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Monday, September 8, 2008

SHIPWRECKED! OC 12, LB 2; Flyers win series 3-2

FULLERTON, Calif. -- The Orange County Flyers jumped out to an early lead en route to a 12-2 victory over the Long Beach Armada in the deciding fifth game of the GBL South Division series. The Armada is eliminated from playoff contention after closing the season on a 15-4 streak to make the postseason.

Flyers shortstop Jermy Acey's first inning three-run home run, his third of the playoffs, putting Orange County up 3-1. OC scored four runs on four hits in the first inning against Armada starter Seth Etherton. Etherton (0-1) took the loss in only two innings pitched (4 ER, 4 H, 2 SO, 1 BB).

Orange County pushed this series to the limit after falling into a 1-2 series deficit against Long Beach. Consecutive wins on Saturday and Sunday at Goodwin Field gave the Flyers a 3-2 series win and sent OC to the second GBL Championship Series in franchise history. The then-Fullerton Flyer lost the 2006 championship series to the Reno Silversox.

The Long Beach offense had its foot stuck in a bucket the entire night against Flyers starter Bob Cramer, who earned the win to end the Armada's season. Cramer (1-0) pitched seven innings and gave up only one earned run on four hits while striking out five and walking four. Flyers relievers Andre Simpson and Dane De La Rose each pitched one scoreless inning of relief.

Omar Bramasco scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 1st inning, and Octavio Martinez drove in Ryan Lehr with a single in the fourth to account for both Armada runs.

Nick Bierbrodt pitched four innings of relief for Long Beach, giving up four runs (two earned) on three hits to go along with four strikeouts and four walks. After a scoreless inning of relief pitching by Sean Buller, Nick Cavanagh took the mound for the first time in the playoffs. Cavanagh had missed the majority of the playoff series to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. OC added four insurance runs against Cavanagh to pad their lead before De La Rose struck out the side in the top of the ninth to end the game.

In a close series that featured two extra-inning walk off home runs, the Orange County Flyer rode the momentum of Game 4 into Sunday's series finale. Long Beach hit only .200 in the playoffs, down from a .276 regular season average. The Armada struck out 62 times against the Flyers in the five-game series compared to 20 walks drawn.

For the third time in four seasons, Long Beach earned a post-season berth. In 2005 and 2007, the Fleet lost in the GBL Championship series.

The Orange County Flyers and Calgary Vipers begin their best-of-five GBL Championships Series on Tuesday at Foothills Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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