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GOLDEN LEAGUE: HENDERSON, SURF DAWGS WIN TITLE SAN DIEGO 9, MESA 6.

Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer

LONG BEACH - Rickey Henderson's name was the one on shirts worn by the fans, but the San Diego Surf Dawgs showed Sunday they had more than just the 46-year-old former major-league All-Star who plays center field for the independent-league team.

After advancing through the elimination round with a victory earlier in the day, San Diego won the inaugural Golden Baseball League championship by defeating the Mesa Miners 9-6 in the title game at Blair Field.

The top-seeded Surf Dawgs broke the game open with six runs in the third inning for a 7-0 lead. Seth Pietsch's bases-loaded blooper to left-center scored two runs and chased Mesa starter Jon Uhl with no outs in the inning. Former Pepperdine standouts Eddie Montague and Tony Garcia drove in the final two runs of the inning, in which San Diego batted around.

Montague drove in two runs and finished a home run shy of the cycle. Garcia was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a stolen base. Pietsch had a game-high four hits, and tournament MVP Cody Clark added three of San Diego's 16 hits.

``We had so many guys play well,'' Clark said. ``Probably one of those guys deserves (the MVP award) more than me.''

Henderson, whose at-bats were accompanied by the night's loudest cheers and cameras flashing in the stands, was 1 for 3 with a walk. He doubled in the third and reached base in the fifth on a strikeout in which the final pitch sailed to the backstop.

Victor Hall (Monroe of North Hills) ignited the Miners' attempt to chip away at the early deficit. His third-inning triple was his second hit of the game and drove in Mesa's first run. He added a two-run homer in the ninth.

A 2-0 loss Saturday to the Miners dropped the Surf Dawgs into the elimination round. San Diego clinched a berth in the final with a 2-1 victory over Chico.

``I can't describe it,'' Clark said when it was over. ``It's so awesome.''

Heather Gripp, (818) 713-3607

heather.gripp(at)dailynews.com
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 5, 2005
Words:346
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