamont Sanchez (.317-.440-.552), but will need to rake in at least 2 non-Katarn starts to help out their awful pitching.

The Vibration Reducers meanwhile will hope to hammer the Forfeiters into… forfeiture. 1B Brandon Wroten has been a star for years but reached another level in 2008, obliterating 61 home runs (the first ever 60HR season by someone not named Skywalker), with a .317-.415-.698 line. Though a regression from his BotY-caliber 2007, Maul Foundation (.322-.358-.580) and 3B Joseph Harmon (.333-.388-.506) will supplement the lineup, and hopefully keep things competitive for a ho-hum pitching staff.

Prediction: Paris, 4-2

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Season-so-far: September 1, 2008

Team Review

The second half of the season has been a regression back to the mean for the Montis. They’ve seen their .840 record tumble, mostly on the pitching staff falling back to earth – the 2.25 team ERA mark at the midway point is now 2.45, and the Montis stumbled to an 8-5 record in their first 13 games out of the All-Star Break. Since then however, they’ve been spectacular, going a spectacular 39-2 (.951) and locking up the division championship in early-August (they stand at 46 games ahead of the second-place Apple Septic Tanks, the only other team in the league above .500).

The Lineup

Alan Wong, Catcher: .321-.372-.613 in 339PA | 8.53 RC/27 | 39HR 99RBI 107R 7SB

Solid as he was in the first half, Wong has kicked things into overdrive, hitting .355-.417-.677 at a consistent clip. Wong was also Daly City’s best slugger in the past two months, mashing 18 homeruns to give him 39 on the season, just 4 behind LF Ted Kwong. Interestingly for a hitter of his talents, Wong procured more Runs than RBIs in both months and now stands at 107 Runs to 99 RBIs despite hitting from the #5 spot for most of the season, perhaps an effect of Lew and Kwong clearing the bases ahead of him, and surprising production out of the #6-8 spots. Wong’s got a decent shot at the Monti’s rookie HR record, needing just 9 more to tie Kwong’s record of 48 set last season.

Tina “Experimental ErRR!!” Quach, Backup Catcher: .328-.406-.439 in 471PA | 7.446RC/27 | 6HR 48RBI 71R 9SB

Quach has remained stable for the second half, batting .316-.396-.431 to mostly mirror her season averages as she locks down the C spot in the better defensive alignment that sees her behind the plate, Wong at 3B, and Salgu Wissmath sliding over to SS to take over for the struggling Henry Nghe. At a .406 OBP she’s seen her ebb between her normal spot at the bottom of the lineup at the #2 position. With a good last month, she’s in striking position of her career-high totals from 2006, needing just 23 more hits, 5 doubles, 1 homerun, 18 RBIs, 13 runs, and 13 walks, in addition to being on pace for a career high across her batting line.

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: .279-.334-.463 in 164PA | 5.24 RC/27 | 6HR 27RBI 18R 1SB

After one of the most abysmal halves ever to begin the season, many regarded Marco as finished, and indeed his July numbers were also piddling, hitting .286-.310-.357 in 28 at-bats without a single homer. Paz exploded back into form during August however, mashing .373-.449-.644 with 4HR and 15RBIs in his 17 games. While there’s not enough playing time left to sniff anywhere close to his 2007 counting totals as a starter, Paz may yet match or even exceed his rate numbers, a remarkable feat given the abysmal first half he had.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: .335-.373-.674 in 619PA | 9.29 RC/27 | 34HR 136RBI 110R 7SB

July saw Derek plunge back to earth, with Lew putting up an anemic .255-.295-.509 line for the month, although he somehow still managed a staggering 25 RBIs out of that. However he jumped right back into form in August, hitting .379-.419-.766 and adding in another 36 RBIs. Overall he’s stroked in an incredible 61 RBIs in two months to build up toward 136 on the season – within striking distance of his career high (164 in 2006) and perhaps even the team record (166, by LF Norman Ho in 2004).

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: .315-.370-.578 in 589PA | 8.50 RC/27 | 30HR 103RBI 131R 106SB

Many thought that Ortiz’s race for another SB record would be dashed after his two-week stint on the DL from receiving a HBP in May. But undeterred, Ortiz built himself up steadily with 26 steals in 26 July games, and then obliterated records with 31 steals in 28 August games – all on a middling .359 OBP! His wizardry on the basepaths seems to have helped in run production as well – he crossed home plate 67 times (including 37 in August alone). Ortiz also seems to have refound his power stroke, knocking out 17 homers in the past two months. Just 6 steals behind the record 112 he set last year, he’s all but set to obliterate that number despite the missed playing time.

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Backup Shortstop: .297-.361-.435 in 267PA | 6.25 RC/27 | 6HR 36RBI 46R 6SB

What once seemed like the start of a new Renaissance may be looked upon as a final swan song in the career of Mr. Nghe, who has hit .262-.297-.328 since July and has been just abysmal unproductive all around. Overall his season numbers still don’t look bad, but with the rise of Salgu Wissmath it looks like his days at Daly City’s major league level are done.

Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Shortstop: .330-.382-.490 in 482PA | 7.69 RC/27 | 13HR 88RBI 82R 24SB

Wissmath has continued her streak of hot hitting, going .331-.399-.461 in the second half, proving her across-the-board rise in the first half wasn’t a fluke. She’s batted her way into both a permanent starting spot at SS and oftentimes into the #2 position, an opportunity which might see her eek her way into the 100-100 club (she’s at 88 RBIs and 82 Runs currently, having averaged 16 RBIs and 17.5 Runs in the last two months).

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah Basewoman: .163-.255-.184 in 55PA | 1.60 RC/27 | 0HR 3RBI 4R 0SB

Maung’s second-half stats are perhaps not even worth mentioning – in 4 games she’s managed 12 plate appearances, walking once and going hitless the other 11 times, for a depressing second-half line of .000-.083-.000. Failing to hit at even an A-ball level, it’s doubtful Maung may see anymore than a farewell pinch-hit appearance in her last month, and she’s liable to see her finish out with perhaps the worst hitting season in Daly City history (her main rival being Marco Paz’s .139-.160-.228 in 106 PA’s in 2006).

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: .342-.418-.671 in 610PA | 11.07 RC/27 | 43HR 128RBI 123R 26SB

Lights-out, perhaps the only way that Kwong’s numbers can be described. He’s hit .360-.420-.707 in the second half, winning the August Batter of the Month award with 13 RBIs and 37 RBIs. He’s leading the team in HR by a comfortable amount, although despite the monster numbers he still lags behind 1B Lew in RBI, perhaps a victim of cleaning up behind him. With a decent half-month, he’s on pace to best last season’s totals in HR, RBI, and hits, although he’ll need a continued push to match the gaudy rate stats that won him MVP in 2007.

Tiffany Ho, Centerfielder: .330-.372-.465 in 382PA | 6.39 RC/27 | 6HR 49RBI 52R 6SB

Ho continued on her explosive June as she’s continued to make contact and even add a bit of power to her batting – she’s hit .353-.404-.516 in the second half. She’s taken starts from all around the outfield, especially in Chen’s RF absence, but at this point has mostly settled into CF after wresting that away from the soft-hitting Kuo.

Jessica Kuo, Backup Centerfielder: .296-.316-.338 in 370PA | 4.14 RC/27 | 2HR 37RBI 51R 59SB

The speedy CF hasn’t batted poorly in the second half, but she’s had to fight for playing time with OF Tiffany Ho and saw just 27 games in July and August. Gathering barely any walks or extra base hits, her ability to get on-base and drive in runs has been tied almost purely to her contact, which just hasn’t seen the stratospheric heights she achieved in her rookie year. She’s managed to maintain her running clip, swiping 20 bags in those 27 games, but she’d need a miracle of playtime and a month for the ages to make up the 31 steals needed to match her career high.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: .253-.370-.595 in 465PA | 7.99 RC/27 | 36HR 92RBI 86R 16SB

Chen missed a huge amount of games in June and July from his broken finger, but man oh man has he made up for lost time. Despite his absence for the entire first half of July, he leads the team in second-half homeruns, having knocked out 21 (vs Kwong’s 20, Wong’s 18, Ortiz’s 17, and Lew’s 13). With a .287-.385-.758 second-half line, Chen is also batting like a complete superstar hitter for the first time in his career.


Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: .310-.341-.525 in 334PA | 6.68 RC/27 | 13HR 50RBI 48R 0SB

Reid has boomed in the second half of the season, putting up a .359-379-.594 line after a quiet first half to the season, and bringing up his rate stats from the bottom tier of the team back into the middle. He’d do well to insist on staying in his RHP platoon role, where he’s hitting .319-.342-.553, as compared to his anemic .271-.338.407 against lefties.

The Bullpen

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: .095-.122-.190 in 346+1/3IP | 0.88ERA 0.39WHIP | 37-1 719K 18SHO

The spectacular workhorse season for Yan has continued unabated, recording 5 shutouts out of 8 starts in July, and in his 34th start, breaking the 9-inning strikeout record with 25 K’s against the European Cricketeers (it also ties the overall single-game record, set in a marathon 11-inning complete game shutout start on July 1 2006). The increased load doesn’t seem to have slowed down Nathan one bit – by mid-August he had registered 34 starts (the number he made last year), having thrown an even 300 innings and a staggering 628 K’s, 31 complete games and 16 shutouts, all improvements on his 2007 run.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: .222-.264-.323 in 181IP | 3.03ERA 1.04WHIP 11.4K/9| 16-5 230K 3SHO

The tenacious flamethrower continued a solid if unspectacular second-half, going 6-2 in 74 innings with a 2.92 ERA and notching 5 complete games in that span. She’s second on the team in wins, though just barely at 16 over Chin and Vong’s 14 in significantly fewer innnings.

Terrence Zhao, Starting Pitcher #3: .209-.288-.296 in 92IP | 1.86 ERA 1.14WHIP 10.0K/9 | 11-0 102K 3SHO

Zhao made his dramatic return from his two-month DL stint with a ruptured tricep tendon, but it looks like it will still take some time to return to his amazing form that saw him throw nearly 4 consecutive May shutouts. He gutted out 3ER on 8+1/3 innings in a win on his return on August 13 against the Mozilla Firefoxes, and just barely made quality starts in his next two outings against the Apple Septic Tanks and US Patriots (3ER on 6+2/3 and 6IP, respectively). Zhao’s torrid control issues also persist, having given up a staggering 12 walks in the three starts (5.1 BB/9). Nonetheless, he was a perfect 3-0 in his August return, and remains a 12/12 in quality starts with an 11-0 record.

Samantha Chin, #4 Starting Pitcher: .228-.298-.335 in 168IP | 2.84ERA 1.10WHIP 9.4K/9 | 14-3 176K 2SHO

Chin has been rolling in the second half of the season, despite dropping to the fourth option as a result of Zhao’s return. She pitched particularly brilliantly in August, winning 3 of 4 games with a 1.80 ERA and notching her second shutout of the season, an 11-K masterpiece against the European Cricketeers. She’s unlikely to reach the lofty heights of her 2007 season, but is on pace to set a career high in strikeouts (33 K’s behind).

Alfred Vong, Starting Pitcher #5: .231-.264-.377 in 137IP | 3.22ERA 0.99WHIP 7.4K/9| 14-3 112K 1SHO

Perhaps no one in the rotation has done more with less playing time than Vong this season – he’s tied for 3rd on the team in wins with 14 (a career high!) in just 19 starts and 137 innings – far fewer than fellow starters Chin and Esguerra. He finished off the month of August particularly brilliantly, throwing 3 complete games and 1 shutout in 4 starts, recording a 1.85 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in 34 innings.

Sean Wade, Starting Pitcher #6: .272-.318-.396 in 90IP | 5.20ERA 1.29WHIP 7.2K/9 | 7-3 72K 2SHO

The wheels have definitely fallen off the Wade wagon in August, when he notched one of the worst months in Daly City pitching history – 18 ER in 3 starts and 13+2/3 innings, for an 11.85 ERA and 2.05 WHIP. With Zhao’s return to fill out the 6-man rotation, Wade may be getting just one or two more starts in to salvage his career.

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: .228-.302-.350 in 62IP | 2.90ERA 1.26WHIP 7.5K/9 | 5-0 0HLD 0SV 52K

Continuing to fill in for the injured Terrence Zhao, Cox has mostly been held in reserve, making just 5 relief appearances in the second half. She has been nothing short of brilliant in her spot starts however – making her 2nd start of the season on July 24th, throwing a career-high 138 pitches and holding the Asia Giants to a single run in her first ever complete game start, striking out a career-high 9 in the process, and followed that up in an even more brilliant second start – 9 innings, 1ER, and 10 strikeouts in a win. Overall, she’s 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in her 3 starts this season.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: .239-.291-.319 in 36IP | 2.25ERA 1.17WHIP 7.5K/9 | 4-2 6HLD 2SV 30K

Dugtong continues as the most effective rate reliever in the bullpen, amassing a 2.08 ERA in Jul-Aug, although she seems to be losing most of the high-leverage opportunities to Connie Chen, amassing just 9 save opportunities compared to Chen’s 25.

Katie Clayton, Setup Reliever: .195-.229-.286 in 22IP | 3.27ERA 0.86WHIP 7.0K/9 | 1-0 17K 6HLD 0SV

Clayton has been a solid part of the bullpen committee, putting up 15 innings in July-August on a 3.00 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. Although she’ll have a half-season of limited innings, her performance looks like a career year compared to her first stint with the Montis in 2003-2005.

Connie Chen, Setup Reliever: .259-.326-.386 in 41IP | 3.51ERA 1.39WHIP 6.6K/9 | 2-1 30K 21HLD 1SV

Things have been hot and cold for Chen, who has alternated between spectacular months (1.29, 2.16, and 1.04 ERA’s in Apr/Jun/Jul) and complete stinkers (6.23ERA in May and 6.48 in August). Overall she continues a brilliant campaign, and may be considered the team’s setup reliever with a staggering 22 holds, already setting a new Montis record (the previous had been just 13, set by Angel Poon in the inaugural 2003 season). She’s 2nd in the league in that stat as well, trailing Mozilla Firefox reliever Gary Lawrence by just 1.

Josiah Leong, Closer: .174-.265-.262 in 50IP | 2.16ERA 1.00WHIP 13.0K/9 | 4-2 0HLD 30SV 72K

After a slow start to the saves season (just 13 in the first half), Leong has been a save machine. Josiah picked up a whopping 10 saves in the month of July, including a stretch of 5 appearances and saves on 5 consecutive days from July 19-23. He’s now challenging for the league Saves lead, and might have an outside chance of topping his career high of 40, set in his first year as closer in 2004.

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2008 Midseason Review (Team)

Team Review

The Montis are out to their best start in team history, compiling a 68-13 (.840) record at the halfway point on the back of an insane-sounding 2.25 team ERA on the strength of ace starter Nathan Yan’s dominating 0.85 ERA at 202IP, pacing the second-place leader by a staggering 50 innings and accounting for a full 27.3% of the team’s innings. The team has been hit with two significant injuries however, taking out arguably their 2nd-hottest pitcher, SP4 Terrence Zhao and RF slugger Francis Chen.

The Lineup

Alan Wong, Catcher: .297-.342-.569 in 339PA | 7.00 RC/27 | 21HR 57RBI 59R 3SB

The rookie catcher has actually spent more time at 3B than C, as incumbent third basewoman Wissmath has slid over to the middle infield for 44 games this season. He’s now at 363 innings (41 games) played at 3B and 327+2/3 (40 games) innings at C. Despite the defensive juggling, Wong has been about as consistent as they come, hitting a combined .297-.344-.575 in May and June to mostly match his April numbers (.297-.342-.554). He’s tied for 2nd on the team with 21 homeruns, and ranks 3rd with 57 RBI’s, and Daly City appears to have finally found a new long-term starter at one of the C or 3B position. Wong also makes up one of the FIVE Daly City position players named to the All-Star team!

Tina “Experimental ErRR!!” Quach, Backup Catcher: .336-.414-.445 in 274PA | 7.76RC/27 | 4HR 36RBI 41R 4SB

Worried about her playing time at the beginning of the season, Quach has hit her way into the lineup and stayed there – with incumbent backup Paz hitting atrociously, and original starting C Wong taking over most of the 3B duties, Quach has managed 33 games at catcher, and split another 21 games between 3B, LF, and RF.  After the hot start in April, Quach barely let up – she hit .326-.415-.424, and a torrid June saw her move up to the #2 slot (just behind Ortiz and ahead of Lew), where she racked up a team-leading 25 runs for the month. Her AVG (.336) and OBP (.414) both place 2nd on the team (barely behind Lew and Kwong, respectively), and the 5th year veteran is looking at a career year across most categories if she keeps up her pace.

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: .183-.227-.333 in 66PA | 1.86 RC/27 | 2HR 10RBI 4R 0SB

Paz has continued to struggle, though he’s managed to punctuate those cold streaks with dramatic homeruns. On June 7th against the Asia Giants, Paz launched a 412 foot grand slam for his 2nd homer of the year. Alas, he’s still hitting just .183-227-.333 on the year, and is seeing his play time marginalized with the great successes of Quach and Wong at Catcher.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: .344-.380-.691 in 371PA | 10.08 RC/27 | 21HR 75RBI 69R 5SB

The veteran’s career year continues, as he hit .333-.373-.671 over May-June, and is now .344-.380-.691 overall on the season, with a 1.071 OPS, 10.08 RC/27 and 88.9 RC so far. Those numbers all rank in the top-3 in the league, and he’s within striking distance of the all-time Daly City marks (1.149 OPS by Ted Kwong in 2007, 10.95 RC/27 by Norman Ho in 2003, and 165.53 RC by Ho in 2003). Lew’s also hit FIFTY (50!) doubles so far this season – the mark leads the UL by a huge margin (2nd-place Boba Fett has just 30), and would obliterate the record of 78 set just last year by Lew. Needless to say, the 6th-year veteran topped the All-Star voting for the 1B position.

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: .316-.373-.564 in 322PA | 8.14 RC/27 | 13HR 51RBI 64R 49SB

Ortiz was on a hot pace through May, hitting .337-372-.673 (along with 17 more steals) from the leadoff spot. On May 26th, though, he suffered an errant pitch to the head, which left him for out for two weeks with blurry vision. Returning in the second half of June, Ortiz hit .309-.377-.515 with 12 more steals, putting him at 49 at the halfway mark. He leads the league by a wide margin, but after the missed injury time breaking last year’s record (he’s 63 away) seems a momentous task. Ortiz’s offensive capabilities at 2B earned him his 2nd straight nod for the All-Star game.

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: .309-.384-.472 in 204PA | 7.27 RC/27 | 6HR 31RBI 41R 6SB

The elder has seen a resurgence of late – after seeing himself played out after a not bad yet not amazing May (.297-.366-.378), Nghe has exploded in June, going .361-.440-.639 in a performance reminiscent of prime 2005 Nghe. At .309-.384-.472, Nghe is surprisingly 3rd on the team in OBP, and #3 in walks despite ranking 2nd-to-last in plate appearances among starters.

Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Third Basewoman: .330-.374-.510 in 281PA | 7.82 RC/27 | 9HR 56RBI 47R 12SB

It’s been an impressive two months for Swissmath, who’s been shuffling all across the infield during stints of ineffectiveness by Nghe and Ortiz’s eye injury. To date she’s logged 30 games at SS, 25 games at 3B, and 14 games at 2B. While handling those defensive duties gracefully, she’s kicked up her hitting abilities to an all-new Ortiz-like level. From May-June she hit .345-.386-.552, and has already eclipsed last year’s power totals in just 2/3 of the games. Surprisingly she ranks 4th on the team in RBIs, after she piled up 30 in June, including 10 in a 2-game span on June 12-13 that earned her Batter of the Week honors (she went .429-.448-.821 with 13 RBI’s in all that week). The late surge has lifted Wissmath into her first ever All-Star appearance.

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah Basewoman: .211-.286-.237 in 42PA | 2.29 RC/27 | 0HR 2RBI 3R 0SB

Batting an abysmal .211-.286-.237, Maung seems to have been all but forgotten as an element in Daly City’s lineup – she had 10 plate appearances in May, and 9 in June, and her 42PA put her on track for the lowest batter usage since 2004.

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: .329-.416-.645 in 365PA | 10.50 RC/27 | 23HR 75RBI 76R 19SB

It hasn’t been the soaring heights of his rookie season, but Ted has trucked along splendidly, going .328-.424-.623 in May-June. He’s neck-and-neck with 1B Lew in the HR and RBI categories, leading the team with 23 homeruns and tying with Lew for the RBI-lead with 75. Disappointingly, Kwong’s HR rate (once per 13.6 AB’s) hasn’t kept up with his prodigious rookie season (once per 11.8 AB’s) – he’ll need to dial it up in the 2nd half if he hopes to hit the 50 HR mark he just barely missed out on last season.

Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: .286-.302-.336 in 268PA | 3.92 RC/27 | 2HR 25RBI 32R 39SB

For a moment in May, the talented Kuo seemed to have turned a corner in the stolen base race – she set a new single-game record with six stolen bases on 2008 May 7, running wild on sophomore Asia Giants backup catcher Eugene Beasley. On May 13, she put up a 3-steal performance against the Europen Cricketeers to tie Ortiz at 30 steals (giving her 17 steals in just 12 games), and she finally pushed ahead of him with a steal each on May 14 and 15. Her reign wouldn’t last long, however – hampered by a terrible OBP performance, Kuo found the steal opportunities few-and-far between, compiling only a .219 OBP in 8 games through the rest of May, with just 1 more steal (against 2 caught stealing attempts). June saw a further decline in Kuo’s OBP (.273 for the month), and she managed just 6 steals while playing in 2/3 of the team’s games. For the season she’s batting .286-.302-.336- the OBP and SLG are by far the lowest on the team of those with regular playing time (everyone aside from Paz and Maung).

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: .229-.363-.485 in 281PA | 6.56 RC/27 | 15HR 49RBI 49R 12SB

After a strong start to April, Chen faltered mightily in May, as he his .219-.342-.396, with only 5 home runs. His stroke got even colder in June, as he hit .171-.341-.371. Perhaps mercifully, on June 15 Chen broke his finger while diving for the 27th out (he made the catch) – the injury will set him on the DL for 4 weeks, though the type of injury will mean that Chen won’t get much training time in between. He’s batting .229-.363-.485 so far, which would be a career-high OBP, but significant regression in power compared tohis breakthrough 2007 campaign.

Tiffany Ho, Backup Outfielder: .312-.347-.426 in 216PA | 5.40 RC/27 | 4HR 26RBI 29R 4SB

After a sluggish start to the season, Ho seems to be hitting like her normal self these days, rejuvenated by a .365-.394-.448 June that brought her overall line up to .312-.347-.426. With two more HR this season, Ho has set a career high of 4 and DOUBLED her career total in just half a sesaon, although a lack of doubles and triples has put her SLG in line with last year’s. Ho also carried a career-high 20 game hitting streak from May 23 – June 15. With a floundering Kuo and injured Chen, Ho has presently secured a starting role between the two positions (8 games in LF, 19 games in CF, and 23 games in RF).

Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: .277-.318-.479 in 201PA | 5.29 RC/27 | 6HR 22RBI 23R 0SB

Reid hit a solid .288-.322-.511 in May-June, good enough to reclaim the majority of DH starts after losing his starting role after a tough April. With just the 8th-best OPS and 9th-best OBP on the team, though, his hold is tenuous at best.

The Bullpen

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: .091-.119-.174 in 202IP | 0.85ERA 0.38WHIP | 21-1 412K 10SHO

Through the first half of the season, Yan has put forth staggering counting stats – after 23 starts he sits at 21-1, with 202 innings pitched (8.78 per start), 21 complete games, 10 shutouts, and a staggering 412 strikeouts. Despite the heavy workload (he’s pitched 27.3% of the team’s innings thus far), Yan’s rate stats have held up – his 0.85 ERA would be the 2nd-best of his career, and his 0.38 WHIP and 18.4 K/9 are career-bests if he can maintain them. Yan also threw his 3rd no-hitter on the season on May 15, a 0-walk, 0-HBP affair that was AGAIN broken up by a fielding error.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: .237-.283-.344 in 107IP | 3.11ERA 1.12WHIP | 10-3 135K 1SHO

In a season of struggle, Esguerra finally notched her first (and so far only) shutout of the season on May 20, but outside of that performance she’s been rocky – she’s pitched a quality start only 73.3% of the time, compared to her stellar 93.3% mark last season. Despite that, she’s still 2nd on the team in wins and strikeouts (and 3rd in the league behind Kroger), with a 10-3 record and 135 K’s (a career-best 11.4 K’s/9).

Samantha Chin, #3 Starting Pitcher: .204-.283-.298 in 104IP | 2.60ERA 1.02WHIP 10.0K/9 | 9-2 116K 1SHO

Chin stumbled out of the gate, giving up 6 runs in 2+1/3 innings in her first May start. She’s settled down ever since, throwing 8 straight quality starts and notching her first shutout of the season on June 17 against the Mozilla Firefoxes and continuing to throw fire with a 10.0 K/9 mark, the 4th best in the league.

Terrence Zhao, Starting Pitcher #4: .197-.266-.291 in 71IP | 1.27 ERA 1.03WHIP 10.5K/9 | 8-0 83K 3SHO

After a good start in April, Zhao was absolutely untouchable in May, throwing three straight shutouts to start the month, including a 4-hit, 1-walk, 13-K beauty on May 25 against the Microsoft Longhorns. He was well on his way to a 4th consecutive shutout on May 30 against the US Patriots, throwing 6+2/3 innings before a rain delay shut down the game for 63 minutes. Tragically Zhao seemed to have cooled down too much during the downtown – he returned after the delay and immediately ruptured his tricep tendon, and injury which will put him out for the next 8-9 weeks. Fortunately with Yan pitching on 3 days rest this season, the 5-man rotation was able to pick up most of the slack in June, ceding just 1 start to long reliever Kelley Cox, so the rotation looks to be alright until Zhao’s return in August.

Alfred Vong, Starting Pitcher #5: .244-.284-.405 in 77IP | 3.74ERA 1.10WHIP 6.8K/9| 7-2 58K 0SHO

Vong struggled for most of May-June, giving up at least 3 runs and not making it out of the 7th in all but 1 of his 8 starts. That one start was a beauty however, a 1-run, complete-game effort against the Mozilla Firefoxes – and he got the win this time. Vong’s fundamental numbers are just about in line with last year’s, as the Montis will look for one of their back-of-rotation starters to make a leap forward to replace the injured #4 Zhao.

Sean Wade, Starting Pitcher #6: .258-.306-.362 in 57+1/3IP | 3.92ERA 1.17WHIP 7.1K/9 | 5-2 45K 2SHO

Pressed into the #5 starting role after Zhao’s tricep injury, Wade has perhaps flashed the hottest and coldest of any pitcher in the rotation. Despite making just 8 starts, Wade is in fact 3rd on the team with 3CG and 2SHO on the season – he’s blanked the European Cricketeers twice on May 13 and June 22. Sandwiched between those starts, however, has been a couple of ugly outings in which he gave up 7 runs each to the Apple Septic Tanks and the Cricketeers. Overall his marks – 3.92ERA, 1.17 WHIP – have been decent, certainly an improvement over the 2007 campaign that lost him his starting job.

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: .181-.262-.252 in 35IP | 1.54ERA 1.06WHIP 6.9K/9 | 2-0 0HLD 0SV 27K

Cox has pitched masterfully and blossomed into Daly City’s most reliable reliever. She ended May going into a 10+1/3 inning scoreless stretch. That combined with her endurance has led her into the #6 spot starting role after Zhao’s injury, in which she performed masterfully, giving up just a single earned run in 7 innings, though she was thwarted by 2 unearned runs off of fielding errors by Nghe and Wissmath. Overall she worked a heavy 26+2/3 innings over May-June, achieving a 1.35ERA. With the All-Star Break she likely won’t see another start until late-July, but if she performs well she might be a prime candidate to leapfrog Vong and Wade intot he #4 slot.

Connie Chen, Middle Reliever: .258-.314-.366 in 24IP | 3.38ERA 1.33WHIP 7.1K/9 | 1-1 19K 10HLD 1SV

Connie had a rough go in May, putting up a 6.23ERA in 8+2/3 innings, including an ugly 4-run apperance on May 1st, which saw her temporarily lose the setup role. She rebounded in June, throwing 8+1/3 innings at a 2.16ERA clip.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: .233-.289-.333 in 23IP | 2.35ERA 1.17WHIP 7.4K/9 | 1-0 1HLD 2SV 19K

Dugtong was the May workhorse, throwing 11 brilliant innings with just a single run given up (0.82 ERA). She also earned herself both a clutch win and a 3-inning save in that span! Unfortunately that magic was to run out in June, where she threw just 5+2/3 innings with a 4.77 ERA.

Katie Clayton, Setup Reliever: .200-.222-.320 in 7IP | 3.86ERA 0.86WHIP 10.3K/9 | 0-0 8K 3HLD 0SV

Called up in early June to shore up the bullpen after the Zhao injury and Cox’s subsequent move into the rotation, the old veteran – one of the original 2003 squad – has mostly pitched brilliantly, starting off her revival with 5 PERFECT innings in her first 5 appearances. Unfortunately that magic ran out at a critical time in an ugly June 19th appearance relieving Esguerra, in which she failed to clear inherited runners or get out of the inning, giving up 3 fateful runs in what was eventually a 4-6 loss (credited to Esguerra). Still with Cox lost to the rotation for 6 more weeks and the rest of the bullpen performing inconsistently, the Montis will rely heavily on her veteran presence down the stretch.

Josiah Leong, Closer: .167-.228-.272 in 33IP | 2.18ERA 0.82WHIP 13.6K/9 | 4-2 0HLD 13SV 50K

Leong has begun to lock things down, allowing just 3 runs and 14 baserunners in 19+2/3 innings (1.37ERA, 0.71WHIP), while securing 8 saves and a win. He did take one loss in that span, in a Herculean effort against Mozilla on May 24th – entering in the 10th after 9 innings of 1-run baseball by Samantha Chin, Leong held off the Firefoxes for 6+2/3 innings and 84 pitches while Mozilla swapped in 5 different relievers from their bullpen, eventually ceding a run in the 16th for the loss. Overall Leong is shattering the fundamental marks over his previous season, finally controlling his walks (just 2.2BB/9, down from 4.7 last season) and ratcheting up his strikeout rate (13.6K/9). He’s at just 13 saves on the season and isn’t likely to touch his high-water mark of 40, but that’s more a product of Daly City’s dominant .840 record and blowouts.

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Season-so-far: May 1, 2008

Team Review

Things have gotten off to a red-hot start for the Daly City Montis, who opened up with a dominant 25-3 (.893) April and currently ride a 17-game winning streak. The team leads the league in scoring with 179 runs (the second-place Tokyo Samurai have 164), but has absolutely dominated on the defensive side, giving up just 66 runs (second-place Paris Forfeiters have 122). They’re led by #1 Starting Pitcher Nathan Yan’s workhorse efforts (his 70 innings are a whopping 27.2% of the team’s total), but the rest of the team hasn’t slouched – #2 Starter Whitney Esguerra actually holds the team’s highest ERA at 3.44.

Last year’s runner-up in the UL, the Microsoft Longhorns, currently sit at the bottom of the Galactica Division at 11-17 (.393). They’ve mostly been done in by horrendous pitching – their 6.09 ERA ranks dead last in the league, and are a far cry from last year’s #3 spot. In the SWL, Canon leads the pace at 19-9 (.679), with an impressive 4.08 ERA.

The Lineup

Alan Wong, Catcher: The Berkeley Independent League import started slow – by 4/13 he had yet to display any of his touted power potential in those first 39 plate appearances, with just 8 singles to his name (a sad .205/.205/.205 line). After debuting at #4 in the batting order, he had dropped all the way to the 8th slot as the team’s worst hitter. On April 14, however, Wong hit his first career homerun, a 392ft shot off of Caribbean Pirates reliever James Baker. The rookie has been on a tear ever since, batting .355-.420-.774 with 7 homeruns, 16 runs, and 18 RBIs over just 15 games, and is setting up nicely as the fourth power pillar in a quickly-crowding Daly City lineup.

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: Paz did not have a great April – he’s hit just .182-.229-.333, though he does have the 1 homerun to his credit. With the emergence of new C Alan Wong, and former C Tina Quach’s hot start, the plate appearances may be fewer and farther between for the displaced Paz.

Tina Quach, Super Utility: Quach was worried about her role going into the season, ranking 3rd in the depth chart at a multitude of positions, but with no clear avenue to any consistent starting position. Perhaps that pre-season diss was motivation enough – Quach has played like a woman on fire in April, batting .370-.417-.519 to post the 3rd-best OPS on the team at .935 while filling in at catcher, third base, and DH. Impressively, she hasn’t yet struck out this season in 61 plate appearances.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: The longtime offensive stalwart opened the season batting #6. While the veteran of five seasons had been consistent, the prevailing view was that incoming power hitters like rookie C Wong would surpass his roundhouse power, and speedsters like 2B Ortiz and CF Kuo were a better fit at the top of the order. Suffice to say, the rumors of Lew’s plateau and surpassing were GREATLY exaggerated. At age 19, Lew has developed a whole new gear, batting an absurd .367-.400-.734 (that 1.134 OPS leads the team and is good for 2nd in the league). He leads the UL in AVG, Hits, 2B, and is tied for 6th in HR, and has re-established himself in the running for the Batter of the Year award (which he won in 2006).

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: Ortiz seems to have firmly entrenched himself at the #2 slot, where he’s scoring runs at a prodigious pace behind Daly City’s loaded #3-6 lineup. He leads the league with 30 runs on his .371 OBP, and is keeping close pace with last season’s steals record at 20 SB.

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shortstop: The old shortstop’s grip on his position is starting to slip – already on a tight leash, his .261-.333-.348 line ranks him 3rd-last on the team in OPS, and lags behind backup 3B Wissmath’s .731, who threatens to slide into his position (she’s actually the far better defender) to make way for a stronger hitter at 3B.

Salgu “Swissmath” Wissmath, Third Basewoman: Swissmath’s season so far has been pedestrian – she’s batting .284-.342-.388 while mostly toiling away at the bottom of the order and splitting time between 3B and SS. She’s done well in the clutch, however, batting .500-.600-1.125 in close/late situations and .364-.462-.727 with runners in scoring position. Defensively, she’s displayed great range, but has been sloppy while splitting duties across the two positions – her 3 errors lead the team so far.

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah-basewoman: Maung hasn’t shown much in her limited time, putting together a .238-.304-.286 line. Kept primarily for her clutch pinch hitting apperances, she did manage a hit-by-pitch RBI in her lone chance so far.

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: The reigning MVP has slowed down lately (a sad .111-.292-.333 in the last 5 games), but is still on a torrid pace for the season – he’s batting .330-.405-.688, 2nd in HR, 2nd in RBIs, and 3rd in OPS. From the middle of the order he’s piled up 31 RBIs and 29 Runs, and leads the league with 5 intentional walks. He’s also put up 10 steals, mostly as a tag-along after getting on-base behind Kuo/Ortiz.

Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: Kuo did well, but didn’t exactly set the world on fire from the leadoff spot with a .327 OBP, including a paltry .214-.267-.214 against LHP. With a clog of power hitters clamoring for more plate appearances, she’ll likely drop back to her old #9 slot, serving as a second leadoff hitter from the bottom of the order. Her base-stealing pace has also lagged behind last year’s – at 13 steals she’s already 7 behind Ortiz, and has only a 76% success rate so far.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: For a player racked with inconsistency early in his career, Chen has been impressively regular in his year-over-year improvement. So far Chen is keeping pace with his usual power numbers (he ranks 4th in the league in HR and Isolated Power), and is finally shoring up his contact to league average – he’s batting .260 on the year, which lifts his OBP to an impressive .390.

Tiffany Ho, Backup Outfielder: Ho’s been off to a slow start at .250-.313-.455, and has found herself as the odd-one-out of the OF/DH rotation, with just 12 games and 48 plate appearances, 3rd last on the team. She’s seen an uptick in her power numbers however – she’s already matched last season’s total of 2 homeruns in just 48 plate appearances.

Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: Entering the season as the primary DH, Reid’s production has dropped off significantly from his 2007 heights – he’s hitting .245-.315-.388 and is in danger of seeing his DH position usurped. It may turn out that Reid’s high BABiP last season (.376, 3rd best on the team) will be unsustainable.

The Pitching Staff

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: The first month of Yan’s ambitious 2008 workload – a season of starts on 3 days’ rest – has already yielded MASSIVE results. The 5-time-reigning Pitcher of the Year managed to start 8 games in April, going 7-0 with a miniscule 0.64 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, and a staggering 135 K’s – far more than double the total of 2nd-place Robert Kroger (56 K’s). In that span he’s pitched 7 CG’s, 6 shutouts, and TWO NO-HITTERS, both of which were a single fielding error away from Perfect Games. In the second of them, on April 29th, Yan struck out his first SIXTEEN batters against the Apple Septic Tanks, before the streak was finally broken up by a Santiago Parra groundball to SS Henry Nghe. He ended the day striking out 23, which ties the 9-inning record for the Daly City star.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: Esguerra was relatively shellacked in April, struggling with her control (3.4 BB/9) and ranking last on the team with her 3.44 ERA. That last stat is actually more of a testament to the rest of the pitching staff’s dominance, which has dominated the league to the tune of a 2.21 team ERA. Her fiery stuff has still been on full display – her 11.6 K/9 ranks 2nd in the league (behind Yan).

Samantha Chin, #3 Starting Pitcher: Chin began her year with a hard-luck non-decision, going a full 9 innings, striking out 13, and yielding just 1 run in her first start against an even more impressive Joe Shelton of the Apple Septic Tanks, who had shut Daly City’s lineup out through 8 innings. A fortuitous dropped fly by Apple RF Chewie Gonzales in the 9th helped the Montis notch an unearned run, which allowed Chin to escape with the No Decision. But after 139 pitches, she yielded to closer Josiah Leong, who held on for 3 innings until a Cristian Ortiz grand slam in the 12th helped to seal the win. She’s had better luck since then, and sits at 3-1 with a 2.54 ERA, with steadily improved strikeout numbers (an impressive 10.2 K/9!).

Terrence Zhao, #4 Starting Pitcher: On the surface, Zhao had a resurgent April, going 4-0 in his 4 starts while compiling a 2.41 ERA and notching 10.4 K/9. Daly City fans have had to sweat out his starts though – his 1.29 WHIP is highest on the team, as is his 3.4 BB/9. He’s given up at least 3 walks in 4 out of his 5 starts (all of which he won).

Alfred Vong, #5 Starting Pitcher: With Yan’s 3 day’s rest schedule, Vong hasn’t had the typical number of chances for a #5 starter, pitching only 3 games in April. The small sample size hasn’t given much to go on (a 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 5.0 K/9 in 23+2/3 innings), but the highlight for Vong was his 10-inning, 1-run performance against the Asia Giants. Even that ended in a no-decision, as it took the Montis until the 13th inning to score the final 3 runs to win the game.

Sean Wade, #6 Starting Pitcher: In a hybrid role as #6 and mopup reliever, Wade has done decently. He pitched a 9-inning, 1-run gem against the Mozilla Firefoxes, but outside of that has been inconsistent, giving up 2 runs in another relief appearance and being bailed out by his offense after a 7-inning, 8-hit, 4-run performance against the Apple Septic Tanks. Still, it’s a encouraging start for Wade after his disastrous 2007 season.

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: Cox has done well in her 8+1/3 innings thus far – she’s allowed just 5.4 H/9, though she’s floated 4 walks so far for a high 4.3 BB/9. Her 2.16 ERA is second among the bullpen as she shoulders the heaviest workload among them.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: There haven’t been a ton of chances through Dugtong’s 6+2/3 innings in April – she’s given up runs in just 1 of her 5 appearances, en route to a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, both heavily improved marks against her previous season.

Connie Chen, Setup Reliever: The rookie Chen has been impressive in her first month of work – over 8 appearances she’s given up just 1 run for an ERA of 1.29, and has allowed just 6 runners for a WHIP of 0.86. She wasn’t expected to have phenomenal stuff as a rookie, but she’s on a good pace with 7 K’s in 7 innings. She’s also tied for the league lead with 5 holds in just a month, which might put her in sight of the record books (13, by Angel Poon in 2003) if more opportunities fall her way.

Josiah Leong, Closer: It’s been an adventurous month for Leong, who started the season by giving up crucial runs in two appearances, but was bailed out for a win in both cases. The first came after relieving SP Samantha Chin after 9 innings in a 1-1 tie. After coasting through 2 scoreless innings, Leong nearly crapped the bed after giving up the go-ahead run at the top of the 12th. Headed towards a loss in the bottom of the inning, the Daly City offense suddenly erupted to life, culminating in 2B Cristian Ortiz, 0-5 on the night up to that point, hitting a GRAND SLAM walkoff with 2 outs to save the day. In the second, Leong caused Yan’s only no-decision, failing to secure the 6-5 save in the 9th inning. An RBI single by LF Ted Kwong in the 9th salvaged the situation and gave Leong the win. Overall, Leong is 3-1 with 5 saves, but already 2 blown in 7 opportunities. In better news however, his K:BB is better than ever, with a 14.9 K/9 rate and a surprising 2.7 BB/9 so far this season.

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2008 Season Preview – the Big Leap

Team Review

2008 April 1 – After a dominant season following a successful infusion of the large rookie class, the Montis bring in more fresh blood  and set their sights on some ambitious – some would say audacious – goals for 2008.

Alan Wong, Catcher: Another recruit from the Berkeley Independent League, the 21-year-old Wong is a versatile 5-star prospect who wields a sledgehammer; scouts are already rating him at a 91 for power, which would put him at 3rd behind only Francis Chen (94) and Ted Kwong (102) among Daly City hitters. Though his strike zone judgement skills are below average, Wong has also demonstrated a cannon of an arm from behind the plate, and looks to inject himself into the already hotly-contested starting catcher position

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: Over the course of a breakout 2007 season, Paz unexpectedly played himself into the starting role at catcher, catching 115 games and putting up decent numbers – .295-.351-.457 over 501 plate appearances. With the drafting of prospect Alan Wong, however, Paz will have to prove himself all over again to garner enough playing time.  He’ll likely spell Wong at catcher and steal  some plate appearances in at DH.

Tina Quach, Super Utility: Quach’s gift – a wide-ranging defensive competence at catcher, corner infield, and outfield –  has also been her curse, as she’s been constantly shuffled everywhere on the field during the course of her career, either to substitute in for slumps or injuries, or simply because she was the convenient person to move when a hot new prospect emerged. 2008 looks to be a harrowing year for Quach, who doesn’t look as though she’ll have a primary position – she’ll fill a super utility role backing up catcher, 1st, 3rd, and the outfield, all positions that already have starters and designated backups. It’s a tough assignment, as Quach tries to concentrate on rebounding offensively after a 2007 filled with career lows in nearly every category.

Derek Lew, First Baseman: Daly City’s stalwart at 1st returns once again, though he’s getting increasingly marginalized as his development seems to have plateau’d (albeit at a high level), while other hitters and new prospects continue to rise and take up the higher positions in the batting order. For the season, he’ll start 6th in the lineup, and hope to build on a 2007 when he set a career high for walks and OBP, the only missing element in his game. Lew also has a major landmark coming up – he’s 6 hits away from becoming the first Daly City player ever to reach 1,000 career hits.

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: Many eyes will be on the 5-tool Ortiz this season, after he emerged in 2007 as not just a one-trick racehorse, but a powerful force with the bat as well. Will he continue his development as a hitter? What about strike zone patience and that OBP? And how high, exactly, will he set his stolen base record heights, especially with the now-established Jessica Kuo giving him a very serious threat to his just-established steals record.

Henry Nghe, Shortstop: Nghe ended the season on a sour note, missing nearly the entire month of September after tearing a hamstring muscle. He’ll return to a younger team that looks like it’s ready to put the 30-year old to pasture, with sophomore middle infielder Wissmath hungry for playing time (though she’ll probably find most of it at 3rd). It may be a make-or-break season for Nghe, who has declined across the board for two straight seasons after winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2005.

Salgu Wissmath, Third Basewoman: Though it’s not her natural position, the steady production of Wissmath in her utility role last season, and the weak results of starting Maung full-time at third, have led Wissmath to the hot corner.  After hitting for good average and getting on-base at a decent clip last season, the team’s excited to see her production (and an observed increase in power over spring training) extrapolated to a full season.

Joanna Maung, Backup Saung-gah-basewoman: After a year and a half of starts at third base and mediocre results, Maung returns back to a backup role, where she’ll hope to concentrate some of that magic clutch performance into the fewer spot starts and pinch appearances she’ll have.

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: The reigning Batter of the Year returns, and after posting one of the best offensive seasons in Monti baseball history, he’s looking to set his own marks and blow away some of former LF Norman Ho’s hallowed records – notably the .375 AVG, .467 OBP, 10.95 RC/27 and 165.53 RC by Ho in 2003, and the 166 RBI’s by Ho in 2004. Neck-and-neck with RF Chen in the homerun race until injuries sidelined him at the end of the season, Kwong’s looking forward to challenging him and 2007’s 53-homerun mark as well.

Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: After giving Ortiz a literal run for his money last season, the speedy Kuo returns again to roam centerfield, where she’ll find an uncontested starting position and start a full slate of games. Last season, she started only 116 games and had just 558 plate appearances (getting on base only 213 times), compared to 160 games, 777 plate appearances, and 305 on-base chances for Ortiz. It’ll be interesting to see whether Kuo’s extremely high BABiP – .392 – will hold over a second season.

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: While Francis built up his power numbers last season and became Daly City’s all-time homerun champion when he set the record at 53, he was still streaky and played only 142 games, despite not being injured much. In order to take his hitting to the next level, he’ll need to improve on his contact, which was a still-abysmal .237 last season.

Tiffany Ho, Backup Outfielder: It looks like it may be a sad end for Ho, who after playing her heart out the past two seasons in various outfield positions and improving every year, now finds herself as the 4th outfielder, with the starting roles firmly entrenched in players who have far surpassed her, hitting-wise. On the bright side, she is now the only backup outfielder on the team, with Reid firmly entrenched in the DH role, and Quach taking over at 3rd.

Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: After putting together a solid hitting season that far exceeded even his own expectations, Reid returns again in the designated hitter role, though for now he’ll start in a platoon against right-handed pitching (he hit .339-.391-.527 against them last season).

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: After dominating the league for 5 years and setting even greater heights in 2007, Yan is looking to spend a season revolutionizing the concept of the starting pitcher. While Daly City has always run a conservative 6-man rotation in an era when nearly every team runs a 5-man, Yan will put himself on the equivalent of a 4-man rotation, taking only 3 days’ rest between each start. If he can make it through the grind of such a season, he could easily end up with over 50 starts and set counting stats into a different universe. In terms of the recordbooks, Yan’s on the cusp of a few – he’s just 551 K’s away from 3,000, 47 Wins away from 200, and 14 shutouts away from Anthony Rakestraw’s all-time mark of 76. All of those, especially in light of his grueling start schedule, look like they might fall in 2008, Yan’s age-20 season.

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: In just 2 short seasons, Esguerra has quickly developed into one of the most fearsome starters in the league. She had near-perfect consistency last season, throwing 28 quality starts in 30 games, and the sky looks like the limit for Esguerra.

Samantha Chin, #3 Starting Pitcher: Chin’s stock keeps rising higher and higher, and if her career continues to parallel Terrence Zhao’s as she has been, 2008 could be the year that Chin emerges as not just a great, but an utterly dominating starting pitcher.

Terrence Zhao, #4 Starting Pitcher: Questions abound for Zhao, the other five-year starter on the team aside from Yan, who seems to be idling entering his 6th year. It’s not that Zhao is bad – over the past two season’s he’s 32-11, with a 3.04 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 10.05 K/9 – but being just decent these days will only buy Zhao the #4 spot in the rotation.

Alfred Vong, #5 Starting Pitcher: Vong got a taste of the starting role last season, starting 21 games and relieving 2 more, and caught both hot and cold streaks. While he’ll remain #5 starter, Vong could see his start schedule diminished to that of a #6 spot starter, as Yan begins to pitch more games.

Sean Wade, Mopup Reliever: Though he entered in the same rookie class as Samantha Chin, and was even the more promising prospect that first year, Wade has taken the opposite career path, regressing a bit each season and performing abysmally even in the #6 starter role last season. With Yan taking an aggressive 3-days rest schedule, the team won’t need even need a number #6 starter anymore, so Wade will find himself playing out the string in the bullpen, where he still projects as the team’s worst pitcher and mopup reliever. Perhaps in the low-pressure relief role, Wade can re-focus on the fundamentals that made him so promising in 2005.

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: The durable Cox returns in her long relief role, where she performed admirably last season. Though she got 2 starts in last year (including the postseason), they’ll likely be harder to come by, with the aggressive start schedule and former starter Sean Wade waiting in the bullpen.

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: Dugtong continues her middle relief role, where she was one of the team’s few league-average pitchers last year. She’ll need to reign in the propensity for easy contact – her 0.274 opponent AVG last year was the 5th-worst in Monti Baseball history.

Connie Chen, Setup Reliever: The other rookie of the 2007 class, 19-year-old Connie Chen has a simple fastball-changeup-sinker repertoire, and a talent for control. With an 84 control rating, scouts already think she has the best pitch placement among the bullpen relievers. She slots into the setup role for the retired Alvina Chu, where she’ll be a stark contrast to often wild closer Leong.

Josiah Leong, Closer: Despite his continued utter lack of control (his 34 walks accounted for 0.53 of his 1.14 WHIP last season), the inconsistent Leong delivered when it counted, allowing only a 2.09 ERA, with a reasonable 3 blown saves across 26 opportunities. Leong has stated his goal of getting back into a rotation, though (a spot where he performed horridly in 2003 and 2005) – something that will require long-term consistency and limiting his walks by 2 or even three-fold.

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The 2007 Season Awards

League Review

The Pitcher of the Year, UL: Nathan Yan, Daly City SP

With his 5th straight award in 5 seasons, it may be getting to the point where the award is just retired and re-named after Yan. Daly City’s ace was masterful again this season, pitching a heavier 34-game load and compiling a 33-1 record, 0.91 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, and an own-record-shattering 602 K’s over 296 innings (that’s 18.3 K/9, besting even last year’s 18.0). He hit the 20-K mark twelve times in 34 games, and performed perhaps his most impressive feat yet – pitching his first and second PERFECT games in the same season (they’re just the 5th and 6th Perfect Games in league history).

Trailing Yan was a bevy of Daly City pitchers that dominated the Pitcher of the Year voting. Whitney Esguerra, Daly City’s #2, was also the league’s #2, finishing second to Yan in nearly every statistical category, ERA, bOBP, bSLG, K/9; despite only 30 starts in DC’s 6-man rotation, she placed top 3 in most of the counting stats too, from Wins to K’s to Shutouts to Quality Starts. Last year’s #5, Samantha Chin, placed 3rd this time, after a steadily improving season that saw her post a well-rounded, almost flawless season – 21-3, 2.66 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 209 K’s in 210 innings over 28 starts. Fourth was Microsoft’s ace, Kernel Tyranus, who regressed back from his outstanding 2006 campaign to his career norms – he posted an 18-8 record, 2.80 ERA,  1.10 WHIP over a workhorse 257+1/3 innings. Though he didn’t quite dazzle overwhelm opposing batters (only 6.8 K/9, and a .253-.272-.371 opposing line), Tyranus was helped by his amazing control (1.0 BB/9, 4th in baseball). In a surprise win for the Apple Septic Tanks, it was actually a reliever, 21-year-old Padme Amidala, who would edge out languishing Daly City starter Terrence Zhao. She saved 38 games in 62 outings for Apple, throwing 74+2/3 innings and striking out batters at an amazing 12.7 K/9 rate.

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Nathan Yan Daly City 33-1 34 33/29/15 296 602 0.91 0.02 0.43 18.3
Whitney Esguerra Daly City 24-1 30 28/10/6 235 289 1.88 1.18 0.83 11.1
Samantha Chin Daly City 21-3 28 24/9/5 210 209 2.66 2.06 0.98 9.0
Kernel Tyranus Microsoft 18-8 35 22/9/5 257 1/3 195 2.80 2.54 1.10 6.8
Padme Amidala Apple 8-4 62 RA 38 SV/44 SVO 74 2/3 105 1.81 1.89 0.88 12.7

The Batter of the Year, UL: Ted Kwong, Daly City LF

Unlike in 2005 and 2006, this year’s award was no shocker – Daly City’s budding young star was right in the thick of the Batter of the Year race from the onset of the season, and only tapered off slightly at the end as he missed some time with injuries. He led the league in Runs Created per 27 outs at 12.7, and posted a .357-.444-.704 line to lead the league with a 1.148 OPS, and posted some impressive traditional counting stats – 48 homers (4th), 135 RBI (8th), 142 Runs (2nd), 184.3 Runs Created (2nd).

Putting up a strong challenge was Microsoft’s Rightfielder Jango Fett, who didn’t rack up any astonishing homerun numbers (just 28, T-17th in the league), but still managed to lead the league in total bases through prodigious gap power and durability – he placed 2nd in the league with 60 doubles, and 17 triples, and led the league overall with 228 hits, finishing 1st in AVG (.368), 2nd in OBP (.453), and 3rd in SLG (.655). His RC/27 was just a hair off of Kwong’s at 12.3, and since he played a full slate of 160 games without injury, he led the league in cumulative Runs Created, with a staggering 197.2. He also stole 39 bases, although got caught 22 times, for a 63% rate that may have hurt more than it helped.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Asia’s Benjamin “Fritz” Trepanier, broke out in a big way in 2007. The German God of Walks continued to lead the league with a .461 OBP, 134 walks, and placed 3rd with 17 HBP’s as well. The formerly light-slapping rightfielder bulked up over the season as well – after hitting just 18 homers and slugging .492 in his rookie season, Trepanier blasted 40 out of the park (8th in UL) for a .606 SLG (5th), and placed 3rd again in RC/27 with 11.9. The United States’ catcher Andrew Amey had one of the best seasons for a catcher ever, hitting .311-.410-.654 on the strength of a massive 46-homerun outburst. Trepanier’s classmate and 3rd-place rookie of the year candidate, the Caribbean’s LF Clifford Alfano, had a similar breakout season, hitting .349-.446-.584, though he continued to be held back by spectacularly bad base-running ( a lead-leading 27 times caught stealing, for a miserable 40% success rate), earning him a 5th-place finish.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Ted Kwong Daly City 668 41 6 48 135 142 87 23 7 .357 .457 .704 184.3 12.72
Jango Fett Microsoft 720 60 17 28 112 132 98 39 22 .368 .453 .655 197.2 12.30
Benjamin Trepanier Asia 705 24 8 40 100 135 134 10 17 .316 .461 .606 177.5 11.86
Andrew Amey United States 633 44 1 46 133 99 91 0 0 .311 .410 .654 144.8 10.08
Clifford Alfano Caribbean 737 34 10 31 91 123 104 18 27 .349 .446 .584 184.0 11.16

The Rookie of the Year, UL: Ted Kwong, Daly City LF

It’s not often that the Batter of the Year is also the Rookie of the Year. In fact, it’s only happened once, but the precedent is a great one: in 1935, a young catcher by the name of Kenton McClinton exploded onto the scene, hitting .352-.443-.806 with 71 homeruns, 203 RBI, and 150 Runs to sweep both the Rookie and Batter of the Year awards, and would go on to win 7 more. The rest of the voting was also dominated by Daly City’s crop of newcomers, with the speedy Kuo hitting for high average and dominating the basepaths (2nd with 89 steals), Skyler Reid providing a solid hitting .327-.379-.506 season from DH, and spark plug Salgu Wissmath hitting .318-.387-.420 with 24 steals in a super utility role. Microsoft’s long reliever Wayne Stephens rounds out the ballot, appearing in 59 games, and chewing up 117 innings (2nd among UL relievers) with a 3.46 ERA.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Ted Kwong Daly City 668 41 6 48 135 142 87 23 7 .357 .457 .704 184.3 12.72
Jessica Kuo Daly City 558 15 5 2 69 103 30 89 17 .346 .382 .405 89.1 6.38
Skyler Reid Daly City 456 29 6 11 74 79 33 13 3 .327 .379 .506 82.6 7.59
Salgu Wissmath Daly City 421 11 3 7 47 66 44 24 6 .318 .387 .420 66.0 6.52


Name Team Record Games SVO/SV/HLD Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Wayne Stephens Microsoft 7-4 59 20/2/10 117 87 3.46 4.46 1.39 6.7

The Pitcher of the Year, SWL: Kyle Katarn, Paris SP

Katarn thought he might have had it easier when he bolted out of the hellish UL Galactica Division and moved into the comfy confines of SW World Cities for the Paris Forfeiters (the 7-year, $26.7M/yr contract didn’t hurt either). Instead, Katarn got shelled around and put up his worst season yet, going 19-11 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 298 K’s in 294 innings. Nonetheless, outside of the UL and the shadow of Nathan Yan, he still outperformed his SWL competitors by a large margin and emerged with his first Pitcher of the Year award. There weren’t many standouts in the rest of the pitching field, as the year belonged to SWL Batters…

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Kyle Katarn Paris 19-11 36 22/16/4 294 298 3.34 2.40 1.05 9.1
Augusto Figueroa Pentax 14-10 32 16/11/0 237 172 3.76 3.62 1.29 6.5
Josue Berrero Nikon 14-11 32 18/10/1 234 1/3 162 3.88 3.20 1.16 6.2
Gerald Freeman Venice 13-16 36 19/11/2 277 2/3 258 4.08 3.52 1.26 8.4
Justin Pucci Apple 14-11 34 19/2/1 244 119 3.84 3.69 1.19 4.4

The Batter of the Year, SWL: Gates Skywalker, Pentax LF

It was his 3rd slam dunk year in 3 seasons, as Skywalker had his award wrapped up before the all star break (Richard Eager placed 2nd with 52 homeruns. Skywalker hit that mark on June 25th.) Though Pentax’s star leftfielder seems to have plateau’d in his contact and on-base abilities, there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how far his power can grow – this season he slugged .981 (his SLG alone would have placed him 8th in OPS) and hammered a staggering 105 homeruns, erasing Kenton McClinton’s mark of 88 in his magical 1942 season. Interestingly, teams that lost their stars to free agency in the past offseason rebounded quite well – Nikon, which lost star Richard Eager to the Las Vegas Valleys, found a more than suitable replacement in Maul Foundation and the continued development of their young 1B/DH Brandon Wroten. While no player (or even two) could replace Skywalker’s production, Canon didn’t do too badly either in finding the aging but still productive Mathew Glenn, who put up a career season after moving to the SWL.

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Gates Skywalker Pentax 691 54 0 105 200 168 94 0 0 .359 .444 .981 250.9 16.73
Maul Foundation Nikon 722 61 11 44 163 122 41 37 28 .367 .403 .687 199.6 11.39
Mathew Glenn Canon 710 34 8 44 131 125 87 4 2 .338 .414 .638 171.2 10.85
Hector Valdivieso Las Vegas 620 62 6 25 112 103 78 9 3 .354 .434 .633 152.2 11.23
Brandon Wroten Nikon 730 55 0 44 144 130 84 2 0 .322 .405 .615 159.1 9.50

The Rookie of the Year, SWL: Theron Russell, Paris OF

There wasn’t much competition in the rookie SWL field this year, as Theron Russell took the award simply on playing time alone – no batter amassed enough plate appearances to qualify for any of rate statistic titles, and Russell was the only one batter who had even 300 plate appearances. Aside from playing time, Russell was decidedly averaging, hitting .269-.309-.363, though he did steal 31 bases (against 11 CS and a 73.8% – some might call it a wash).

Name Team PA 2B 3B HR RBI Runs Walks SB CS AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Theron Russell Paris 453 21 2 5 33 61 23 31 11 .269 .309 .363 52.7 4.29


Name Team Record Games SVO/SV/HLD Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Samuel Green Canon 1-1 37 4/0/2 58 2/3 37 2.45 3.46 1.40 5.7
Sammy Shumake Sony 2-2 29 5/0/3 60 65 4.80 4.77 1.32 9.8
Jesus Pardo Nikon 3-2 33 1/0/0 72 61 3.75 3.89 1.29 7.6
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The 2007 Season Review

Team Review

Macro Paz, Catcher: There weren’t many great expectations out of Paz, last season’s backup catcher who played sparingly and fared abysmally against big-league pitching when he did. But after a terrible spring that led most to believe he would spend another long season incubating on the bench, Paz exploded out of the gate in April, hitting a scorching .339-.383-.607, and didn’t let up, batting for .346-.398-.533 over the first half and gaining the primary catching role. As hot as his first half was, Paz began to wither as the season went on – his second half stats were just .237-0.305-.372, dialing down his overall numbers to a respectable .295-.351-.457. Nonetheless, the 18-year-old Paz made a remarkable leap in his 2nd season.

117 114 501 455 134 25 2 15 90 65 85 33 9 5 0 100.00 0.295 0.351 0.457 0.808 71.43 5.72 0.331

Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Backup Catcher: Just one year after finally assuming the full-time catcher role, Quach appears as though she’s lost her major-league touch already. While her drop-off last year was attributed to growing pains in adjusting to the rigors of the full-time role, Quach continued her regression. Though her batting average bumped slightly from .286 to .296 (mostly on the strength of severely cutting down her strikeout rate, from 6.50% of plate appearances to 3.17%), Quach continued to struggle with picking up on walks (her 10.62% walk rate last year dipped down to 8.97%) and hitting for power (1.329 bases per hit in 2006 to 1.218 this year). With the more-rapid-than-expected-development of Paz, Quach was quickly relegated to backup catcher position and utility infielder, where she mainly substituted for the inconsistent Joanna Maung.

85 83 379 341 101 17 1 1 49 55 12 34 1 8 0 100.00 0.296 0.359 0.361 0.720 45.58 4.77 0.302

Derek Lew, First Baseman: Following up his stellar comeback and Batter of the Year season in 2006, Lew proved again his worth as the Montis’ roundhouse power hitter and dependable franchise star. He hit a solid .291-.343-.559 on the season, and demonstrated an improvement in his patience at the plate, setting a new career high with 55 walks, while striking out just 13 times in 735 plate appearances. He also bested the doubles record he set last season by 1, setting 78 as the new high water mark.

162 162 735 669 195 78 10 27 139 132 13 55 2 17 0 100.00 0.291 0.343 0.559 0.902 116.13 6.17 0.263

Henry Nghe, Shortstop: After his all-star season as a rookie in 2005, the aging Nghe produced little in his 3rd season, struggling along to just a .270-.330-.424 line, before a torn hamstring in early September ultimately knocked him out for the season. It will be a long road to recovery for the declining Nghe in the offseason, as he’ll face stern competition from the upstart middle infielder Wissmath and his 2005 Rookie of the Year season now seems a distant memory.

107 104 452 408 110 25 7 8 66 56 57 37 2 9 0 100.00 0.270 0.330 0.424 0.754 56.52 4.83 0.293

Cristian Ortiz, Second Baseman: While Ortiz set himself up last year for universal renown as the stolen base champion with 91 steals, the speedy second baseman elevated his game to a whole new level in 2007, evolving himself from simply one of the best leadoff men in the league to one of the best all-around players, period. Ortiz set new personal bests for power (.560 SLG, 34 homeruns, 42 doubles), on-base ability (.311 AVG, .393 OBP, 84 walks, and a 5.41% K-rate), and even bested himself in speed (a record-shattering 112 stolen bases, and a personal-best 13 triples as well). And it appeared he was only getting warmed up – Ortiz hit a scorching .325-.377-.692 in September, and achieved the rare feat of a 30-RBI, 30-Run month, one of the only such months recorded in history. Altogether, Ortiz batted .311-.393-.560 with 213 hits ,34 homers, 139 RBI, 160 Runs, and 151.46 Runs Created, an all-around display of hitting and durability that hasn’t been seen since the inaugural 2003-2004 seasons (the last time anyone had >140 Runs Created, or > 260 RBIs+Runs.

160 160 777 684 213 42 13 34 139 160 42 84 8 112 21 84.21 0.311 0.393 0.560 0.952 151.46 8.05 0.294

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah-basewoman: Like many longtime fan favorites, saung-gah-basewoman Maung is long on memories and stories but in the new age of statistical scrutiny, increasingly coming up short in real production. While she continued to play admirably in close/late situations (.344-400-.438) and put up clutch plate appearances for the ages (who could forget the opening game of the Divisional Series!), Maung’s regular season body of work was simply another middling year at the plate (.289-.355-.360). While she played in about half of the games at third, she found herself displaced often by Quach and the upstart rookie Wissmath.

87 81 349 311 90 13 0 3 42 48 33 33 1 4 0 100.00 0.289 0.355 0.360 0.715 42.90 4.97 0.312

Salgu Wissmath, Utility Infielder: After destroying minor-league pitching in the Berkeley Independent League, the rookie free agent pickup got her chance to shine in the bigs, and she hasn’t disappointed for a rookie, batting .318-.387-.420 and stealing 24 bases whilst filling in as part of the 3B platoon for the lackluster Maung, and in September as the primary SS replacement for the injured Nghe.  For a rookie, she demonstrated great bat control and picked up walks at a nice clip, resulting int he 4th-best OBP on the team. With the left side of the infield continually in flux, the versatile Swissmath looks like she’ll play a major role in that mix next year.

102 99 421 374 119 11 3 7 47 66 54 44 0 24 6 80.00 0.318 0.387 0.420 0.807 64.59 6.39 0.354

Ted Kwong, Leftfielder: Rumored as the next prodigy before he even stepped into training camp, Kwong carried with him not quite huge expectations (the Montis, winners of 4 straight Universal Series and stocked with star talent, were probably the team in least need of the next superstar hitter to help carry their offense) but intrigue.  While the SWL had had the other-worldly Gates Skywalker for 3 years running, no one had achieved an other-worldly season (an OPS over 1.100) since the Daly City slugging duo of Tienturier and Ho retired in 2004. The rookie leftfielder stepped onto the scene and hit like few ever have at such an age, and in ways the Montis haven’t seen since Kwong’s legendary predecessor at leftfield, Norman Ho… if that.  In just his first year, Kwong set nearly unheard of marks: a godly .445 OBP (2nd in Montis history to the .467 in Ho’s 2003 season); an all-time Monti record .704 SLG (only Jason Liu in his barely-qualifying 2004 season came particular close, when he slugged .702. Ho’s 2003 had the 3rd highest mark in team history, at just .663); and 48 homers, a Monti rookie record and just 1 short of Ho’s 2004 record.

Concerningly, Kwong has also been bitten by the injury bug several times at the end of the season – he dealt with an inflamed back that forced him out for a week in September, then in the middle of the Montis playoff run, tore a calf muscle that set him out for the rest of the postseason.

146 146 668 568 203 41 6 48 135 142 120 87 6 23 7 76.67 0.357 0.445 0.704 1.149 156.22 10.79 0.382

Tiffany Ho, Centerfielder: Entering the season as the most experienced contestant of the centerfield platoon(145 starts there in 2006), Ho surprisingly found herself as the odd girl out – she logged just 20 starts at center, and instead found her spots in relief at left field, right field, and even shortstop for a spell (12 starts). Despite all of the defensive shuffling and the lack of a consistent starting spot, Ho’s performance hardly seemed to suffer – she improved her rate stats across the board, hitting .315-.354-.429, for the first time bringing her on-base rate above league-average levels.

93 89 395 371 117 24 6 2 45 47 46 20 3 6 3 66.67 0.315 0.354 0.429 0.783 54.54 5.52 0.355

Jessica Kuo, Centerfielder: Expected to be the defensive wizard and lightest-hitting of the centerfield candidates, Kuo ultimately emerged as the primary centerfielder candidate for 2007. She flashed better-than-expected on-base ability (.382, built mostly upon a .346 average), and simply slapped singles for most of the season (out of her 182 hits, just 22 went for extra bases). Aside from getting onto base, Kuo’s signature value proposition was simple: pure and unrefined SPEED.  Though the record-holder (and eventual record-breaker) Ortiz stole the headlines for most of the season, Kuo was able to match him nearly steal-for-steal  after spotting him a huge head start (she stole just 3 bases in sparse play when she first started in April, compared to 22 for Ortiz). From May through September she stole 86 bases to Ortiz’s 90, while being caught only 14 times (86%) to Ortiz’s 19 (82.6%), and was partially responsible for many of his steals, allowing the leadoff hitter to piggy-back off her double-steals after getting on-base from the 9-spot.  If she can maintain her on-base ability and playing time, 2008 could shape up to be a stolen base race for the ages.

119 116 558 526 182 15 5 2 69 103 67 30 1 89 17 83.96 0.346 0.382 0.405 0.787 88.84 6.36 0.393

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: Ever since he stepped onto the scene in 2004, blasting 13 homers in just 162 part-time at bats, Chen has attracted intense interest as a player who flashed all the tools to be a star in the league and was only in want of the consistency to put it all together. The next step was the 46 walks in just 304 plate appearances in 2005 (15.13% walk rate), enough to raise his appalling .179 batting average to an acceptable .307 on-base-percentage. Despite the paltry overall numbers (Chen was just .179-.307-.417 that season), the potential there was enough for the Montis to make a commitment, and again, Chen was almost there, putting together a decent 2006 season that mixed flashes of appallingly bad flailing at the plate with locked-in power surges.

Finally, 2007 was that season that Francis Chen the Legend arrived. Racking up 83 walks and 14 steals, Chen put stacked himself up to a .354 OBP, and put on a prodigious power display, becoming the first Montis player ever to achieve a 50-homerun season. He hit 53 out of the park, slugged .604, and led the team with 144 RBIs. Sure, he hit only .237 and was still inconsistent, failing for weeks at a time with months like a .176-.341-.412 May and a .184-.316-.378 September, but when Chen was locked in, nearly no hitter was better, such as in the month of June when Chen hit a simply unbelievable .338-436-.925 with 14 homers in just 80 at bats. In total, Chen went .237-.354-.604 for a .958 OPS, 6.62 RC/27, and an absurd 2.552 bases per hit.

142 142 628 528 125 31 2 53 144 118 125 83 14 22 8 73.33 0.237 0.354 0.604 0.958 104.92 6.62 0.204

Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, Designated Hitter: The Cheet saw his role increasingly squeezed out in 2007 as fresh faces, especially ones with better defensive prowess, emerged. After playing 1,235+2/3 abysmal innings left field in 2006, Chee barely logged any defensive innings in 2007, just 72 innings over 10 games at catcher and third. Instead, Chee found himself in a DH role, and a part time one at that, given the steep drop off in Chee’s huge drop offs in his signature hit-by-pitches (just 18 this year, surpassed by 4 other players in the league, the first time in 3 years in which Chee did not lead the league), and power, where Chee dropped off to a meek .324 slugging percentage, the lowest mark on the team and 2nd-lowest of any Montis season with at least 250 plate appearances.

66 64 282 225 58 10 1 1 26 27 30 37 18 6 0 100.00 0.258 0.401 0.324 0.725 36.52 5.63 0.291

Skyler Reid, Designated Hitter: The power third of the centerfield platoon, the defensively challenge Reid soon found himself in the designated hitter’s spot after Kuo’s speed and defense proved to be a winning combination in center, and The Cheet’s further declining power hitting opened up the DH spot. Offensively, Reid posted an extremely solid offensive output, hitting .327-.379-.506, giving the third-highest RC/27 (7.10) if he had made enough appearances to qualify.

103 100 456 413 135 29 6 11 74 79 77 33 5 13 3 81.25 0.327 0.379 0.506 0.885 77.31 7.10 0.376

Nathan Yan, #1 Starting Pitcher: What a year it’s been for Yan, who has delivered what must be considered the most dominant pitching season the league has ever seen. Pitching on a slightly aggressive schedule that saw him throw 34 starts in a 6-man rotation, Yan posted career highs in almost all his counting stats, including a 33-1 record, 296 innings (that’s 8.76 innings per start!), and obliterating the strikeout record by becoming the first ever pitcher to record 600 K’s in a season (after having already become the first, and still only, pitcher to record 400 and 500 K’s). Though his ERA (0.91) didn’t quite reach the lofty depths of last year’s 0.79, he did continue to improve his peripherals however so slightly, walking just 0.7 batters per 9 innings (down from 1.0), and bumping his strikeout rate to 18.3 K’s per 9. After a formula-breaking -0.01 DIPS ERA last year, Yan’s 2007 season completely busts it with a -0.12 DIPS mark. In a season such as this one, it would be impossible not to add to Yan’s lore of legendary games, and his highlights this season built up even more than the last, including a 22-strikeout PERFECT GAME on May 23rd against the Apple Septic Tanks (just the 5th in league history, and the first in his career), a game in which he also recorded his 2000th career strikeout. He followed this up just a few months later on August 5th with the SIXTH PERFECT GAME in league history, a 17-strikeout beauty against the Europe Cricketeers.

34/34 33-1 33\29\15 296.00 104 4 30 24 10 602 18.30 17.71 7.09 0.91 0.43 0.104 0.133 0.184

Whitney Anne Esguerra, #2 Starting Pitcher: After a stellar but at times trying rookie season in which she pitched well but rarely found the run support to win games, Esguerra left it all on the table in her sophomore season, pitching in such a dominant fashion that she needed hardly needed any run support at all – 1.88 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, an opponent OPS of just 0.496, 289 K’s in 235 innings (11.1 K/9), en-route to a 24-1 record in 30 starts, setting numerous team records for Daly City starters not named Yan, and finishing second in the league in almost every major statistical category. She especially dominated the last month of the season, throwing 53 K’s in 46 innings, with an 0.59 WHIP, 0.59 ERA, and 4 CG’s and 3 shutouts in 5 starts.

30/30 24-1 28\10\6 235.00 145 9 49 49 1 289 11.07 5.78 7.30 1.88 0.83 0.173 0.218 0.277

Samantha Chin, #3 Starting Pitcher: A 2nd straight year of improvement for Chin, who is as steady as they come – for the 3rd straight year she’s improved in just about every category, settling down her control (2.0 walks per 9 innings, down from 2.8) and allowing far fewer flyballs to go yard – she allowed just 7 this year compared to 14 in about as many innings last year. Her ERA, CERA, and DIPS ERA continue to decrease, and if the 1:1 correlation between her CERA and subsequent year’s ERA continues, her 2007 CERA (2.12) may indicate a Pitcher-of-the-Year caliber performance coming soon.

28/28 21-3 24\9\5 210.00 158 7 62 47 21 209 8.96 3.07 7.21 2.66 0.98 0.208 0.270 0.309

Terrence Zhao, #4 Starting Pitcher: A second straight good, yet disappointing season for Zhao, who seems to have regressed and inverse-plateau’d following his breakout 2005 season. The year Zhao put up, with 188 innings, a 3.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 203 K’s (9.7 per 9), can hardly be distinguished from the previous season, and Zhao continued to exhibit a worrying drop in control (allowing a .292 OBP, highest since his rookie year). While great from a production standpoint (he went 18-4 on the season in 27 starts, averaging 6.96 innings each), it feels like a missed opportunity for Zhao, once the #2 starter who has now been surpassed by Esguerra and Chin to fall to the #4 slot.

27/27 18-4 21\6\4 188.00 146 9 64 74 9 203 9.72 2.45 7.11 3.06 1.17 0.210 0.292 0.332

Alfred Vong, #5 Starting Pitcher: In his season-long audition for a permanent role in the starting rotation, Vong shined for the first four months of the season, but seemed to simply run out of steam down the stretch – after that 7-2, 2.83 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 101+2/3 inning start through July, Vong was an abysmal 2-4, 5.86 ERA, and 1.41 WHIP in nine August+September starts, once again casting a long shadow of doubt over whether Vong can make it as a starter, or is better suited to a life in long relief. Overall however, Vong fared decently in his first year as a starter, finishing with a 9-6 record, 3.90 ERA, and 1.11 WHIP in 157 innings over 21 starts and 2 relief appearances.

21/23 9-6 12\5\1 0\0\0 157.00 155 22 68 20 4 135 7.74 5.63 6.38 3.90 1.11 0.254 0.279 0.425

Sean Wade, #6 Staring Pitcher: And the regression continues for the one-time rock-steady rookie, who has been anything but in his two seasons since.  Entering the season haven been just barely edged out by Vong for the #5 slot, Wade couldn’t establish himself as anything but the 6th-best starter on the team, throwing only 21 starts and recording an 8-5 record, 5.08 ERA, and 1.38 WHIP over 122+1/3 innings in that span, the worst season by ERA of anyone with even 50 innings, much less 122 and a third. While he did better in some peripherals, upping his K’s to 8.0 per 9 innings and lowering his homeruns allowed to 1.3 per 9, the hits (10.2/9IP) and walks (2.3/9IP) just kept coming against Wade.

21/21 8-5 11\1\0 122.33 138 17 69 31 6 109 8.02 2.95 5.29 5.08 1.38 0.283 0.332 0.490

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever: Though sidelined  at the end of August with a ruptured tricep tendon that put her out for all of September, Chu made it back just in time for the postseason, playing an integral part in the bullpen effort (5 innings, 4 K’s, 0.80 WHIP and no runs allowed) to deliver Daly City their 5th consecutive postseason title. Despite being cut a month short from her last season with the team, Chu still managed to set record highs in games (55), innings (67+2/3), strikeouts (63, for 8.38 K’s per 9). She retires having established herself as Daly City’s primary setup reliever (having served that role for her last 4 seasons) and one of its most accomplished bullpen leaders, with 145 relief appearances (1st), a 27-7 record (1st among relievers), 6 saves (5th), 32 holds (1st), 221+2/3 relief innings pitched (2nd, 3+2/3 short of Angel Poon’s mark), a 2.80 ERA (2nd among relievers with 100 innings), 3.45 DIPS (2nd), and 1.06 WHIP (2nd).

0/55 3-2 12\2\3 67.67 60 10 25 12 1 63 8.38 4.85 3.32 1.06 0.236 0.265 0.406

Kelley Cox, Long Reliever: Taking the role vacated by converted starter Alfred Vong, the rookie reliever impressed with her stamina, throwing 76 innings over 38 games, and posting solid if unspectacular stats of 3.43 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 3.76 DIPS ERA, exactly the workhorse-like performance you need from your long reliever. Cox even tried her hand in a starting role, attempting her first career start in May against the Caribbean Pirates, although it turned out disastrous (she lasted just 3+2/3 innings while allowing 9 hits+walks and 5 runs). She’d get a second chance, however, on the big stage, starting Game 6 of the Universal Series and going toe-to-toe with Parisian Kenneth Price through 8 innings, giving up 5 hits+walks and allowing just 1 run before handing off the 1-1 tie game to closer Josiah Leong.

1/38 6-5 0\0\0 3\2\1 76.00 71 4 29 25 2 48 5.68 1.78 12.00 3.43 1.26 0.239 0.300 0.337

Bernadette Dugtong, Middle Reliever: The rookie middle reliever, thrust into the primary relief role after the 2006 bullpen retirements, struggled late in the season, allowing an ugly 13 runs (9 earned) in 9 September innings, giving her a 9.00 ERA and 2.56 WHIP for the month. That brought her overall numbers down into decidedly league-average territory – only Wade posted a higher ERA or bOBP. Though her strikeout rate wasn’t impressive, Dugtong showed a remarkable resistance against giving up the big hit, allowing just 1.24 bases per hit and only allowing a single homer over 61 innings.

0/51 0-2 5\0\3 61.00 69 1 29 17 0 41 6.05 2.41 4.28 1.41 0.274 0.316 0.341

Josiah Leong, Closer: Leong ushered in an era of consistency to the closer role by becoming the first Daly City closer to serve consecutive seasons as the team’s closer. At this point one of the team’s most experienced relievers, Leong seems to have settled into the closer role – though he had far fewer opportunities for saves this season with the Monti’s prolific offensive production, Leong managed to gather 24 saves and emerged with a 9-2 record after being inserted into high-pressure situations throughout the season. Compared to his previous season’s 9 blown saves in 46 chances (19.6%), Leong blew just 3 in 26 save opportunities (11.6%). Overall Leong allowed fewer base runners and fewer big hits than last season, reducing his opponent’s AVG to a miniscule .176, and SLG to a tiny .300. Nonetheless he still ended up allowing about the same number of runners, having lost some control to allow a staggering 4.7 walks per 9 innings.

0/44 9-2 0\24\3 64.67 40 4 15 34 5 83 11.55 2.13 2.09 1.14 0.176 0.295 0.300

And the 2007 Team Award Winners…

Team Defensive Player of the Year: Whitney Esguerra

It’s a bit strange, giving your defensive award to a pitcher who logged just 235 defensive innings. But Esguerra was a dominant presence covering the center of the diamond, putting away 55 batters on the field (20 putouts + 35 assists), an impressive number for a pitcher who placed second in the league in strikeouts (11.07 K/9). All told, Esguerra relied on 408 fielding outs (subtracting strikeouts), for which she accounted for 13.48%.

Rookie of the Year: Ted Kwong

It wasn’t much of a contest this year; having established himself as undoubtedly the league’s rookie of the year, and with others clamoring for Batter of the Year honors to be bestowed, Kwong ran away with the RotY award, even against one of the strongest fields Daly City has had in years. In a season in which CF/DH Reid established himself as a solid lineup presence, CF Kuo gave Ortiz a run for his stolen base title while playing stellar defense, and relievers Cox and Dugtong both proved serviceable in the bullpen, no one set the team on fire as much as Kwong, who put up one of the best Daly City hitting seasons ever, batting .357-.445-.704, generating 10.79 Runs Created per 27 outs, and posting up 48 homeruns, 135 RBI, and 142 Runs in an injury-shortened 146 Games.

Comeback Player of the Year: Alvina Chu

It wasn’t a strong comeback year for any player in particular – on the whole the players who had been improving continued to improve, and the players who were regressing continued to regress. Chu bunked that trend just a little – while she didn’t return to the lofty heights of her 2005 season, Chu did improve a bit on last year’s regression, setting a career high in innings while shouldering the load as Daly City’s setup reliever.

Breakout Player of the Year: Whitney Esguerra

There were breakout performances a plenty for the Daly City Montis this year. From Ortiz, the speedy leadoff hitter who bulked up in the offseason and put on a power display that catapulted him into the echelon of top-flight all-around players; to Chen, who 3 years after his part-time debut finally took on the reins of a full season and put on a power display for the ages. But no player exceeded their history more than the sophomore starter Esguerra, who put on a season for the ages. In fact, measured by a whole slew of metrics – K’s, Quality Starts, CERA, DIPS ERA, bOBP, bSLG, K:BB – she put on the best season by a starter not named Yan, and overall her body of work shines more impressively than even the legendary 2004 Willis Fong’s or Zhao’s breakout 2005. And only Yan and Leong have bested the impressive 11.07 K’s per 9 mark she put up. In just two short years

Performance of the Year: Yan’s Twin Perfect Games

Everyone expected that at some point in his career, Yan would do it – post up the rare Perfect Game, flawlessly gathering 27 outs with nary a hit or walk or hit by pitch or even fielder’s error. In league history it’s only been done 4 times before, and none since Jack Seemann in 1938. Yan finally achieved this feat in 2007, blanking the not-anemic Apple Septic Tanks (they did finish 3rd of 8 in the UL in Runs) with a jaw-dropping 22 strikeouts, pulling the hat trick on 6 of 9 Apple batters (only the great SS Kenobi escaped without being struck out). Not even three months later, Yan astonished the world by dropping his SECOND Perfect Game on the Europe Cricketeers, a feat which prior-to occurred once every 13 YEARS.

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The 2007 Playoffs: World Series Recap

Game Recaps

27 October 2007 – After utterly dominating their league once again on both sides of the plate, the Daly City Montis roared in once again to the Fall Classic in what has for years been an annual victory march. Last year they went 8-2 in the postseason before their coup de grâce, a 4-0 sweep of the SWL Champion Pentax Shake Reducers, and the 2007 version of the Montis looked even more dominant, bashing their way to 1098 runs (besting 2nd place by 157 runs, after only leading by 28 the previous year) and allowing an anorexic 485 runs (440 earned) all year, for an astounding 2.68 team ERA in a year when the UL average was 4.94 (a team ERA+ of 184!).

Their opponents from the SWL side had a less glamorous road to the championship series. The Paris Forfeiters scored just 834 runs this season (7th out of 8 teams in the SWL), though they kept opponents to a SWL-low 784 runs (second in baseball to the Daly City), thanks largely to a rotation led by free agent import Kyle Katarn (who attained the first SWL Triple Crown after playing runner-up to Daly City pitchers in the UL league for years).

Game 1 started with a duel of star pitchers Yan and Katarn, almost certainly the Pitcher of the Year award winners for their respective leagues. Katarn gave up an early unearned run in the 3rd inning when second baseman Christian Lee failed to put away a 2-out grounder, allowing leadoff wunderkind Christian Ortiz to score. At the bottom of the 6th, Daly City slugger Francis Chen hammered a massive solo homerun to stake the lead to 2-0. The way Yan was pitching, Chen’s homer looked like the nail in the coffin – Yan had pitched 7 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 15. But over the course of a barely-over-.500 season and a gritty 7-game series victory in the League championship just to get here, the scrappy Paris Forfeiters wouldn’t give up. In the eighth, rightfielder Willis Hoffman led off with a double, and just two batters later was driven in by a Shigemoto Noriyuki PINCH-HIT homerun that tied the game up. The Montis failed to score in the 8th, and in the 9th Yan ran into trouble again, giving up a leadoff triple to Anthony Reyes, who was promptly driven in by Lamont Sanchez’s single for the go-ahead run. Despite catcher Tina Quach earning herself a walk with 1 out to set up the tying run, the game was to end on a pinch-hit strikeout by Jonathan Chee. Katarn pitched brilliantly against a high-octane Daly City offense, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 7 hits and a walk over 8 innings, while striking out 8. Yan, in perhaps a more awe-inspiring but leaky performance, allowed 6 hits (4 going for extra bases) and 3 runs, despite striking out 18 batters and requiring just 9 outs from his fielders. It was his second loss of the season.

The Montis came roaring back with a vengeance in the next three games, winning by a combined score of 23-3. In an all-team effort, the Montis piled up for 44 hits, 3 walks and a combined line of .379-.388-.543 to back a dominant  trio of performances by starters Esguerra (1 run on 4 H+BB in 8 innings, 10 K’s), Chin (1 run on 6 H+BB in 8 innings, 13 K’s), and Zhao (1 run on 8 H+BB in 9 innings CG, 13 K’s). The Montis line up exacted a blistering revenge on Forfeiters ace Kyle Katarn in Game 5, ripping him for 14 hits and 9 runs in 7+2/3 innings in by far his worst outing of the season.

The Forfeiters would not go out so easily, however. Determined to win at least one on the last night of their homestand, leadoff CF James Talmage put on a 1-man show, stroking 2 doubles and a homerun in 3 hits to score 3 runs and drive in 4 himself, having a hand in 7 of the Shake Reducers 8 runs in their 8-6 victory. The young starter Alfred Vong was hit hard in this game, allowing 5 runs in 5+2/3 innings, and even closer Leong could not stop the bleeding – he gave up 3 more runs in just his 2nd appearance this postseason, driving up his ERA to a comical 33.76.

The Montis made things interesting in Game 6. Despite having both #1 and #2 starters Yan and Esguerra fully rested, the Montis manager instead trotted out long reliever Kelley Cox, making just the 2nd start of her young career. She was the most well-rested of anyone on the Daly City pitching staff, having pitched just a two-inning outing in the opening series against the Asia Giants. Still, it was a curious choice, considering that Cox had not fared well in her only other audition as a closer, a May start against the Caribbean Pirates in which she lasted just 3+2/3 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 Hits+BB.

The move proved to pay off, however – Cox threw an understatedly dominant 8 innings, allowing just 3 hits, 2 walks, and a single run in by far the longest outing of her career. Unfortunately for Cox, the fairytale of clinching the World Series championship win in her first postseason start in her rookie season was denied by Paris starter Kenneth Price, who pitched an equally dominant 9 innings with just 6 hits, 1 walk, and allowing a single run, all in an efficient 102 pitches. Cox left the game in the 9th with a 1-1 tie, having thrown 116 pitches, yielding to closer Leong.

The stalemate went on for what seemed like forever – after a Francis Chen double to put him on base at the bottom of the 11th, the Montis passed up two potential chances to score – the first when Chen (speed 70/100) was stopped at third on a Derek Lew single to leftfield (not wanting to challenge LF Luciano Ferrant’s 91-rating arm), and another on Salgu Wissmath’s flyout to right (with RF Willis Hoffman’s 84-rating arm).

It was finally down to bottom of the 15th frame, with 2 outs in the bag. By this time, the Forfeiters had exhaused 3 pitchers and were on their 4th reliever, middle reliever Bobby Kantor. Josiah Leong, drawing from his experience as a converted starter, had muscled through an astonishing 7 shutout innings in relief, utterly dominating the Forfeiters to the tune of allowing just 2 hits, a walk, and a hit batter, while striking out 10 batters. With 2 outs against Kantor, RF Francis Chen, just 1 for 6 on the day, reaches base on a hit by pitch. With the aura of a man who’d been here many times before, Daly City all-time great Derek Lew strolled up to the plate.

Stepping up to the plate is… first baseman Derek Lew.
He is 2 for 6 tonight with a double.
There are two down, the count at 3 balls and zero strikes.
A walk here would bring up shortstop Salgu Wissmath.
Lew waits for the 3-0 pitch…
Lew swings…
LINE DRIVE to left-center
a long run for Luciano Ferrant, but he’s got the stronger arm.
He is running fast…
it rolls to the wall…
Lew is heading for second…
and this time there is NO hesitation for Francis Chen, he is blazing past 3rd…
Chen slides, the throw will not be in time…
and Lew will have the game winner, the series winner with a stand-up RBI double!!!

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