2011 25+ Federal Division

San Jose Brew Crew 9, Long Island Mariners 8

By Jason P. Skoda

The San Jose Brew Crew, 25+ Federal Champs

Managers go to all sorts of lengths to motivate their players — Brian Feduk went 620 miles.

Feduk underwent surgery to remove benign tumors prior to the World Series and most of the San Jose Brew Crew players figured they’d have to take a fourth stab at a World Series ring – they had tried and failed three times — without their leader.

Then Feduk just showed out of the blue, and his presence in the dugout, temmates say, helped inspire the Brew Crew to the 25 Federal Division title with a 9-8 win over the Long Island Mariners.

“He is fantastic, a great guy and for him to show up when didn’t expect him to was huge,” first baseman Ryan Becks said. “It shows how much this team means to him.”

Feduk returned just in time to help everyone get sized up for their first MSBL ring, although the team went undefeated the entire week.

“I have no idea what my ring size is, but I can’t wait to find out,” Feduk said. “These guys played their hearts out and did a great job all week. They would have won it without me but I had to get here.”

They went 6-0 in pool play, outscoring opponents 60-24, before advancing to the title game and hanging on against the Mariners.

The Brew Crew scored early and a three-run sixth inning, capped off by Johnny Angleson’s two-run single, gave the team a comfortable 9-4 lead.

That’s when things got a little dicey. The Mariners brought their big man, Josh Banda, to the plate with the bases loaded. Banda, who had seven tournament home runs, drove a pitch from reliever Matt Flaherty to the 410 mark, but it resulted only in a sacrifice fly.

Javier Gamboa followed with a single to make it 9-8 but Flaherty induced the last hitter to ground out and the rally ended. “We played good all tournament, but didn’t have enough at the end,” Mariners manager Rob McDermott said. “A hit here or there might have made the difference. It’s disappointing.”

The title was a highlight for the Brew Crew which has been together for years and also once played as the Santa Cruz Mets. “This is huge,” Flaherty said. “The MSBL World Series isn’t major leagues, but it is big for us. The competition out here is tough and for us to go 8-0 is a hell of a feat. This is a great team.

“To win in baseball it takes a lot of chemistry and there are no cancers out here. Everyone gets a long, everyone loves each other and that is tough to do because there a lot of egos in the dugout. We put it all behind us to get the job done.”

It is easier to do when one of their own goes through a medical scare to put things into perspective.

“Everyone was pumped up to see him,” Flaherty said. “They didn’t even know they were going to see him for sure. We waited for all team pictures because we wanted to wait until Feduk got here. It was about respect and all of the work he puts in and now it has paid off.”