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Redwood Empire Baseball League, 63+ Legends Division
‘Jazz Sweep Vets in Championship Series’
The Jazz captured their second consecutive Redwood Empire
Baseball League 63+ Legends division title with two lopsided victories over the
Vets, a surprising championship series opponent. The Jazz defeated the Vets
27-5 and 43-3 in the best-of-three championship series.
"We had a 19-1 record last year and our goal was an
undefeated record,” said Jazz manager Ralph Leef.
Leef praised the Vets, who came from last place to qualify
for the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker and then beat the No. 2-seeded Seals in the playoff semifinals in two straight games. But even on a good roll, the
Vets were no match for the heavy-hitting Jazz, who banged out 522 hits and 480
runs during the 18-game regular season.
The Jazz were led by championship series MVP Mike Lopez (.636), a catcher by trade who was flawless on defense at first base filling in
for the injured Mike Farris in the championship series. Lopez had four doubles
and drove in nine runs in the two games.
Leef, who led the 730-member REBL with a .703 regular-season
batting average (52x74), was 9x12 with 12 RBI and seven stolen bases. But the Jazz hit parade kept going on: third-sacker Bill Delaney (7x11, 9 RBI);
center fielder Matt Dockstader (7x11, two doubles); left fielder Robert McGregor (5x9, 8 runs, 6 RBI), 80-year-old Dick
Giberti (5x9); outfielder Paul Johnson (5x9, 3 doubles, 4 walks) and reserve
outfielder Allen Hobbs (3x3, 3 Walks). Catcher Mark Yanuskiewicz, the regular-season Legends League MVP, was 6x10 with nine
David "Doc” Charp and Al Surges, both in their early 70s,
got the pitching decisions, each allowing only five hits in six innings in the
championship series. Frank Milian, 71, was flawless at shortstop and pitched in
relief, as did Giberti. Milian and Giberti went on to pitch teams to titles in
the post-season World Series.
Vets manager Donny de Cordova saluted his team following the
title game. "We started the season with
a roster of 22 players and for the finals were able to field 16. Over the
course of the season we lost six players due to injuries, but this scrappy
bunch continued to march on,” said Cordova. "You have to hand it to the Jazz. I
don’t think the champs of the (55+) division would be able to beat them this
Tim Teixeira led the Vets with a .556 postseason average,
seven runs scored and nine RBI. The Vets postseason highlight came in game one
of the semifinals against the Seals when infielder Eric Williams hit a grand slam
over the right field fence to push his team to the upset victory.
Jim Brown, who helped pitch the Vets into the championship
series, passed away not long after the season from a heart attack.