Find a League In Your Area
The So-Cal Quakes, 2012 Father-Son Central Champions
Mesa Hohokam Park, October 28, 2012 – Inspiration can come in a
lot of forms in baseball from a remarkably athletic diving catch to something
far more pedestrian – like a guy who scores on an ordinary sacrifice fly.
In their fourth come from behind victory of the tournament
the SoCal Quakes were able to edge out the San Antonio Lonestars in the late
innings for a 6-3 victory in the Father/Son Central championship game on Sunday
at Mesa Hohokam Park. At least some of the Quakes' resiliency can be attributed
to inspiring presence of the team's own version of Rudy -- Joe Annunziato.
Having not played baseball for 30 years, Annunziato made the
trip to Arizona with his sons to play in MSBL's father/son division. During a
game in pool play in which the Quakes were ahead 17-0 manager John Love called on
Annunziato. After reaching safely he found himself on third base with less than
two outs when a Quakes player hit a fly ball to the outfield.
"In his excitement he tagged up and scored,” laughed Love.
"He's so excited to be out here that his excitement overwhelmed him. The other
team understood when they saw his face and how excited he was.”
Throughout the tournament the Quakes had their backs to the
wall but were able to pull out four come from behind wins. They overcame a 10-4
deficit with two outs in the ninth inning of a quarterfinal game. They overcame
a 6-0 in the semifinals, and they mounted a late-inning rally in the
championship game to overcome a two-run deficit.
"We've been down in the playoffs and had to battle back from
some things so we didn't get in a panic,” said Love.
Starting pitchers Randy Jackson (Lonestars) and Frank Patino
(Quakes) were stellar all afternoon but the Lonestars were finally able to break
the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh inning on a two-run single by
"It was a tight, tight ballgame,” said Lonestars manager Randy
Jackson. "As often happens, one team has the big inning and capitalizes on
mistakes and today it was the SoCal Quakes team.”
The Quakes responded by cutting the deficit in half in the
bottom of the seventh inning when leadoff hitter Mike Annunziato hit an RBI
single to drive in Madison Hildenbrandt who had tripled as the previous batter.
In the top of the eighth inning the Lonestars manufactured a
run when Reid Jackson walked, stole second and eventually scored on a fielder's
choice. But the Quakes had another magical rally left up their sleeve.
Rudy Melendez hit the game-tying single for the Quakes in
the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in Aaron Henry. The next batter, Riley
Manquen, drove in two runs with a double to centerfield giving the Quakes a
two-run lead. They would add another insurance run and Melendez slammed the
door in the ninth inning to seal their first championship.
"We knew at this stage of the tournament that we needed to
reach down deep to try to win this and we did,” said Love. "It was a great
experience for all of us and I'm a proud dad.”
Throughout the tournament the depth of the Lonestars 12-man roster
was tested, but they battled to a 4-0 record. The Quakes also played to a 4-0
record in pool play. They defeated the Tri-Valley Giants 6-3 behind the arms of
Phil Galloway and Reid Jackson.
A major turning point in the tournament for the Quakes was its
11-10 win over the Seattle Baseball Club. In arguably the most amazing comeback
in the history of the father-son tournament, the Quakes were down 10-4 with two
outs in the ninth inning against the Elk Grove Baseball Club. Almost as
impressive, they battled back from an early, 6-0 deficit to beat Seattle
Baseball Club 10-9. Frank Patino earned the win an Rudy Melendez notched the