By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
The stage was set for an epic finish to the 2012 Mickey Mantle World Series. The Dallas Tigers Hernandez and SoCal Bombers were both undefeated and would play a best-of-three series to decide the winner of the 16-year-old premier baseball tournament. After the American Amateur Baseball Congress granted an exception to its rule that teams can only play two games per day in the World Series, the Tigers and Bombers would play the entire three game series on Sunday, if necessary.
After SoCal won game one 5-4, the Tigers won the next two games to claim the trophy and the championship at Al Alford Field in McKinney.
In the deciding game three, Dallas used a huge four run third inning capped off by Cal Hernandez’s three-run double to propel the Tigers to the series clinching victory. The Tigers’ Greg Smyers pitched six huge innings in the ballgame to earn the victory, rarely falling behind the Bomber hitters while recording 16 first-pitch strikes. Smyers even caught the final out of the game on a weak pop fly, which was followed immediately by a mob to the left of the pitcher’s mound. Even after three games in the span of nine hours, played in 100-plus degree temperatures, the Tigers didn’t look too tired celebrating a hard-fought World Series win.
In game two, the Tigers were able to keep the Bombers from crossing home plate despite their 11 hits and outlasted SoCal 7-3. A three-run second inning for Dallas proved to be too much to overcome for SoCal, with Connor Wanhanen recording a game-high two RBIs. With the series tied at 1-1 and the AABC granting an exception to the three-game rule early Sunday morning, the coaches and tournament officials decided that a two-hour break between games would be appropriate to get the kids out of the heat.
During the postgame ceremonies, the Tiger players walked away with some more hardware as Tanner Gardner won the Offensive MVP Award and Mitchell Hansen won the 2012 Mickey Mantle World Series MVP Award. The entire Tiger team received the Sportsmanship Award, voted on by the umpires working the series. This is now the second straight year the MMWS winner will reside in Dallas, as the D-Bat Mustangs won the event a year ago, defeating the SoCal Bombers on championship Sunday.