Phil Bickford Outstanding Relief Pitcher / SportsPix
Incredibly, Bickford's five runs against came in just two of his 14 appearances. Over his other 12 games he did not allow a single run. His most impressive streak of the season came from June 29 through July 11 in which he appeared in five games and earned the save in each outing. Over that stretch, he went seven innings of shutout baseball and allowed just three hits while striking out 13 and walking none.
Like Whitt, Bickford's outstanding pitching continued through the postseason. Appearing in three games for Y-D, he tossed 7 1/3 innings without allowing a run. In that span he yielded six hits while striking out a terrific 10 opposing batters and walking none. He picked up the save in each appearance – all of which were series clinching games. In the East Division Finals against Harwich Bickford struck out six of the eight batters that he faced to shut the door. He came on for an impressive three shutout innings to close out the final game of the 2014 season and seal the championship for the Sox.
Bickford, an all star for the East squad, faced just one batter in the game between the East and the West. In fitting fashion, he fanned that one opponent.
In his freshman season at Cal St. Fullerton, Bickford was equally as dominant as he was this summer – albeit in a different role. Bickford appeared in 20 games for the Titans of which 10 were starts. He compiled a 6-3 record over 76 innings pitched while striking out 74 opposing batters and walking just 13. He finished his first season with a stingy 2.13 earned run average and held opponents to an outstanding .232 batting average.
On receiving the Russ Ford honors Bickford said: “It was a very humbling moment. I had absolutely no idea it was happening. It put a huge smile on my face.”
Bickford was grateful for his opportunity in the CCBL this summer, adding: “It was fun that the coaches trusted me with the closer role. It just made me want to carry the positivity from Cape Cod.”
There was no doubting his love for the game. “Pitching is a blast. I love it.”