ISC World Tournament run over for Minnesota Angels, fall to Saskatoon Diamondbacks

Written by Bob on August 20th, 2011

Quad-Cities, IL – For 29 innings, West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels pitcher, Juan Potolicchio, had manhandled and shutout ISC World Tournament hitters, but with one swing of the bat, Saskatoon Diamondbacks Jason Hill put an end to that.

The left-side swinging Hill (2 for 3), batting in the number three spot, drilled a first-pitch inside rise ball deep over the right-field fence that gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 victory in the semifinals of the losers bracket, Saturday. Other than Hill, Potolicchio held the rest of the Diamondbacks’ lineup hitless.

But Saskatoon’s’ Dean Holoien was better on this day in a matchup of two of the hardest throwers in the tournament.

With Hill giving him the only run he would need, the right-handed Holoien (3-0) won his third game of the tournament.

And it was a beauty.

He allowed just two hits – one each to Angels’ lead off batter Fernando Petric and Justin Gill, batting second. Other than that, the Angels had no answer for Holoien’s wicked rise ball and drop as he struck out 17 and walked two in a complete game effort.

However, the Angels did threaten three times. But they couldn’t come up with the clutch hit.

In the second inning, catcher Elven Ramos walked and stole second, but Holoien struck out Brandon Aman and Jeff Larson to escape damage. Then in the fourth, Gill led off with a single to right field and stole second. That brought Nicolas Bittor to the plate, and Holoien put him away with a third strike high rise ball. Ramos and Jeff Mataczynski followed and also went down swinging.

Minnesota’s final chance came in the sixth when Petric singled and stole second. However, Holoien, who has now struck out 53 batters in his past three starts, struck out Gill and Bittor to end the threat.

On this day, Holoien – reported to be 43-years-old – was too much for an Angels’ ball club that found runs hard to come by the past three games. Because of the pitching of Potolicchio, they were able to pull out back-to-back 10-inning wins, each by 1-0 scores over the California A’s, Friday night, and Pennsylvania Power on Thursday.

Potolicchio, who came into the Diamondbacks game with 48 innings on his arm, was no worse for the wear. He was again dominating.

Except for Hills’ home run and single, the right-hander held a good-hitting Diamondbacks ball club that includes Darrel Joy, Collin Schaan, Holoien, Brennan Pokoyoway, Jim Climenhaga, Trevor Ethier, Greg Crawford, and Chad Starling hitless.

And that’s no small order as the ISC’s No. 6 ranked Saskatoon now will meet New York / Chicago Fastpitch in the losers’ bracket final with the winner advancing to take on the undefeated and No. 1 ranked Jarvis (Ont.) Travelers in the World Tournament championship game scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

Potolicchio finished the tournament with a 5-2 record, and pitched every inning for the Angels. His marks will certainly land him on one of the all-world teams: 55 innings; 25 hits; 4 earned runs allowed; 93 strikeouts; and a 0.509 ERA.

As well as he pitched, Potolicchio did have some help in the top of the seventh.

With Hill on second base via his single and an error, Pokoyoway lifted a deep fly ball to left field that Mataczynski lost in the sun and dropped. But he recovered and fired a strike to shortstop Justin Gill, who turned and threw the ball to Elven Ramos blocking the plate on a sliding Hill for the out.

The West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels finish in fourth place with a 5-2 record. It’s the highest finish a Minnesota team has had since St. Paul All-American Bar won the World Tournament championship in 1976, and finished fourth in 1978 and ‘81.

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