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Dragons Smoke Silver Sox for 55+ Title in Redwood Empire Baseball League

Redwood Empire Baseball League 55+ Division

Dragons 6, Silver Sox 2

Top row, from left: Doug Thomson, Mark Fess, Marty Wilcox, Allan Green, Dennis Brandlin, Jerry DeLorenzo, Rick Torkelson. Bottom row, from left: Bob Harchut, Eli Duran, Ken Block, Pedro Renteria, Greg Berg, Mike Felder, Jesus Renteria, Jesse Bower. 

‘MVP Brandlin Takes Charge on Bump and at Plate’

Submitted by Allan Green, Dragons manager

Avenging a defeat in the championship series a year ago, the Dragons held off the Silver Sox to capture the 2016 R.E.B.L. 55+ championship. Going into the series without injured ace pitcher Larry Hendrickson, the underdog Silver Sox gave the Dragons all they could handle in two tough, close, well-played games.

The Dragons were cruising in the first game behind starter Dennis Brandlin, ahead 7-2 in the top of the ninth. But the Silver Sox would not die. After two outs, a walk and a series of hits, including a two-rbi double by Bill Furbush, brought the Silver Sox within two, 7-5. Rick Chassey then came through with a single that plated two to tie it before the Dragons could finally get the third out. But the Dragons were not to be denied. Mike Felder was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth. He stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball to the right side by Doug Thomson. In another great situational at bat, Mark Fess drove a fly ball into deep center field, scoring Felder with a walk-off sacrifice fly. 

In the second game, Dragons starter Marty Wilcox held the Silver Sox without a hit into the sixth inning. His stalwart effort and some clutch help from relievers Jesus Renteria and Brandlin enabled the Dragons to escape with a 6-2 win. Renteria also had a big day at the plate, with two hits and two rbi.

Neither the Dragons nor the Silver Sox had an easy time even getting to the championship series. The heavily favored Dragons mustered only six hits against Brandt Rossi in the first game of the semis against the fourth-seeded Padres. The Padres had the tying run on second base in the ninth inning before the Dragons finished them off 5-3. In the second game the Padres jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Renteria threw five shutout innings in relief and the Dragons offense finally came to life, scoring seven runs in the eighth and ninth for a 9-5 win. 

The Knights pushed the Silver Sox to a third game in their semifinal series, coming back with a 13-2 complete game victory by Stan Holloway in game two. Silver Sox shortstop Mark Rudiger, pressed into mound duty for the deciding game, rose to the occasion, keeping the Knights off balance through nine innings in a 9-4 Silver Sox win.

Dragons pitcher Dennis Brandlin was named the 55+ Cy Young award winner as well as league M.V.P. He finished the year with a record of 13-2, including two playoff victories, with an ERA of 2.21. He also led the Dragons with a season batting average of .514.

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