L.A. Reds 6; Scottsdale Finest 4

The L.A. Reds, 2011 MSBL World Series Champions in the 35+ Wood Bat American Division

By Rodney Johnson

Mesa Hohokam Stadium, October 22, 2011— In a mutually agreed-upon eight inning game that almost wasn’t played at all, the L.A. Reds claimed a 6-4 win over Scottsdale’s Finest and a third World Series crown.

“There was no way we could have played that game at 1:30 like it was on the schedule,” said Scottsdale manager Bob Parness. “Half of our team had afternoon flights out of town.”

After nearly bagging the whole thing, tournament organizers managed to changed venues and times so the championship could be decided on the field. “It got a little crazy, but it is what both teams wanted and we were glad it got worked out,” said L.A. manager Martin White.

Crazy is a good word for it.

Some Reds’ players were still arriving and unpacking their gear as the lineup cards were exchanged at home plate. Once the initial scrambling around stopped and the game started, both teams were all business.

Scottsdale slugger Jason Conti led off the contest with a base hit and later score on a sacrifice fly by Dirk Thompson. It was one of three hits on the day by Conti, a former big leaguer who also scored half of his team’s runs. “Jason has hit the heck out of the ball all week for us and been the guy to get us going,” saide Parness. Conti led off the third with a double and scored on Jamie Sensabaugh’s single to extend the lead.

The Reds got on the board in the bottom half of the inning as Kenny Woods two-out double was followed by an RBI single by Justin Bunch. Meanwhile, a couple of former pros dueled from the mound. Scottsdale’s Carlos Reyes and L.A.’s Shane Bowers kept hitters off-balance while stranding runners inning after inning.

With the help of a pair of Scottsdale errors, the Reds broke through to score twice in the fourth to take the lead. “As well as Carlos pitched today, he deserved to win,” lamented Parness. “We kicked the ball around all day and it really hurt us.”

Scottsdale came back to tie the game one last time in the sixth, but L.A. took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning on Mark Martin’s RBI single. “We battled all week,” beamed White. “We ran the bases and took advantage of other team’s mistakes. It was a real team effort.”

By previous agreement, the game was shortened to eight innings to accommodate travel schedules. Bowers went seven innings for the win while Chuck Crim pitched the final inning to earn a save. “Scottsdale is a class act and a great team,” praised White. “It is a high point for us to get to play them in the championship game.”

Path to the pennant

The Reds captured their third title. They reached the championship game by going 5-1 in pool play. Scottsdale put together a 4-1 pool play record and then beat a tough Kansas City team in the playoffs. The loss in the title game was a bitter pill to swallow for the Finest. It marks the fourth straight year that they have advance to the finale only to loose. “It was tough,” said Parness. “But we’ll be back next year to give it another try.”

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8   R H E
Scottsdale’s Finest 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 4 10 3
L.A. Reds 0 0 1 2 0 2 1 X 6 14 1

Reye. Bowers, Crim(8). W- Bowers. L- Reyes. SV- Crim

Leading Hitters- Scottsdale: Conti 3×4, 2R; Marsh 2×2; Sensabaugh 2×2 (LA) Gregory 2×4; Parra, 2×4; Billick 2×3; Bunch 2×4. 2B – Conti, Parra. SAC- Arnez (SF). SF- Thompson (SF);Dunnett (SF) SB- Billick (L.A). DP- Scottsdale 1; L.A. 1

L OB- Scottsdale 10; L.A. 12

TOG: 2:26

2011 35+ Wood American Division Standings