2011 35+ National

East Coast Cardinals 4, Atlanta Bulls 2

35+ National Division Champs, the East Coast Cardinals.

By Dick Sanford

Jupiter, FL. Nov. 19, 2011 – A former Florida Southern University pitcher from nearby Hobe Sound, and a former minor leaguer who played professionally at Roger Dean Stadium, combined to lead the East Coast Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Bulls in the the 35 Wood National Fall Classic title game.

Starting pitcher Paul Chasse, who won an NCAA Division Two World Series ring with Florida Southern College in 1995, earned his first MSBL ring with a complete game four-hitter. He held a 3-0 lead before he even toed the rubber, and retired the first 12 batters he faced.

Chasse had a helping hand from Cardinal leadoff hitter and tournament MVP Jason Baker who played at Roger Dean Stadium in 1998 as a member of the Jupiter Hammerheads – then a Florida State League affiliate of the now defunct Montreal Expos.

Baker reached on a two-base error to start the game, and scored two batters later on Jason Torres’ single. After a walk by Matt Branz and a single by Larry Hingle, Cory Huston drove in Torres, with Brantz coming home on an error by Bulls’ second baseman Kiko Garcia.

That proved to be all the runs the Cardinals would need, as the lanky hurler was dominant from the start. “I was well rested, and I only pitched once earlier in the week, and that was only a few innings.” said Chasse, who lives just 20 minutes from the complex that serves as the spring training home of St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins. Chasse added ” This was a lot of fun, and somewhat unexpected, as I don’t play in many tournaments — just in local league play.”

Baker, the Cardinals centerfielder, was in scoring position his each of his first three at-bats. He reached on the two-base error in the first, hit a line drive double in the second, and singled and stole second in the fourth inning.

“This week is so special for me,” said the Liberty College graduate. “To be part of a championship team is so exciting, and then to have the manager award me the MVP trophy when we played such great team ball as a group. I’m flattered.”

Manager Dave Hash’s plan proved effective. “The plan all along was to save Paul’s arm as much as we could for the championship game. And to score three runs in the first was huge in a wood bat division game.” Hash added “It was a complete team win with every player doing his part.”

The Cardinals outscored the opposition 44 to 26 while posting a 6-1 tournament record, with nearly half the runs allowed coming in the team’s only Fall Classic loss.

The loss was a tough pill to swallow for the Bulls and their manager Jeff Boyar, a 2010 inductee into the Fall Classic Hall of Fame. It marked the sixth trip to the finals in the last seven years. The Bulls claimed gold in the 2007 and 2009 Fall Classic tournaments, but lost title bids in 2010 (9-8 to Missouri Clowns), 2008 (5-4 to Venezuela) and 2005 (10-4 to Southern Maryland). They defeated the East Coast Cardinals 16-5 in the 2009 championship.

“Yeah it’s tough, but give them credit.” said Boyar. “We ran into one heck of a pitcher. We still thought we’d be okay after the first, but we never could get anything going… We’ll be back and try again next year.” added Boyar.