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LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Cincinnati Reds didn't start the 2009 Area Code Games with many nationally known stars or with a lot of fanfare. The team, which consisted of players from the Rocky Mountain region and one player from Hawaii, got the job done in workmanlike fashion.
|Nick Kingham and the rest of the Reds' pitching staff came up big at Area Code.|
Thanks to quality pitching and an early lead, the Reds rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the unofficial Area Code championship game. Both teams entered the game with event-best 3-0-1 records.
In Monday's seven-inning game, seven different Reds' pitchers threw a single scoreless inning and combined to give up only three scattered hits. The hits were all singles: one in the first by A's leadoff hitter D'Monte Grissom (Whitewater / Fayetteville, Ga.), an infield hit in the fifth by Jacob Harper (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and one in the bottom of the seventh by Ty Linton (Charlotte Christian / Matthews, N.C.).
"All the pitchers came in and threw strikes," said winning lefty pitcher Sam Wilson (El Dorado / Albuquerque, N.M.), who did not give up a hit and struck out the side in the second inning. "When we got the lead, it gave the rest of the pitchers a little bit of confidence."
The Reds did the majority of their damage on offense in the second and third innings, when they built a 7-0 lead and gave their commanding pitchers all the cushion they would need. In the second inning, outfielder Josh Alexander (Mountain Pointe / Phoenix) earned a walk off losing pitcher Forrest Koumas (Elgin / Lugoff, S.C.). Alexander advanced on a wild pitch, and then infielder Michael Benjamin (Basha / Queen Creek, Ariz.) swung on a third-strike wild pitch that went to the backstop, allowing Alexander to come around to score from second base.
After Koumas recorded another strikeout, shortstop Taylor Lindsey (Desert Mountain / Scottsdale, Ariz.) reached base on a walk. Outfielder Trevor Allen (Corona Del Sol / Tempe, Ariz.) doubled to put runners on second and third with two outs. On a grounder hit by James McDonald (Chaparral / Phoenix), Harper made an error at third base that allowed Lindsey to score. Christian Muscarello (Catalina Foothills / Tucson, Ariz.) drove in Allen with a single, and the fourth run of the inning came across when catcher T.C. Mark (Pinnacle / Phoenix) hit a bloop single to score McDonald from second base.
All week long, the Athletics had played solidly in nearly every aspect of the game, but their infield defense contributed to the Reds' six unearned runs.
Alexander reached on an error by A's second baseman Tim Massengale (Northside / Columbus, Ohio) to open the third. Alexander stole second base and Benjamin reached on a walk. Kris Bryant (Bonanza / Las Vegas) was then hit by a pitch. With the bases full and one out, Allen grounded out on a fielder's choice to score Alexander.
Allen made a heads-up play by stealing second base after the fielders' choice, because McDonald's subsequent single drove in both Benjamin and Allen.
The 2009 Area Code Baseball Games take place Aug. 5-10 at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. Area Code index
Scouts Inc.'s Keith Law will provide day-by-day analysis at the Area Code Games. Check out his reports on the MLB Draft Blog (Insider).
In the seventh inning, Everett rounded out the scoring for the victorious Reds, coming home on a single by Drew Robinson (Silverado / Las Vegas). Everett had reached via a walk.
The Athletics were hampered by having seven players unavailable, including at least one pitcher who would have thrown more than one inning. Prior to their game with the Reds, the A's only blemish was an 8-8 tie with the Milwaukee Brewers Blue on Thursday. The Reds' lone tie came against a talented Washington Nationals club in the first game played at this year's Area Code Games on Thursday.
After that, it was all business for the hard hat Reds.
"The pitchers did great, they kept us in every game all week," said righty Nick Kingham (Sierra Vista / Las Vegas), who closed out the game with a solid seventh.
"It was real fun playing with 25 other talented players from the Four Corners," said Buddy Borden (Arbor View / Las Vegas), who struck out two batters in the fifth inning. "I had a blast down here. It was the best baseball experience I ever had."
Forrest Koumas -- 2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 W, 2 K's, 1 WP, 13 batters
Nathan Foriest -- 3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 W, 4 K's, 1 HBP, 14 batters
Christian Pfaff -- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 W, 2 Ks, 7 batters
Jordan Smith -- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 W, 2 Ks, 5 batters
Taylor Erwin -- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, O K, 4 batters
Sam Wilson -- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 batters
Trey Nielsen -- 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 4 batters
Tito Nava -- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 3 batters
Buddy Borden -- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 4 batters
Adam Duke -- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 3 batters
Nick Kingham -- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 4 batters
Other Monday scores:
New York Yankees 5, Chicago White Sox 5
Milwaukee Brewers Blue 3, Texas Rangers 1
Final 2009 Area Code Team Records:
Cincinnati Reds -- 4-0-1
Milwaukee Brewers (Blue) -- 3-1-1
Oakland Athletics -- 3-1-1
Washington Nationals -- 2-1-2
Milwaukee Brewers (Gray) -- 2-3-0
Texas Rangers -- 1-3-1
Chicago White Sox -- 0-2-3
New York Yankees -- 0-4-1
Ronnie Flores is a senior editor of ESPN RISE. If you're an ESPN Insider, check out Keith Law's analysis here. For more information, check out the ESPN RISE baseball blog. For Area Code updates, follow us on Twitter. For more information on the Area Code Games, click here.