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Las Vegan Erick Fedde lends hand in Nationals’ run to title

Updated November 2, 2019 - 3:52 pm

As the Washington Nationals’ World Series celebration swirled around Minute Maid Park in Houston on Wednesday night, the TV cameras captured Erick Fedde lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy over his head before a commercial break.

That’s how the 2019 baseball season ended for the 26-year-old right-hander from Las Vegas High, the Nats’ first-round draft choice out of UNLV in 2014.

It more or less started with Fedde smashing a cabbage.

Hoisting the trophy was the thrill of a lifetime. But it was smashing a cabbage just hours after being recalled from the minors that made him feel as if he belonged.

“They brought me in during the second inning against San Diego when we were down seven runs, and I was able to put up four or five innings of shutout ball,” Fedde said during a cellphone chat Friday. “At that time, they were smashing cabbage in the locker room, and they let me have the honorary smash.”

This is what happens when you’re 19-31 and going nowhere, which appeared to be the Nationals’ fate. You celebrate National Cabbage Day by smashing them in the manner of the old comedian Gallagher after coming back to win a ballgame.

“That made me feel like I really helped us win that game,” Fedde said.

He would help the Nats win several games, appearing in 21 and starting 12. Fedde allowed 81 hits in 78 innings and lowered his ERA from 5.54 in 2018 to 4.50.

Though he was left off the postseason rosters, the sinkerball specialist did his part during August and September when Washington clawed back into playoff contention.

“The year kind of went as expected with all the big guns we had in the starting rotation — just kind of filled my role and finished off the year in the bullpen,” said Fedde, who posted a 4-2 record.

“You have to look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said of being part of a World Series winner. “Not being stressed out knowing I was probably going to pitch, I was able to take time to look at the surroundings and enjoy the crowd and just the whole atmosphere of the situation.”

Fedde didn’t get to smash a cabbage after the Nationals’ come-from-behind victory over the Astros in Game 7, but that didn’t make the champagne taste any less sweet.

Blackmon, LAFC denied

What was shaping up as a memorable Major League Soccer season for former Bishop Gorman star Tristan Blackmon and Los Angeles FC ended in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup semifinals Tuesday.

Blackmon is a starting defender for LAFC, which set a MLS record for most regular-season points (72) and was heavily favored to advance to the Cup final under former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley.

After starring at Pacific, Blackmon, 23, was selected third overall by LAFC in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. He appeared in 18 games this season, starting 15, and scored his first MLS goal in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Impact on May 25.

Around the horn

— Bar bet fodder: San Diego State is the first NCAA school that can boast having produced the MVPs of the World Series and NBA Finals in the same year, as Stephen Strasburg added his trophy of Willie Mays to Kawhi Leonard’s named for Bill Russell. Similarly, when Utah still was in the Mountain West, it was first to yield the No. 1 overall NFL and NBA draft picks in the same season (2005) with Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut.

— Shane Steichen, named interim offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers this past week, once played quarterback at UNLV with a protective device on his injured wrist that looked like a jai alai cesta. Rebels coach Mike Sanford was amused by that description. Say what you will about Sanford, but unlike most of his contemporaries, he admitted to reading the newspaper.

— Morganna “The Kissing Bandit” recently celebrated the 50-year anniversary of her running onto the diamond to kiss baseball players. Among her victims: Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, George Brett (twice), Steve Garvey, Cal Ripken Jr. — and Eddie Williams of the Las Vegas Stars, at the 1990 Pacific Coast League All-Star Game at Cashman Field.

0:01

Is it just me, or was Halloween candy corn the true inspiration for the Houston Astros’ multihued uniforms during the Nolan Ryan, Enos Cabell and Dickie Thon era?

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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