2008 CBL Championship

Here is information about the 2008 Continental Baseball League championship series which took place in August 2008.  The Bay Area Toros defeated the Texarkana Gunslingers in two games of the best-of-three series.


We found a Wayback Machine snapshot archive from September 2008 of the old McKinney Blue Thunder website which gives a recap of the Bay Area Toros sweeping the Texarkana Gunslingers in the best-of-3 2008 CBL championship series.  The archive link is here:  https://web.archive.org/web/20080927115057/http://www.bluethunderprobaseball.com/news/pressreleases/index.html?article_id=180

Bay Area wins Ferguson Jenkins Continental Baseball League championship 2-0

TEXAS CITY — All summer, Ben Burum and the Texas City Toros have rode buses across the state, dealt with scorching temperatures and played baseball for a minimal salary.

Saturday night made it all worth it.

Texas City defeated the Texarkana Gunslingers, 9-3, to sweep the Continental Baseball League championship series in two games at Robinson Stadium. The Toros were awarded the Fergeson Jenkins Trophy as champions of the CBL in its second year of existence.

Russell Revere struck out the final batter of the game, prompting a champagne- soaked celebration on the field.

“Working as hard as we did for as long as we did — you better believe it was worth (it),” Burum said. “These are the types of feelings that you remember for the rest of your life. It’s amazing.”

Burum was one of 10 Toros players to make it through the entire season with the team. The only one to play in last year’s inaugural season was Daniel Cox.

Last season, the Toros finished the regular season in last place, but rallied in the playoffs before falling short in the championship game. Cox said this time, it feels much better to come away with the trophy.

“These last few days, you start thinking about the season and how it was coming to an end,” Cox said. “Then you start thinking that you don’t want it to end, especially after an awesome night like tonight.”

Texarkana had been Bay Area’s rival all season and seemed to have the Toros’ number. But during the final month of the season, the Toros turned the tables on the Gunslingers. The championship series was no exception.

Bay Area trailed 2-0 early in Saturday’s game, before breaking through against Texarkana starter Billy Gleason in the third inning.

With two men on, Donald Brown hit an RBI-single to get the Toros on the board. Kyle Wells followed with another single to load the bases, bringing up Burum.

Burum, the hero from Game 1 who recorded the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning, came through in the clutch again. He hit a shot into shallow right field, scoring Juan Diaz and Brown and giving Bay Area a 3-2 advantage.

The inning was far from over. Eric Brown drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and was followed by a Ryan Cattell run-scoring sacrifice fly. Cox recorded the Toros’ seven single of the inning to drive home Greg Plecki and give them a 6-2 lead.

“We’ve seen their pitchers a lot this season,” Cox said, “and after seeing them so many times, you start to pick up on tendencies. (Gleason) is a good pitcher, but we knew what we could do to score some runs off him.”

That was all the offense the Toros needed with CBL pitcher of the year Kevin Cooper on the mound.

Cooper struggled early, allowing two runs in the first inning. Texarkana loaded the bases with one out in the frame, but Cooper struck out Pat Burgess and got Sergio Sencion to pop out to end the threat.

“I wasn’t nervous, but I wasn’t really settled either,” Cooper said. “Once I was out of that inning, I knew we were in good shape. There was no doubt in my mind we would win when we scored six runs.”

Cooper settled down to record six strikeouts in eight innings pitched. He allowed just two hits and one run after the first inning, throwing 114 pitches.

Even with their ace on the mound with a big lead, Bay Area didn’t let up.

“In the back of your mind, you hope that lead is enough,” Burum said. “But you can’t sit on that. You have to stay aggressive and try to score more runs. We kept that mentality the entire game.”

Burum drove in another run in the fourth inning on a single to score Donald Brown. Plecki and Cox also each added an RBI in the seventh on base hits.

In all, the Toros recorded 16 hits. Wells, the CBL MVP, had four singles and scored twice, while Burum and Cox each had three hits.

“The last couple of weeks, we have been hitting the heck out of the ball,” said Toros manager Jim Bolt. “Tonight, we started out a little flat, but still kept our energy up. It’s nice to get 16 hits in the championship game.”

Adding to the motivation for the Toros players was a ceremony before the contest for 11-year-old Jephrey Vincent, who was killed when a car collided with him Thursday. Vincent had been to almost every Toros home game and was known by many as their biggest fan.

Toros players wore a ribbon on their hats in honor of Vincent and the fans raised $798 for the family during the game.

“When we were told what happened with Jephrey, we were all very emotional,” Burum said. “But we used that as fuel to play even harder for him. Our hearts go out to his family, and I’m sure he was watching the game tonight.”

Baseball America article recapping the 2008 CBL championship:  Archive.org link which reads:

The Bay Area Toros won the Continental Baseball League title, sweeping its best-of-three championship series against the Texarkana Gunslingers. In the opener, Brian Barr and Jayson Rachuig matched each other for nine innings as each allowed one run. But Ben Burum drove in Donald Brown with a sac fly in the 12th for a 2-1 Bay Area win. The Toros had an easier time in the clincher, as righthander Kevin Cooper shut down Texarkana for a 9-3 win. The Toros won 17 of their last 19 regular season games before the championship sweep.

Information about the Texarkana Gunslingers playoffs (with the rain-out games against the Corpus Christi Beach Dawgs mentioned) and a short recap of the 2008 CBL championship series:  http://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/8676819

Texarkana Gazette article about the series between the Beach Dawgs and Gunslingers, plus quotes from Chris McKnight about what was the upcoming CBL championship series against the Bay Area Toros in Texas City.  Player names are mentioned as well:  http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/sports/prep/story/2008/aug/22/texarkangunslingers-slingers-open-title-serie/92433/

The following recap of the first round of the playoffs came from an archived version of the old CCbeachdawgs.com website:

Monday, August 18, 7:05PM at Texarkana–LOST by a run–the Gunslingers 4 & Beach Dawgs 3. See details on Game Schedule/Results page.

Tuesday, August 19, 7:05PM at Texarkana vs. the Gunslingers–POSTPONED due to heavy rain and poor field conditions.

Wednesday, August 20, 5:00PM at Texarkana vs. the Gunslingers–POSTPONED due to heavy rain and poor field conditions.

Thursday, August 21 at Texarkana–CANCELLED due to rain and poor field conditions. Therefore, Texarkana automatically advances to the CBL Championship Finals. The Beach Dawgs season has come to a close today.

Friday, August 22 at 6:35PM–Texarkana vs. Bay Area Toros at Robinson Stadium, Texas City
Saturday, August 23 at 6:35PM–Texarkana vs. Bay Area Toros at Robinson Stadium, Texas City
IF NEEDED, Sunday, August 24 at 6:35PM–Texarkana vs. Bay Area Toros at Robinson Stadium, Texas City