Merchants fall to Stars 7-1 in NBCWS championship game

The Merchants wanted to bring back another championship to the city of Everett. The loaded Kansas Stars had other ideas.

The Stars, a team made up of former Major League Baseball players, beat the Merchants 7-1 in the National Baseball Congress World Series championship game Sunday night, ending an amazing tournament run by Everett.

The Merchants, who were playing in their first NBCWS championship game since winning in 1988, also lost to the Stars 10-1 in a run-ruled game in pool play. The losses to Kansas City were the only two the Merchants suffered in the tournament.

While a victory didn’t happen on Sunday night, Everett manager Harold Pyatte, who was inducted into the NBC Hall of Fame in 2005, said the journey was worth it.

“Outside of the 1988 squad, this team is one of my most talented,” Pyatte said.

Andy LaRoche singled to left field to put the Stars up 2-0 in the first inning and they never looked back. The Stars would build a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, scoring on two wild pitches.

However, Everett would not go quietly into the calm Kansas night. Kevin Olmstead walked and eventually scored on an infield single by Max Whitt in the sixth inning. The Merchants threatened again in the seventh inning, but a double play ended the rally.

The Stars padded their lead on a bases-clearing double to right field from Ryan Langerhans, a former Seattle Mariner, in the top of the eighth inning. Langerhans would finish 3-for-5 on the night with four RBI.

“They’re hard to figure out,” Pyatt said of the Stars. “They’re a good group over there.”

Whitt finished 1-for-4 with the RBI, Jake Levin had two hits and Brett Ricklefs pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit relief for the Merchants.

Merchants shortstop Aaron Cook had the defensive play of the game with a beautiful pirouette spin to throw out former Atlanta Braves superstar Chipper Jones in the top of the ninth inning.

Ben Sheets, a former Milwaukee Brewer, pitched five scoreless innings, striking out four to earn the victory.

For Everett, the trip to the NBC World Series, let alone the championship game, far and away exceeded expectations. On July 16, the Merchants were 16-16 on the season. But Everett saved its best for last, going 9-2 down the stretch, including the incredible tournament run.

“This was a great experience,” Levin said. “I’d come back and do it again.”

Article courtesy of the Everett Herald